Cows return to Petersham Meadows in 400 year old tradition

Cattle grazing peacefully on Petersham Meadows

From May 23 Petersham Meadows welcomes its summer residents; a small herd of Belted Galloway cattle provided by Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Grazing has been used to keep the meadows in shape for over 400 years, and it’s still used today as the most environmentally friendly way to maintain this historic landscape and encourage biodiversity and nature to thrive. The National Trust has been the caretaker of Petersham Meadows since 2010, paying the very handsome rent of a posy of wild flowers to the Mayor of Richmond each year on St Peter's Day 29th June. 

Cows on Petersham meadow with a bright posy of flowers
Belted Galloway cattle look bemused as a posy of flowers is presented as rent for their grazing the meadow.
Cows on Petersham meadow with a bright posy of flowers

Petersham Meadows is a key feature of the view from Richmond Hill - the only view protected by an act of parliament in the country. By inviting the cattle to graze, the National Trust is preserving one of the best-known views in London for everyone to enjoy, forever. The Ham House garden team that looks after this unique space encourages visitors to come and see the cattle and enjoy this historic river meadow.

View over Petersham Meadow from Richmond Hill
View over Petersham Meadow from Richmond Hill
View over Petersham Meadow from Richmond Hill

Look below for a walking trail that takes in this lovely oasis of green with London. If you are visiting Ham House and Garden already, then Petersham meadow is only a 10-15 mintue walk along the banks fo the River Thames.