Authorities have warned dog walkers to take care around cows and calves.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority issued advice to say the animals may become protective towards their young, after several reports of walkers being surrounded by cattle throughout the park.

Jon Avison, head of park management, said: “Everyone knows that cattle are very curious about dogs and will gather in a group and follow one, which can be an unnerving experience for the dog and its owner.

“Added to that is the fact that cows with young calves are, like almost any animal, naturally protective of their young so, when you put the two together, you have a potentially dangerous situation for walkers and their dogs.

“The advice is always to keep your dog on a lead and to avoid going near cattle if at all possible – and never walk between a cow and its calf.

“If they do start to follow you and get too close, let the dog go: it can run faster than you and the cattle will follow it.”