A Buckley man who works as a taxi driver in Chester says he is "very lucky to be alive" after being attacked by a herd of cows on a public pathway near Whitchurch.

Adam Delves, 38, of Megs Close, was walking on the South Cheshire Walkway near Wirswall on the Cheshire/Shropshire border at about noon on Saturday, May 19.

It was as he crossed a field as part of the Wicksted Old Hall farm that he said he was met by about 14 cows and bullocks and saw they looked to be protecting suckling calves.

He said: "They attacked me, shoving me from one to the next and every bit of clothing was torn off me.

"The final thing they did was toss me into the air and luckily I landed on the other side of the fence."

Mr Delves, who had been walking his dog before the incident but had left the pet on the other side of the fence to the cows, was taken to Leighton Hospital at Crewe and has been unable to work since as he has large cuts and bruises to his back, arms, leg and ankle.

He said: "As I am self-employed as a taxi driver I'm not earning any money and I was due to go on holiday to Croatia but have had to cancel that.

"My back is in an absolute mess. I can't do anything at the moment and I am very lucky to be alive."

ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads But Mr Delves' main concern is wanting better safety along the public pathway, which is accessible via a stile and which runs through the field.

He said: "Luckily I was a fit lad, but if it had been a young family then that young kid could've been dead.

"Those animals should not be in a field which has a public footpath, they could have an electric fence to cordon them off."

Since 2000 cows have killed 18 members of the public on public footpaths or rights of way. Of those, all were accompanied by a dog and all but one were walking alone or with one other person.

The Health and Safety Executive advises that farmers should, as a precaution, wherever possible keep cattle in fields that do not have public access, especially when cattle are calving or have calves at foot.

It adds that, if this is not possible, it is good practice to display signs informing the public when a bull, or calves with cows, are in the area.

Oliver Cartwright, spokesman for the National Farmers Union, said: “The countryside is a fantastic place to walk in and enjoy. However, we must remember it is a working environment where animals graze.

“So it’s important to take care and be mindful of your surroundings so you can fully enjoy the experience.

“We work with the ramblers, Kennel Club and others to offer sound advice to the public and we would encourage people to always follow the countryside code.

“We would encourage walkers to keep dogs on a short lead when walking in fields with livestock.

“Farmers are also aware of their responsibilities and they take these seriously."

Jeanette Chapman, the owner of Wicksted Old Hall farm, did not wish to comment.

Colin Britton, senior agent at the Chapmans' insurance firm NFU Mutual, confirmed that at the time of the incident the Chapmans were away from the farm and were therefore not privy to the circumstances of the incident.