Cows grazing at Dyrham Park

Cows at Dyrham Park

Every summer, Dyrham Park welcomes a herd of around 100 cattle to help graze the parkland.

From May-October every year, we are joined by a herd of grazing cattle to help us manage the land. They eat the long grass so the deer can reach the tendershoots.

For centuries, this ancient deer park has been grazed by animals - including sheep and cows - and in the interests of conservation, we are carrying on this tradition.

Wildlife management plan

As well as helping us keep the grass under control, they play an important part in biodiversity - with their dung proving the perfect meal for dung beetles, which in turn are a foodsource for our thriving bat population.

Garden & Parks Manager Dale Dennehey said: "We have to manage the 220 acres of parkland grass and although the deer are here all year round to graze the sward they cannot cope with the enormous amount of summer grass.  

"It's usual practice in all parks to supplementary graze to ensure the grass remains reasonably short otherwise there would be wider access issues through waist high grass and scrub and to ensure there is a ready supply of short sweet grass for year round deer grazing.

He added: "The cattle have huge benefits to the biodiversity of the site also with the cow dung beetle being the food source for our resident bat population."

If you spot our cows
 
Sometimes people may be wary of these cows, but it's important to note that while they are curious - they are friendly and they have grazed here for 40+ years without major incident.
 
Outdoors Officer Beth Taylor said: "The cows can't see very far at all, so sometimes can get quite close to objects in order to work out what they are. If you find the cows coming towards you, just hold your ground and walk confidently past. You can clap your hands if you need to and they should disperse."