Tatton Park welcomes the rarest of cattle. | Knutsford Times

Tatton Park welcomes the rarest of cattle to it’s rare breed farm.

By on July 3, 2013

Beautiful “Survival Lady Grace” a Northern Dairy Shorthorn cow owned by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) and classified as `critical’ on the Watchlist of breeds at risk will be in the safest of hands in her new home at Tatton Park’s Home Farm.

Lady Grace. Tatton's Northern Dairy Shorthorn
In 2007 the farm was awarded Rare Breeds Accreditation by the RBST in recognition of their commitment to the conservation, breeding and promotion of rare or endangered breeds of farm animals.

It is one of only 17 farms to receive this status. The farm had to meet various criteria involving not only the livestock, but the standards of the premises, the knowledge of the staff and detailed examination of pedigree records, movement information and health requirements.

Lady Grace’s breed of cattle originated from the boundaries of Yorkshire and Durham in the Tees valley. The Northern Dairy Shorthorn then evolved as a dual-purpose breed in the Pennine Dales of northern England, and the adjacent areas of Durham and Westmorland. During the 19th century cross-breeding with other breeds saw the gradual decline in the Northern Dairy Shorthorn. Today only 35 females are recorded in the Register and the semen from 8 bulls is stored in the RBST GeneBank.

The NDS is a hardy dual-purpose animal and produces quality milk and beef from home grown food. Originally the milk was used for the manufacture of local Cotherstone cheese. It exhibits the full range of Shorthorn colours – red, white, red-and-white and roan. It is recognisable by its erect head and short upturned horns.

Tatton Farm manager Jayne Chapman said “I can’t stress how excited and honoured we are to be chosen by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust to show case and look after Lady Grace. The fact that there are only 35 left in the country makes her a very special lady indeed and she will certainly get the four star treatment. She has settled in really well and we look forward to telling everyone about her and the importance of conserving all our traditional breeds.’’

Tatton hope that they will enjoy the success already achieved in the breeding of their Red Poll cattle which have now increased in numbers nationally and are considered to be a “success story” breed no longer classified as rare. The farm is home to 8 pure breed Red Poll cows and produces four calves each year to help sustain their breeding numbers.

Lady Grace is already showing the breed’s docile nature and it is hoped that when she is old enough she will join the Farm’s demonstration milking team. Ruth Dalton, Northern Field Officer for the RBST said “We chose Tatton as the perfect home for one of our rarest dual purpose breeds as she will be on display to the public and also milked in the restored dairy. We’d love to have some records of how much milk she produces and will be working closely with Home Farm staff to ensure the best A1 bulls are used to conserve the breed’s genes.”

The arrival of Lady Grace takes the number of rare breeds at Tatton to over 30 with all their breeds of poultry. The most recent was earlier this year with the arrival of 6 Whitefaced woodland ewes also on loan from the RBST to start a new breeding programme

Visitors will be able to see Lady Grace at the Farm as soon as the last Red Poll calf has been born. Check website for details.

Home Farm opening times and prices

The farm is open for high season (until October 27, 2013) Tuesday to Sunday from noon-5pm (last entry 4pm).  During the rest of the year it is open weekends from 11am-4pm (last entry 3pm) and school holidays

Prices for single attraction entry: adult £6, child £4 (aged 4 to 15 years of age), family £16 (two adults and up to three children).

Totally Tatton Ticket (entry to three attractions: mansion, gardens and farm): Adult £11, child (aged 4 to 15) £5.50, family (two adults and up to three children) £27.50.

National Trust members pay 50 per cent entry to the farm.  Park entry charge of £5 per car applies to all.

Please visit our website www.tattonpark.org.uk or call 01625 374400 for more information.

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