Garden Roses and White Park Cattle

We are back from our annual trip to Wales to see my husband’s family and have returned to a garden that resembles a jungle. The grass in the meadow seems to have grown about a foot in our absence and some of the vegetables (though not all) have grown too. But more about the garden later in the week.

First some highlights of our Wales visit. Grandma and Grandpa’s garden was awash with flowers, the roses in particular caught my eye.

Meanwhile, in the hedgerows and banks along the Welsh roadsides, foxgloves with their tall pink spires, seemed to abound.

Foxgloves

Foxgloves

One of the visits we made was to Dinefwr Park, a National Trust property and home to a herd of White Park Cattle. This is a very old cattle breed but it is also very rare with only about 1000 animals worldwide. The breed is descended from Britain’s original wild white cattle. Because the white cattle look so noble they were enclosed in parks by the nobility during the middle ages but when these estates started to decline so too did the cattle. The cattle are white with black spots and black on their muzzle, ears, eye-rims and feet. The wide-spreading horns are usually black-tipped. As they are an ancient breed the animals still have a matriarch system, i.e one of the females is in charge. In Dinefwr the matriarch is Miranda – she is the oldest female in the herd (at about 16 years of age). During the Second World War a small number of the cattle were shipped to the USA, where today two herds still remain – one in Texas and one in Montana.

The park is also famed for its ancient trees. They have nearly 300 trees that are thought to be over 400 years old. One of the oak trees is estimate to be 700 years old. We didn’t get time to see that one, so will have to make a return visit.

Oak tree

Oak tree

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24 thoughts on “Garden Roses and White Park Cattle

  1. Eliza Waters

    The rose photos are breath-taking with the raindrops on them, so beautiful!
    The cattle remind me of Texas Longhorns, I wonder if they are descended from the White Park Cattle?
    I would love to see a 700-yr.old oak, it must be massive!

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      It had rained all morning and then the sun came out so was perfect for taking photos of rain speckled rose. And lovely smell too – which unfortunately I can’t share!

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  2. Mike Howe

    Im glad that you enjoyed the beautiful cattle and trees at Dinefwr. I have the privilege of maintaining the management plan for the park and those are 2 of the most important features. Im enjoying reading your blog! 😃

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Wow Mike – what a place to be able to work in – it must indeed be a privilege. Loved your photos of the park too – we will definitely have to make a return visit, it’s a fascinating place. And thanks for kind comments on my blog.

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  3. Jane

    So, it’s a matriarchal breed – how interesting. We have them here at The National Trust’s Wimpole Hall. Do any other breeds still have Grandma to keep them in check? Wonderful pictures – all the senses evoked.

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  4. Isolde

    Hi ..it’s interesting what you say about the boss, Miranda,in the white park cattle. Our herd consist of various types of cows including Angus, limousines ,shorthorns and crosses of the above, and they still have a hierarchy in place. One lady will always lead the rest of the herd and will often overrule the bull. The bull might not want to move to a new field but she will push him out of the way if she deems necessary. Some thing else I love to see is the crèche system!. Every morning all the young calves will be in one corner of the field with one or two cows keeping watch while the rest of the herd grazes on.

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