Archives for posts with tag: belted galloway

Little Maple the Belted Galloway Calf.


Born in a rainstorm last weekend. Her mum refused to feed her so she is having to be looked after by the Rangers. She was cold and wet and had to borrow a jumper.


Her mum got confused and latched onto Apple, one of our other calves whilst she was giving birth. She then refused to accept Maple. Animals are funny things sometimes.

Apple is a very cute calf though, so you can maybe see why!


The weather was horrible and she was looking very sorry for herself. We helped her out with bottle fed colostrum for the first couple of days. Now we are putting her mum in our cattle crush several times a day so that Maple can feed direct from her while mum feeds on hay.


The hope is that over the next week or so they will both get the idea, sort themselves out and start to bond properly again. It seems to be going ok so far, Maple is well fed and happy, she seems to be growing well. Damson (the mum) is a bit grumpy about the whole thing, but slowly and gradually seems to be mellowing a bit. For now though its early morning and late evening feeds with Maple the calf for the team here at Black Down.


Good luck little Maple, we are doing our best for you and hoping you pull through.

This is the time of year when our Belted Galloway Cattle move off the heath and onto the grasslands we look after. One of our Tenant Farmers will move his animals onto the heath in a couple of weeks, but the belties get a summer change of scene.

cows out of the trailer

They might look cute, and they are very gentle, but they are hardy as anything, they have to be to thrive over winter on the heaths. They certainly like coming down into the grasslands though, you can almost see the excitement in their eyes as they come out of the trailer.

Shottermill cattle

We try and balance a mix of well timed grazing and hay cutting throughout the summer months to promote the wild flower interest and biodiversity of the meadows at places like Swan Barn Farm. It is always such a pleasure to see them heading out across the fields after a move, they make sense of and complete the landscape, I will never get tired of seeing them moving onto fresh ground.

grazing cow damson

This is Damson, she and the other cattle enjoying the fresh grass in these pictures are spending some time at Shottermill in the fields near the ponds. They are waiting the visit of the the Artificial Insemination man… we are all looking forward to some beefy buns in ovens… Good luck girls.

Also this week I was invited over to see the raising of a traditional green oak timber frame being put up by some of the guys who worked with us on the Speckled Wood project.

The pegs wich hold the frame together are being made with oak from Swan Barn Farm. It was a real pleasure to see sustainably produced timber and traditional craft skills being used to put up a beautiful timber frame.

Dylan, Rudy, Rich and the others really are putting together something pretty special.

green oak frame

This is just the first bay of what will eventually be a large timber framed barn, not many of those get built these days, and it is fascinating to see one going up using sustainable local timber being built by skilled local craftsmen. Thanks for the invite guys, hope the pegs are ok!

Feeling inspired by what I saw I am off now to the woods to fetch some of the timber we will be using for our much smaller framing project, our Orchard House, more on that as the summeer goes by I hope.

Marley Cattle promo reduced file size

It has been a busy time lately for the Black Down herd of conservation grazing cattle. They have been moving around our sites completing our programme of summer grazing and will soon be heading out onto their winter quarters. Four of our girls have returned from the bull, fingers crossed for a full set of beefy buns in ovens. Also two of our steers have reached the age where they go for beef.

We run a breeding herd, heifers (young females) are kept for breeding so that we can build up numbers and select for good characteristics. Steers (the castrated males) are kept for 3 years and then go for beef. We sell the beef in a local box scheme, the profits of which help support the running of the property and the herd, as well as giving people a taste of some of the finest tasting, highest welfare, most sustainably produced beef you could ever wish to put on your plate.

Someone from the Black Down team visits every one of our cattle every single day of the year. Come rain, hail, snow or (occasionally) sunshine we look after them from birth till death. The work they do for us is absolutely vital for our management and stewardship of the countryside in our care. Without them the habitats and landscapes we look after around Haslemere would be very much the poorer, for both wildlife and people. Needless to say it is difficult not to get enotionally involved. Especially on the day you take an animal you have known well to the abbatoir. Yesterday was such a day, and I don’t mind saying it wasn’t easy.

Today is a new day though. I couldn’t be more proud of the animals we raise here, and know that they live just about the most contented and rich life it is possible for a cow to have. This is reflected in the beef we produce and sell.

So, on a stricly first come first served basis (limited supply available) we are currently offering for sale 5kg boxes of mixed cuts of our rare breed Belted Galloway beef which will have been traditionally butchered and hung. The boxes cost £50 and will be available for collection from Swan Barn Farm on 6th November between 4 and 7pm. We have a list of customers in the office, to get on the list you need to ring 01428 652359 and speak directly to one of the team. I have to warn you though, supermarket beef will never be good enough again.


How come there are only three cows on Marley now rather than four? Was the (possibly slightly accusatory!) question I was asked several times last week. Don’t worry, she’s not in the freezer (this time!) it was her turn to make a visit to see the bull.

With summer moving on and the cycle of the year turning round the time has come for some of our cattle to take a trip to visit Hillfield Expo, a rather fine looking gentleman beltie on another NT property not far away.


He is new to the National Trust, having only arrived a couple of months ago, we are hoping he will look after our girls for us and treat them right.

We aim to calve in the spring, its part of a natural cycle of stockmanship, taking advantage of the seasons, it means that cow and calf get a fresh flush of new nutricious growth at just the time it is most needed.

The cattle look slightly suspiciously at the trailer when time comes to be loaded up.


They know the drill though, and are pleased to see somewhere new to explore.


We always do our best to try and give them the best life possible, they are crucial tools for our management of the countryside, we couldn’t do it without them. Have a nice holiday girls, see you in a couple of months.

Many of you will know that as part of our conservation management work on our heathland sites we run a small herd of Belted Galloway Cattle. The time of year has come for some of our steers to go to the abbatoir, therefore we are now able to offer for sale to the public some of the finest beef you are likely to be able to buy (of course I am biased, and proud of it!).

These rare breed cattle have spent their life grazing outdoors on conservation managed heathlands and wild flower rich grasslands around Haslemere. We like to think they have about the best life it is possible for cattle to lead. They help us to manage the habitats, and through the action of their grazing encourage the conditions in which numerous rare and fascinating species of wildlife flourish. We have started a system whereby we are breed our own replacement animals and later on in the winter our cows will be heading off to holiday with a Belted Galloway bull. Selling beef in this way provides the funds to enable us to purchase breeding animals so that we can keep a dynamic and healthy herd.

The beef will have been traditionally butchered and hung for three weeks to provide the kind of flavour your average supermarket steak will simply never be able to match. It will be ready to collect in early December, just in time for Christmas.

Collection will be in person on 8th or 9th December from Swan Barn Farm in Haslemere, giving you the opportunity to call in and have a look at the Speckled Wood Building while you are here. We are selling 5kg boxes for £50 and 10kg Boxes for £95. Each box will contain a mix of high quality cuts of beef including everything from roasting joints to steaks and mince. To place an order call 01273 857712 or email

We anticipate demand to be high so I would suggest getting your order in early to avoid dissapointment. I really hope people like it, we are very proud of our little herd and what they accomplish for us, I think this is a really positive way of supporting the management of the countryside around the town and have already put my name down on the list.

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