Cumbria Police are appealing for witnesses after a woman walking on the Roman Road, near to Fair Hill, Appleby, was grabbed by a male suspect.
The man then fled the scene when a vehicle passed by.
The incident is understood to have occurred shortly after midnight.
The victim, who is believed to be a visitor to the area, was walking back towards the residential fields when the incident took place.
Gold Commander for Appleby Horse Fair Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said: “Whilst no sexual assault has taken place this may be due to the man having been spooked by a passing car.
“As such, I can assure the public this incident is being investigated thoroughly and I would strongly urge anyone with information which could assist Detectives to get in touch.
“We are in contact with the victim and our officers will continue to support her once she leaves the county and returns home.”
The suspect is described as being 5ft 7ins tall, in his early 30s and of average build. He had short dark hair, no facial hair and spoke with a northern accent which was not distinctive.
Detectives would like to hear from anyone in the area at the time or anyone else with information which could assist. Contact police referencing incident number 10 of 9th June 2019.
Email: [email protected] Call non-emergency number: 101 Or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.