Welcome back to Richmond’s belted Galloway cows
As the grazing season begins, the luscious Petersham Meadows adjacent to The Petersham welcome back the unique Belted Galloway cows. The cows have been grazing in the fields for years between the months of April and October and are known to be relaxed and comfortable having the public around them.
The ‘belties’, as the cows have endearingly been nicknamed, were originally found in Galloway, South-West Scotland and are distinctive due to their long black coats and broad white ‘belts’. Rather humorously, the cows have also known to be dubbed ‘oreo cows’ or ‘panda cows’ due to their striking appearance.
Belted Galloways have a few rather interesting characteristics and stories behind them, so to celebrate their return we’ve put together a list of some of their most interesting facts.
Interesting facts about Belted Galloways:
• Belted Galloways are extremely suited to the wet and cold weather. Their coarse and curly outer coats help shed the rain whilst their soft undercoats provide insulation to be able to spend long winters outside.
• Due to their endurance and strength, Belted Galloways became popular on the export market resulting in herds across the globe, including in Canada, Australia and South Africa.
• Historically, farmers liked to have a Belted Galloway leading the herd when they had to drive cattle from one area to the next, so they could clearly see where the cattle were heading.
• Belted Galloways are naturally polled (born without horns) meaning farmers can avoid the sometimes upsetting process of dehorning their herd.
• The Belted Galloways were previously listed on the ‘Rare Breed Survival Trust’’s watch list following the destruction of the foot and mouth crisis in the early 2000s. However thankfully in 2007, the breed was formally removed, as numbers had exceeded 1,500 registered breeding females.
• It is believed that Belted Galloways are the result of cross-breeding between ancient Galloway cows and Lakenvelder Dutch Belted cows.
So if you’re staying at The Petersham between the months of April and October this year, be sure to say hello to our friends taking up residence in the Petersham Meadows.