In Britain we enjoy a rich agricultural heritage and our rare, native breeds can play an important role in our farming future. They manage our natural pastures extremely well, providing grazing that is both productive yet in balance with the environment. Not only do they graze on the right sort of plants, but often they are lighter than mainstream breeds and do less damage to the ground in poor weather.
British White Cattle
The British White is a naturally polled British cattle breed, white with black or red points, used mainly for beef. The breed is hardy and thrifty, and the animals readily graze rough vegetation such as rushes, nettles or heather and they keenly browse shrubs. Their ability to thrive on very poor pasture such as marshland and heathland, makes them suitable for conservation grazing.
English Longhorn Cattle
Our English Longhorn cattle are a native breed, originating from Craven in the north of England. They have long, curved horns and beautiful coats with rich, warm colouring. The breed was initially used as a draught animal and their milk was collected for butter and cheese because of its high butterfat content. It is widely accepted that the ‘marbling’ within meat is largely responsible for succulence, tenderness and flavour. Unlike other breeds, which require the laying down of excessive amounts of external fat before marbling can take place, a properly finished Longhorn carcass will benefit from ‘marbling’ without excess external fat cover, producing lean beef with superior eating qualities. It is this character trait that has allowed English Longhorns to build an international reputation for premium beef.
Castlemilk Moorit Sheep
Castlemilk Moorits are one of the larger primitive breeds. They were originally bred in the early years of the 20th century on the ‘Castlemilk Estate’ in Dumfriesshire using Manx Loghtan, moorit Shetland and wild Mouflon. Their meat is very lean, slow maturing with high quality, superbly flavoured meat.
Portlands are a small, primitive breed that are hardy and thrifty, used to surviving on sparse grazing. Happy to eat rough grasses and browse on shrubs, it makes them ideal for conservation grazing. The meat is known for its delicious flavour – it was recorded that George III was a fan of the Mutton.