A farmer has been fined after a woman and her friend had to climb up a tree to escape an attack by more than a dozen cows on a public right of way after they were trampled by the farm animals.

Janicke Tvedt and David Hood had set out on a popular circular walk from Masham, North Yorkshire, with pet Labrador Goose, who was on his lead, on July 25, 2021.

Part of their walk took them across the fields and public rights of way near Shaws Farm, Swinton.

After entering a field off Foxholme Lane, the pair noticed several cattle in a field the path cut across, including cows with calves, so decided to give them a wide berth, passing through a narrow opening in a hedge.

However, as they did, they then spotted a lone cow with two calves, and within seconds their dog was attacked.

The Northern Echo: Janicke Tvedt on a stretcher in MashamJanicke Tvedt on a stretcher in Masham (Image: GNAAS)

Although they all managed to get away, they were cornered by other cows and 57-year-old walker Ms Tvedt was knocked to the ground and trampled.

She was helped up by her friend, but at a nearby tree, they found themselves surrounded by around 15 cows and had to climb a tree to escape a further attack.

Ms Tvedt was airlifted to hospital suffering seven broken ribs, hoof marks on her chest and legs, a broken thumb, and life-changing severe internal injuries that required emergency surgery.

She remains severely restricted in her mobility almost three years on but is keen to share her experience to help raise awareness of the dangers posed by cattle in fields with public rights of way.

“I had the imprints of hoof marks, bruises, cuts and grazes all over my body,” she said in evidence.

“I was convinced that if I fell asleep, I would never wake up.

“I still have anxiety when on walks in the countryside and am always on alert for the presence of cattle."

The Northern Echo: Janicke Tvedt on a stretcher in MashamJanicke Tvedt on a stretcher in Masham (Image: GNAAS)

She added: “We live in a rural community and there are lots of footpaths around the fields in the area and I do not want other people's lives to be at risk.

“I want to ensure the emphasis of my story is to improve awareness of the dangers of cows, particularly those in fields with footpaths.

“I am determined not to take on the mantle of being a victim as it’s disempowering.”

The farmer responsible has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a result. 

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that livestock were being kept in a field with a public right of way across it and insufficient measures were taken to protect members of the public from cattle and calves.

A sign warning the public about the cattle had been destroyed and not replaced.

Martin Falshaw of Falshaw Partners, Shaws Farm, Swinton, Ripon, North Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at York Magistrates' Court on Wednesday (February 14).

The Northern Echo: The air ambulance landing on the sceneThe air ambulance landing on the scene (Image: GNAAS)

The company has been fined £770.50  and ordered to pay £4,539  in costs. 

After the hearing, HSE principal inspector Howard Whittaker said: “The injuries sustained by Janicke have been devastating and completely changed her life.

“However, given the nature of the attack, the result could have been far worse and resulted in two people losing their lives.


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“Public knowledge – and concern – is increasing about how dangerous cattle can be. We completely echo the countryside code which urges walkers to beware of the dangers. On this occasion, the pair tried to stay well away.

“Where possible, farmers should avoid putting cattle, especially cows with calves, in fields where members of the public have a legal right to walk.

“Had Martin Falshaw followed this advice, or effectively segregated the cattle, this incident could have been prevented.”