Dinefwr cattle are TV stars for the night

Dinefwr Park’s ancient breed of White Park Cattle enjoyed the limelight once again when they featured in one of Britain’s most watched television programmes this month.

The famous White Park cattle at Dinefwr ©National Trust

The famous White Park cattle at Dinefwr
©National Trust

On 18 January, the National Trust property in Carmarthenshire will showcase some of their most famous assets as BBC’s Countryfile covers the fascinating history of the iconic Dinefwr herd of White Park Cattle.

Records of the White Park Cattle at Dinefwr date back to the year 920 and they were mentioned in the laws of Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good) who lived at Dinefwr Castle, overlooking the designed landscape that the cattle now graze in front of Newton House.

Presenter Adam Henson, famous for his segment ‘Adam’s Farm’ on the show, is no stranger to handling the primitive breed as he, along with the National Trust, has one of the last remaining herds in the UK. He stood amongst the cattle as he chatted to staff and helped the stockman with the daily tasks.

National Trust Rangers Carol Bailey and Dai Hart represented the Trust during the day’s filming and highlighted the animals’ importance for conservation and the legacy that they represent in Wales.

The story of the White Park Cattle’s origin was of particular interest to Adam Henson, who has always believed that they were introduced to the UK by the Romans.

Marketing, PR & Media Officer for National Trust Carmarthenshire, Sophie Thomas, said: “We were able to challenge Adam’s theory about the White Park’s DNA as our herd of cattle has recently undergone genetic testing, proving there to be little or no link between our cows and the Italian White Cattle.

The episode of Countryfile featuring Dinefwr is available to view here via BBC iPlayer.

There are regular tours and a self-guided walk around the White Park Cattle at Dinefwr. Please call 01558 824512 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dinefwr

Bulls to be reckoned with

A rare breed of cattle from our estates in Carmarthenshire recently gained a special prize at a national event when Dinefwr’s distinctive White Park Cattle won first prize at the Royal Welsh Smallholders and Garden Festival at Builth Wells.

Carol Bailey and National Trust staff accept first prize for their White Park Cattle at Builth Wells © National Trust

Carol Bailey and National Trust staff accept first prize for their White Park Cattle at Builth Wells
© National Trust

The winning heifer was part of the Cattle Breed Society Stand Competition open to rare and native British breeds. Dinefwr is the ancestral home of the White Park Cattle with records of them on the National Trust property dating back to the year 920.

Volunteer and Community Ranger for the National Trust in Carmarthenshire, Carol Bailey, was part of the team that accompanied the yearling heifer to the show. She said: “We are delighted with our success at the Smallholders and Garden Festival. Our heifer behaved brilliantly and was very relaxed about the whole trip.

“We had lots of visitors and everybody was interested in her and how she and the rest of the herd help with conservation grazing on the Dinefwr estate. There was a lot of interest in the information stand too. The herd has such a fascinating history and we try to showcase that as best we can. Getting the prize was the icing on the cake.”

Carol said that the Trust hoped to continue the success by taking two yearling White Parks, which are white except for their points (nose, feet and tips of horns), to the show next year.

Find out more about the White Park Cattle conservation at Dinefwr, HERE.