Multi award winning Dexter cattle

Published on 27th February 2018

Two black dexter cows in a field with blue sky

Cheltenham’s 35 Dexter cattle at Leckhampton Hill and Charlton Kings Common have been given three awards by the Midland Dexter Society in the bi-annual competition.

They’ve won first prize for best small herd for the second time, first prize overall for best senior cow (from small and large herds), and first prize for best calf.

Owners Anne and Annette North entered them into the competition in the early summer. Judge David Benson visited Charlton Kings Common and Daisybank Fields in August to view the cows at pasture, and the results were announced last month at the FOLK executive meeting.

The herd achieved 48 out of 50 points which could be awarded in total. The categories were: age and condition of adults (15/15 points awarded); age and condition of young stock (15/15 points awarded); owners’ management of their herd (10/10 points awarded); owners’ goal with their herd (4/5 points awarded), and uniformity of the home bred stock (4/5 points awarded).

Mr Benson says: “It was a pleasure to judge the herd of cattle and understand how you have to manage the herd within the restrictions set by grazing a site of scientific interest.”

Wayne Sedgwick, senior community ranger for Cheltenham Borough Council, says: “The cattle have an integral role to play on Leckhampton Hill with conservation grazing. It is a great scheme and we are so lucky to have these animals on the hill and to hear they have been awarded a first place certainly gives credit to Anne and Annette for the way that the herd is managed and cared for.”

Anne North, herd owner, added: “We were astounded and delighted to learn that we had been awarded first place in not one but three categories. We’re very proud of our Dexters and we’re so pleased to have received these accolades.”

The herd was first introduced to the site 2003 and has been roaming free since 2012. Grazing the cattle is the most sustainable method of restoring the limestone grassland whilst allowing the more sensitive and less competitive flowers and herbs to survive.


For press enquiries contact: Jemima Lawson, communications officer, telephone 01242 775 050, email communications@cheltenham.gov.uk

Notes:

FOLK (Friends of Leckhampton and Charlton Kings Common) has over 100 members, including a number of regular volunteers who work alongside Cheltenham Borough Council (CBC), the site’s owner, to manage and promote the use of the Hill and Common. For more information, visit their website: https://www.leckhamptonhill.org.uk/

Leckhampton Hill and Charlton Kings Common has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1954 due to the richness of limestone flora. The council has recently entered the Higher Level Stewardship scheme as a way to ensure the area stays protected.