Cow which trampled man at Devil’s Dyke ‘was being chased by dogs’

Posted On 28 Sep 2017 at 12:07 pm

The cow which trampled a man at Devil’s Dyke this week was reportedly spooked by dogs chasing cattle on the Downs.

Cattle at Devil’s Dyke by Dominic Alves


The man was airlifted to hospital with head and chest injuries on Sunday after the cow hit him at about 9am, on land owned by the National Trust between Devil’s Dyke Farm and Truleigh Hill at Fulking.

It followed a similar incident three years ago when 37-year-old Abby Colmer, from Brighton, was left hospitalised for six days with broken ribs and a punctured lung after being trampled by a cow at Devil’s Dyke.

Today, the National Trust urged dog walkers to keep pets under control at all times around livestock and to close gates behind them.

The Medical

Charlie Cain, National Trust Lead Ranger said: “We were extremely concerned to hear that an individual was involved in an incident on Sunday morning concerning cattle grazed on our land at Fulking.

“We take all issues that pose any risk to peoples’ safety very seriously. We work closely with our tenant farmer to manage the site and regularly review grazing arrangements and their impact on visitor safety.

“We and our tenant check the cattle regularly and these animals have experienced a range of visitors including mountain bike and mountain bike events, horse riders, walkers and buggies without any incident.

“We know very little about this particular incident, but local accounts have indicated that the cows were being chased by a number of dogs belonging either to an individual or a professional dog walker.

“It was a running animal, trying to escape from dogs that unfortunately knocked the person over.

“The South Downs is a grazed environment and without grazing we would lose the open nature of the Downs and the wildlife. The profusion of chalk grassland flowers which people enjoy and the butterflies and other insects that depend on them would soon disappear under courser grasses and scrub. Because of the public access and the number of dogs it is very difficult to find anyone to graze sheep on many of our sites which is why we have cattle.

“To keep people, their dogs and the cattle safe, we ask that dog owners keep their pets under close control at all times around livestock and to close gates behind them.”

In April a herd of wild ponies were removed from land owned by the National Trust at Southwick after the Sussex Pony and Grazing Conservation Trust witnessed irresponsible behaviour by dog owners, as well as parents and children.

  1. Fishwife, 49 Reply

    The first sentence made my brain hurt.

    • john Reply

      LOL! Mine too. Presumably everyone is, at this point, avoiding saying one way or the other if the dog walker was the person who was knocked over or if that was a separate person who happened to be there at the same time.

  2. Charlie Bones Reply

    Great picture but it is not of Devils dyke which is over a mile to the East. This picture looks out to Mill hill on the right and the sea on the horizon.Truleigh hill is out of sight to the very left of the picture.

  3. Charlie Bones Reply

    Meant to write Truleigh hill is to the right.

  4. Ruth Livingstone Reply

    We don’t know the full story, but if dog walkers are being intimidated by cattle, the current advice is to let your dog off the lead. Funny how it’s always assumed to be the dogs fault, when we have plenty of anecdotal evidence that it is not uncommon for cows to target dogs, even those that are being well behaved and kept on a lead. I hope the victim is OK and makes a good recovery.

  5. Derik Palmer Reply

    But then you have to ask – why do cattle ‘target’ dogs? Could it be that they have learned to see dogs as a threat?

    Its not hard to understand; if you choose to walk your dog in a field where cattle are grazing you shouldn’t be surprised at the possibility of a confrontation. It must be pretty easy to look at a field, see cattle, and change direction.

  6. Ruth Livingstone Reply

    I believe the targeting of dogs is instinctive. Dogs = wolves = threat. I agree it’s always best to avoid a field of cows where that is possible, but if there is a public right-of-way onvolved… then you are legally entitled to walk along that path, with your dog, without fearing injury or worse. In areas where there is a great deal of livestock farming, avoiding fields with cattle would render much of the footpath network, ncluding many of our famous National Trails, completely unusable.

  7. Peter Abbott Reply

    Bullocks or cows ! Bullocks can retain a bit of aggression more than a cow, cows will be very protective when they’ve got calfs .
    Bullocks are very inquisitive,if you run the may run after you,and they can sense your fear ,if you turn and run at them they will turn and run off,,,after all Bullocks are bulls with there bullocks cut off, they may hold a grudge…

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