A TERROR-stricken teacher was left in 'utter-disbelief' after a walk through the woods when she saw a black panther like creature sat just feet away from where she stood.

Vicky Parkinson, from Otley, was out walking her dog on Tuesday morning when a large, non-native black cat crossed her path.

"I couldn't believe my eyes," she exclaimed. "At first I thought it was a big dog. But then I did a double take and I was left in utter disbelief at what I had just seen!"

Mrs Parkinson was on holiday staying at the Windermere Campsite on Ashes Lane, between Kendal and Staveley, when she spotted the large creature in the woodlands near Ratherheath Tarn.

After seeing the large feline, Mrs Parkinson rushed back from her walk and went online to find out if there had been any other sightings in the area. When she found out that many people also claimed to have spotted a big panther-like creature in the area, she was then convinced that what she had seen must have been real.

"When I got over the shock I rang my wife straight away as I was so stunned at what I had just seen," she said. "I did see two deer running through the woods and didn't think anything of it at the time. But then, when I saw the creature, I put two and two together and realised that was what had spooked them.

"Thinking back, this is simply fascinating," she said. "This is something I don't think I will ever see again."

This is one of many sightings of a large black cat being spotted in South Lakeland.s area.

On Thursday October 25, a dog walker was out on Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve when she saw a non-native black cat near the Lyth Valley country inn.

Over the years The Westmorland Gazette has reported a large number of sightings of a large black cat prowling in the area.

In September, Roy Jackson, a retired civil engineer was convinced that the feline he saw sat on a wall on the driveway of his Gatebeck Lane home, near Endmoor, was either a puma or a cougar. He captured what he believes to be the creature on an infra red camera.

The Gazette has also reported sightings at Kendal, Sizergh, Levens, Holme, Winster, Sedbergh, Brigsteer and Witherslack.