Cowshed Plays Matchmaker to … Cows!
In a campaign to search for a new bull to preserve Dinefwr’s White Park Cattle herd, we have been given the chance to actually work with cows. Now we just need a campaign on sheds!
National Trust Wales have kickstarted a campaign to save the future of their famous White Park Cattle at Dinefwr. The herd has lived there for over one thousand years, but National Trust Wales now needs to urgently raise £36,000 to buy a new bull and new females to keep the bloodline alive and #SaveTheHerd.
Characterised by their pure white coats and black noses and ears, there only around 750 breeding females left in the world; making them rarer than the Giant Panda*. Records of this iconic breed of cattle at Dinefwr date back to the year 920 and were referenced in the laws of Hywel Dda.
Wyn Davies, a local dairy farmer by trade, has spent the last 18 years taking care of the current 13-strong herd. He’s passionate about making sure their heritage and legendary status are protected at Dinefwr.
Wyn said: “After 4 years of distinguished service, the current bull, Strelley Bendigo, has maximized his potential within the herd. A new male needs to enter the herd to preserve the bloodline and make sure the bulls bred on the land are true to species.”
Richard Broad, field officer at the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) said: “The RBST fully support the maintenance and future development of the herd of White Park cattle at Dinefwr. Based in the homeland of the breed in west Wales, the campaign is a beacon of hope for all rare breeds.”
Our fundraising campaign is just one of the ways National Trust Wales is protecting the rare cattle, as they also prepare to ensure continuity of the traditional skills and staff to care of the herd. Rhodri Thomas is the next generation of herdsman, currently training to take over from their experienced and dedicated herdsman Wyn Davies, due to retire in the next few years.
Wyn Davies said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with the White Park Cattle for the past 18 years and they’re amazing animals. Every heifer and bull in the herd is special to me and I’ve loved taking care of them.
‘Dinefwr wouldn’t be Dinefwr without them. I hope with the support of the public we can achieve our fundraising goal and together with a new young herdsman in the form of Rhodri the cattle will be safeguarded for future generations.”
32-year-old Rhodri is currently juggling his time between studying towards gaining the necessary qualifications in Animal Husbandry at Coleg Sir Gar Gelli Aur campus, and working at Dinefwr alongside Wyn, to learn the vital skills needed to care for the cattle.
Rhodri will learn how to become fully competent in the care, welfare and management of the White Parks, together with increasing his public engagement skills.
Justin Albert, Director National Trust Wales said: “The White Park Cattle are vital to Dinefwr and important to Wales. They’re a significant part of Welsh history that we want to protect and preserve, and we’ll do all we can to ensure the breed continues to thrive and delight our visitors for generations to come.”
- DONATE to Dinefwr’s White Park Cattle by texting COW to 70123 to donate £3* or by making a donation next time you visit the property.
- This is a charity donation service. You will be charged £3, plus one message at your standard network rate. The National Trust will receive 100% of your donation. If you’d rather we didn’t contact you in future, text NOCOMMS NT to 70060. If you wish to discuss this mobile payment call 0203 282 7863. A Registered charity in England and Wales (no: 205846)
DONATIONS can also be made by telephoning the National Trust Supporter Services Centre on 0344 800 1895.
*According to WWF there are only 1,864 giant pandas in the world.