Marauding birds have forced the closure of a Bowland footpath.

Half a dozen people have been attacked by a pair of eagle owls which is nesting close to the path, to the North of Dunsop Bridge. Now Lancashire County Council has closed the footpath and nearby access land to protect the public.

One person was reported to have needed hospital treatment after one of the birds swooped and attacked using its talons. Pets have also been the subject of aggressive behaviour by the owls, which have a two-metre wingspan and are re-establishing themselves in Britain after hundreds of years absence. They are the largest members of the owl family.

The path affected runs from Foot Holme (SD653533) to Whitendale Farm (661549). A near parallel alternative path runs about 200m to the West, from where good views can be had of the aggressive owls.

Dog walkers have been the main target of attacks, as the birds protect their three fledglings.