There's a great movie produced in the 1950s starring Alistair Sim (possibly most famous for his portrayal of Dickens’ Scrooge) known as “Folly to be Wise”. It is set in a British army camp in the 1950’s in which a recently arrived barracks chaplain (Sim) attempts to liven the place up by staging a “brain’s trust”. A brain’s trust meant pulling together a panel of nearby dignitaries and enabling the audience to ask them whatever may be on their minds, a bit like what can be termed a plenary session in a current day company meeting.

The occasion is, naturally, doomed to failure when it finishes in a punch up between some of the dignitaries however my most favourite bit entails one question from the audience which was “Why is it that cows in a field run after trains?” and the answer from the somewhat dotty Mistress of the Manor being “in case babies fall out of the window”. It isn't a behavior I have seen personally and trains now almost certainly have baby proof windows. Even now, it's plain from looking at a number of walking and hiking blogs that cow behaviour is a talking point of keen interest to walkers.

Actually it is quite a big concern and there's a rather sad story of a vet in the Yorkshire Dales who was trampled to death by a herd of cows in 2009. Many people are frightened of a herd of cows in a field as younger ones especially are often really inquisitive, tearing right up to you and following closely when you ramble.

Things you should not do with cows:

1. Never get in between a cow and it's calf. Cows are protective animals and will guard their young if they believe there is a risk. Standing or hiking between a cow and it's calves is very easily avoided by staying away from walking in the centre of a group of cows if newborn calves are present. Cows frequently make this easier for the hiker by moving away from approaching people, as long as they notice you in good time.

2. Do not permit your pooch off it's leash around cattle, and stay your distance if someone else has done so. The noise and view of an unruly canine could cause a lot of tension for cows, and can set the herd off into a stampede. When you have a dog and the cows become aggressive toward it, let the dog go. People with dogs have been trampled to death whilst attempting to defend their dogs.

How to behave if a group of cattle is rushing toward you

A logical technique is to spread out your arms and legs to make the largest achievable form (if there are more than one of you, group together to create a bigger outline). This may well break the charge. If not then the next idea is to make a loud noise at the cattle are heading towards you, and step aside (if possible) to make it possible for them to move to your side.

Head to Bruno Blackstone's price comparison site for walking and hiking outdoor gear.

This can be found at My Outdoor Store.

Author's Bio: 

Bruno Blackstone is a freelance writer interested in all things to do with the outdoors and helping others get the most from the outdoors. Starting with a psychology degree his early career was as a social worker and family therapist working with families to help them achieve more positive and stable relationships. In his more recent career he has coached many senior executives in both small and large organisations in areas such as strategy, human resources, organisational design and performance improvement. He now continues his work in the business world but he is also co-owner of a price comparison site for outdoor enthusiasts.