Over recent weeks there have been reports of cows chasing and trampling members of the public - at a time when there are more walkers than ever.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, between March 2000 and March 2021 cattle killed 98 people in the UK.

Of these, nearly a quarter, 22, were members of the public while the rest were farmers and farm workers.

Consequently, the Wiltshire Police Rural Crime Team has issued a warning for walkers and has shared advice from the NFU.

PC Emily Thomas of the Rural Crime Team said: “We don’t have a huge problem with cattle incidents in Wiltshire, but we do wish to make people aware of the possible dangers and help keep them safe.

"Most members of the public who are involved in incidents with cattle were on footpaths and usually had a dog with them; frequently there were calves involved and the cows were protecting them.

"Although we advise to keep dogs on a lead when there is livestock around it is best to release your dog if it is being threatened by cows.

"Cattle are most likely to chase the dog rather than the owner.”

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The NFU has the following advice for walkers:

Cattle, especially young stock, are inquisitive and will often follow walkers. But it is cows, who feel naturally very protective of their calves, that can be more than inquisitive

Do not panic if you are followed - walk calmly and quickly away from the herd

If you are walking with your family dog on a footpath and find that there are cattle on the path, avoid going straight through them.

Take a wide detour and walk calmly around the animals with your dog on a lead.

Do not walk between a cow and her calf.

If the cattle move towards you and you feel threatened by them, release your dog from the lead (dogs generally run faster than cattle) and walk quickly but calmly, to safety.

For their part, farmers do not put cattle that are considered to be dangerous in fields accessed by the public.

They put signage up to warn the public of possible dangers and install segregation fencing near to public footpaths.