Welsh White Park cattle on Little Doward.
Places., Walks

The 1,000 + year old White Park Cattle of Little Doward.

(Sadly, since writing this, the Woodland Trust has removed these rare cattle from Little Doward, it was said, because they were damaging the ramparts of the ancient fort. Personally I think that was a mistake. WT did not see fit to ask the local residents for their opinion. Now they have to employ someone with a mowing machine and tractor to cut the grass twice a year.)

Next time you are walking on Little Doward hill and if you should come across the beautiful, friendly white cattle please be mindful of their special status as one of the rarest of rare breed cattle in the UK with a lineage traceable back a thousand years if not more.

There are several types of White Park cattle all predominantly white with black points, perhaps the most famous being the Chillingham herd in Northumberland that have been allowed to roam free and undomesticated for centuries so that they are now the only feral cattle left in the UK and can be quite dangerous.

Not to be confused with English Whites that are similar in appearance, in 1960 there were only four designated White Park herds left. Then, just hanging  on, there was the now famous herd from Dinefwr in Carmarthenshire.


In the late 20th century the Dinefwr herd had dwindled to only 20 breeding cows and something had to be done to preserve this rarest of breeds from dying out so The National Trust raised £35,000 for a new bull named Quattro to come and join them.

Quattro the White Park bull.

In 2009 National Trust purchased six of the cattle from the Dinefwr herd to graze the areas around the Bronze Age hill fort on Little Doward and keep the area free of young trees and brambles.

So our friendly Welsh line of Dinefwr White Park cattle might be indistinguishable from their English White Park relatives but their Welsh heritage can be traced back to 920, and even further if you believe some Welsh folk law when they were icons and emblems for ancient Welsh kings and are associated with some of the most famous Welsh legends, none more so than the story of the Lady of the Lake at Llyn y Fan Fach.

So the cattle you see today on Little Doward are the grand children of Quattro and the great Welsh White Park lineage exists here today in our parish.

Update September 2018.

Sadly, in 2018, the White Park cattle were removed from Little Doward. We will miss them.

Some say that the cattle on the Doward were from a once separate breed called Welsh Whites and different from the White Park cattle but the White Park Cattle Society do not recognise them such. If they have been completely isolated from other White Park herds for a thousand years, it might be expected that they would have developed into a separate srain but since some recent cross breeding they have lost that status.

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