Rachel Datlen recently joined the Society, here’s her story…
‘I first came across Longhorns in childhood when friends of my parents kept a herd of organic Longhorns in Hampshire, then more recently I was reacquainted with them through work, as both my partner and I work for Worcestershire County Council’s Countryside service where we use Longhorns for conservation grazing on our nature reserves. They work really well in this respect as their placid nature means they are unpurturbed by dogs, walkers and other interactions with the public, as well as getting by on what many would deem second rate pasture where the Longhorns help to maintain the open habitat.
In 2013 after always fancying a piece of our own land, we were extremely lucky to be able to purchase a field in the village where we live in South Shropshire. At just under 12 acres it was larger than we had dreamt of and even after planting 1500 trees and my partner planting a heritage orchard and installing bee hives, we still had around 8 acres of pasture which we initially allowed a local grazier to have, but last year we decided to do something different and started to look at getting some of our own cattle. We did consider Highlands briefly but were drawn to Longhorns on the basis of their reputation for mild mannered nature, low intensity systems, ease of calving and all round hardiness.
I started to look at animals for sale on the Longhorn website and saw that Cheshire Wildlife Trust were selling off their herd. We went to view them and most had already sold, but of the remaining few, we were taken with two cows and a calf. We have since added to them with some of Nicky Luckett’s lovely cattle and so now have a small herd of six animals. Our daughter, Eva, who is nine is really keen and is thinking about showing one of the heifers next year. In the village where we live they have been the focus of much attention and many comments’.