A SPIKE in walkers being badly injured or killed by cattle has led to a joint safety warning from farm leaders and the Lake District National Park Authority.

Andrea Meanwell, the Lake District National Park Authority’s Farming Officer said: “Cows with calves will be protective of their young so you should avoid getting too close. If you mistakenly do, then please don’t make a run for it, move away slowly. Don’t turn your back on the cattle and don’t make eye contact as they can find this intimidating.”

“The countryside code advises that dogs should always be under close control around livestock but if you are feeling threatened by cattle the advice is to drop the lead to allow your dog to run away.”

National Farmers Union (NFU) Cumbria County Chairman Ian Bowness said: “Sadly, we have learnt of several incidents nationally in the past month in which members of the public have lost their lives. Our sympathies are with the families of those involved.

“The countryside is a busy working environment, so we need to ensure that the millions of people who visit every year can continue to do so safely and responsibly.”

Last month, pensioner Malcolm Flynn, of Carlisle, was out walking on land near Thirlwall Castle and Gilsland when it was reported that he was fatally injured by cattle.

Between 2015-16 and 2019-2020 the HSE investigated 142 incidents nationally. Twenty-two of them resulted in a death and the majority related to people who worked with cattle. Members of the public accounted for four of those deaths, the HSE confirmed.