‘I could have been killed’ - walker attacked by cattle near Weaver’s Way

Cattle close to the Weavers Way public path. Picture by Stephen De'ath.

Cattle close to the Weavers Way public path. Picture by Stephen De'ath. - Credit: Archant

A walker who said he was almost killed when cattle attacked has called for dangerous livestock to be moved away from public rights of way.

Cattle close to the Weavers Way public path. Picture by Stephen De'ath.

Cattle close to the Weavers Way public path. Picture by Stephen De'ath. - Credit: Archant

Stephen De'ath, of Fleggburgh, was walking on the Weaver's Way path, between Halvergate and Berney Arms, when he came face to face with a herd of cows.

Protecting their calves, the cattle surrounded the 54-year-old before one of them attacked and knocked him to the ground.

Mr De'ath, who works in the offshore industry in Great Yarmouth, was left in severe pain with injuries to his back and shoulder and was forced to take time off work.

'I could easily have been killed,' he said, adding that he was now reluctant to walk the path again.


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'On entering the field I saw the cows and attempted to go round them but they came towards me and surrounded me.

'I decided to start backing away towards the gate, but one had come behind me and butted me in the back with severe force knocking me, face first, to the ground.

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'I was among the feet of the cows. I managed to get to my feet and the cows stood their ground but, thank God, didn't trample me or attack further.

'I managed to keep calm, made myself big by holding my arms out and slowly backed away.'

Weaver's Way is a 56-mile long rural trail running from Cromer to Yarmouth. It crosses dozens of fields and farmland where animals graze.

After he was fit enough to return to work, Mr De'ath contacted Norfolk County Council to voice his concerns.

'I do not want someone else to suffer as I have or quite easily a fatality on my conscience,' he said.

'The HSE website shows that the farmer has a duty of care to protect people should animals be known to be dangerous. In this case these animals should be removed from a public right of way without delay.'

A spokesman for the county council declined to comment on Stephen's incident, but confirmed there were rules in place to keep people safe on public rights of way.

The council website states: 'If any animal, which is known to be dangerous by the keeper of the animal, causes injury to a member of the public using a Public Right of Way, an offence may be committed and the occupier could be sued by the injured party.'

It is illegal to keep a bull over 10 months old on its own in a field that is crossed by public rights of way, but bulls can be kept with cows or heifers.

Walkers also have responsibilties; they are told to follow any signs, leave gates and property as they find them, protect plants and animals and take litter home, and to always keep dogs under control.

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