SWT Belted Galloway Herd

Surrey Wildlife Trust Galloway Herd


 The SWT herd of belted galloway’s has grown from just 3 animals in 2007 to 243 in June 2011.

 SWT was able to obtain funding from the Higher Level Scheme and a considerable sum was also raised by a membership appeal from SWT members. These funds have allowed SWT to expand its herd to become one of the largest and increasingly best equipped conservation graziers in the UK.


With the help of Surrey County Council SWT has restored the completely dilapidated small farm called Pond Farm. As the pictures show it was just a shell with a few fallen down wooden horse stables in 2004. The main barn has been restored into a fantastic agricultural office to house the grazing team, whilst the fields are now well fenced and have mains water installed. There is also an impressive handling system to manage the herd.

SWT employs a team of 5 to directly manage the conservation grazing on over 2200ha and to provide livestock to other parts of the estate. This includes a full time stockman with over 40 year’s experience.

 The cows are grazing a large number of SWT and partner reserves. The full list at present is:

  • Ash Ranges
  • Folly Bog
  • Wisley Common
  • The Whitmoor Group of Commons
  • Chobham Common
  • Manor Farm
  • Thundry Meadow
  • Royal & Bagmoor Commons
  • Thursley Common (working with Natural England)
  • Howell Hill
  • Dawcombe
  • Norbury Park
  • Hackhurst
  • Albury Downs
  • Newdigate
  • Horsell Common (working with the Surrey Heathland Project & the Horsell Common Preservation Society)
  • Prey, Smarts, Brookwood & Sheets Heaths (working with the Surrey Heathland Project & Woking Borough Council)
  • Holmbury St. Mary (working with University College London)
  • Staines Moor (grazing parts of the moor with Spelthorne Borough Council & the Moormasters)

 SWT have seen fantastic results on many of the reserves since the reintroduction of these animals. Scrub has been devoured and beautiful mosaics of vegetation created. Species have appeared which have not been recorded on sites before, such as the yellow hairy dung flies, plus numbers of some threatened species have increased. The best example is Surrey’s sole colony of Bog Hair Grass which was down to just a few plants in 2005. There are now over 30 plants following a couple of years of livestock grazing.

 SWT has been studying flora, reptiles, small mammals and bird populations on key sites to see how they respond to grazing.

GPS tracking collars are used on SWT’s cattle. These are carried by the lead animals and allow SWT to monitor the herd’s use of an area. Their movements can easily be tracked which enables SWT to focus on monitoring the patches where they spend most of their time. SWT are at the cutting edge of the use of these systems.

SWT is very lucky to have over 50 volunteer livestock checkers (lookers) to help check and care for the animals across the county. Encouragingly, the grazing team and lookers receive many positive comments from the public about the cattle, who enjoy seeing them out in the countryside.

The grazing team have also helped SWT win awards for their educational work at agricultural shows.

To get involved with this important project, please contact:

James Adler,
The Grazing Team
  School Lane, Pirbright, Woking, Surrey, GU24 0JN