A MANHUNT has begun in Chard after a woman was left in a critical condition in hospital after suffering serious injuries after she was attacked while walking her dog.

Passers-by were alerted to the "nasty assault" after hearing the female dog walker scream out before she stumbled towards witnesses with serious head injuries.

The incident happened at around 4pm last Friday near to Chard Reservoir, off Chaffcombe Road.

The lady, who is in her mid-40s, had been out walking her springer spaniel at the time.

After the female was discovered, an ambulance was called and she was rushed to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton for treatment of potentially life-threatening injuries.

The woman was later transferred to Southmead Hospital in Bristol, which has a special head injuries unit.

She has received specialist medical treatment and police say that she she is now in a stable condition.

Following the mystery incident, Avon and Somerset police are appealing to the public for any witnesses, or anyone who may be able to help with their enquiries, to come forward.

Police have also issued an e-fit of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

A police spokesman said: “At about 4pm other dog walkers in the area heard a scream and before the woman stumbled towards witnesses with serious head injuries.

“We are keen to hear from anyone who may have been in the area around 4pm who may have seen the woman and her dog – a black springer spaniel.

“A man was seen running away around the reservoir. He is described as a white man, about 20 years old, 6ft tall, medium build with a protruding stomach.

“His face was round, very red, and he had blonde hair with a side fringe that went partially across his left eye. He was wearing a black hoodie and black trousers.

“The white woman is in her mid-40s, she is of slim build and with long dark hair.

“She was wearing a beige coloured short sleeve tight fitting top, dark jeans and grey North Face training shoes with pink trim.

“The woman was being treated for her head injury at Southmead Hospital and is now in a stable condition.”

Officers were patrolling in the Chard Reservoir area throughout the weekend in a bid to reassure walkers and dog walkers.

Anyone with information should call 101 and and ask to speak to DS Lee Jones in Yeovil Investigations using the reference number 5217178432.