A COW which had become stuck in deep mud on the banks of the River Wye this week was thankfully reunited with her calf and the rest of her herd following a “heroic” rescue by emergency services.

Volunteers from the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) joined a Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) crew from Lydney at Buttington Farm between Sedbury and Beachley on Monday (May 29) to carry out a dramatic river rescue which lasted into the night.

A cow from the farm had somehow ended up swimming in the Wye alongside a bank of very soft mud on a falling tide, with her calf waiting for her in the field on the Beachley bank along with the rest of the herd.

Lifeboat SARA3 and crew arrived on the scene at about 6.40pm, and for an hour coaxed the cow, now named Gertrude (not her real name), down the river to a gully where the fire team and the farmer were preparing to extract her.

The fire team meanwhile set up a line of three mud platforms to aid access, as SARA3 blocked the cow from leaving the gully.

This inevitably resulted in SARA3 becoming beached on the mud herself.

So the team called in SARA14 in from Newport to try to release SARA3, but they eventually had to simply tie her off to wait for a rising tide. SARA14 ferried the muddy crew back to Beachley.

Meanwhile Gertude was unceremoniously dragged up the mud by GFRS' Animal Rescue team.

As the sun was setting, the fire team set up scene lighting as the cow was still on the mud bank.

Rescuers said she was obviously very exhausted, but as they were leaving the scene, the Beachely-based crew members witnessed the cow sitting up, nosing with other members of her herd who had gathered round to welcome her back.

The beached and abandoned SARA3 was retrieved at 1am the following morning, having been re-floated by the tide.

Richard Newhouse of SARA said: “It was a very good joint working with the fire team from Lydney, their animal rescue specialists, us and the farmer”.

One supporter commented on a SARA Facebook post about the rescue: “Well done to all involved, absolute heroes.”

Another said: “Well done everyone, not the easiest of conditions or casualty to deal with.”