A pregnant cow that fell 300ft down a cliff while trying to give birth was rescued by a digger – just in time to have a healthy calf.
The heifer trampled through a wire fence to find a secluded patch to deliver her offspring – but slipped and tumbled down a sleep slope.
She fell 300ft (100m) down into muddy bog where she was spotted by farmer Aubrey Chamberlain, 63.
He called his nephew Stuart Chamberlain, 31, and the two men launched an elaborate rescue bid – using a JCB to carve a track into the hillside.
Following a six-hour rescue they hauled the cow onto a makeshift sledge and dragging it 270ft to the top.
The pregnant animal received treatment from a vet and gave birth to a healthy calf less than 24 hours later.
Mr Chamberlain, 63, has run Colcombe Dairy Farm near Tiverton, Devon, with his wife Barbara for the last 27 years.
He said: “In the end we went across the side of the slope and got a digger and dug down to her.
“She stayed remarkably calm while she was down there until she started to slip on the sledge a bit. But it’s unbelievable really – a real miracle.
“She got stuck behind trees and has scratched herself a bit and you can see the marks.
She’s doing fine now and both mother and calf are enjoying life.”
Local vet Andrew Biggs assisted Mr Chamberlain and his nephew and treated the heifer for milk fever.
Mr Biggs said: “When we arrived she was so far down we couldn’t even see her. We thought the chances of getting her out alive and in one piece were slim.
“She wasn’t going to walk out. A fit young bull would have struggled to get up that steep slope.”