Aggressive cows brought to Sussex from the continent are attacking ramblers who enter their fields.

East Sussex County Council and walkers’ groups are now urging people to take care after a number of incidents over recent months.

Clive Grumett, chairman of the Sussex Area Ramblers, said the introduction of more aggressive breeds from Europe had led to the rise in attacks.

He said: “Farmers introduced them because they wanted to improve their stock. However, they discovered these breeds were more aggressive after a number of cattle herders were attacked.

“Dairy cows are used to human interaction because they have to be milked. However, beef cattle are not, so they can be more aggressive.”

The warning comes weeks after a 66-year-old man was trampled to death by a herd in Wiltshire.

The walker had been with a friend when the herd charged.

They trampled the pair leaving one dead and the other with serious injuries.

Carl Maynard, the council’s lead member for transport and environment, said: “Thankfully serious incidents involving walkers and cattle are very rare.

However, we would always recommend walkers take steps to keep themselves as safe as possible.

“We want people to enjoy the beautiful countryside East Sussex has to offer, but we would encourage people to consider taking a mobile phone when out walking so they can call for help if they need to.”

Among the advice given is to move as “quickly and quietly as possible” while keeping dogs “close and under effective control on a lead”.

Walkers should also avoid getting between cows and their calves and “not panic or run”. Most cows will stop before reaching you.

John Archer, from the National Farmers’ Union, reminded walkers that the countryside remains a working environment.

He added: “Walkers should be mindful of their surroundings and especially vigilant on entering a field where the whole field cannot be seen.

“Follow the advice above and be sympathetic to animals that are rearing their young – please give them space.”

Mr Grumett added: “These incidents usually involve somebody walking their dog.

“The important thing to remember is not to try to protect your dog – they can run faster than a cow can and will be able to get away easily.”