IT was a daring mercy mission to bale out a group of cows marooned in a flooded Hampshire field.

A joint operation involving Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services’ animal rescue unit and a team from the RSPCA transported bales of hay to cattle that became stuck on less than half an acre of New Forest land.

It happened after the River Avon flooded the Water Meadows near Fordingbridge, cutting off most of its 70-acre field system.

They used a boat to transport 18 bales to the 30 stricken cows that were stranded after the worst storms in 20 years hit the county.

It is hoped this will give them enough food until the water levels drop.