The new grazing season has started on Petersham Meadows for 2013 but with one obvious difference - the new herd is an entirely new breed of cattle.

The previous herd has been replaced with Belted Galloways, a traditional British breed with characteristic white stripes round their bellies. The animals come with a history of grazing in areas with lots of visitors.

“We are delighted to welcome the new herd to Petersham” said Naomi Campbell, National Trust Property Manager. “I am sure they will soon become a familiar part of the landscape”.

The new herd has been made possible with the National Trust working in partnership with Surrey Wildlife Trust. They will hold the overall responsibility for looking after the cows when they are on the meadows

James Adler from the Surrey Wildlife Trust commented, “It is great to be grazing our animals at such an iconic location. We are very much looking forward to working with the National Trust and local people to carry on the long history of grazing cattle on this beautiful site”.

To ensure the safety of the cows and those using the Meadow, a temporary fence, running along the flood defence wall, has been installed and will be taken down when the cows leave.

Dog walkers are reminded that the Council has now implemented a Dog Exclusion Order - which bans dogs from the Meadow during the grazing season. Notices are displayed around the area and it is important that visitors are given the opportunity to be informed of the new arrangements. However, Council enforcement officers will also regularly patrol the area and those found in breach of the order on the Meadow could receive a fine of up to £1,000.

Those with a registered disability and use a dog for support e.g. guide dogs, are exempt from the ban.

Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, Cllr Virginia Morris said:

“It is wonderful to see the continuation of the cows grazing in the meadows.

“We have worked with the National Trust to agree a solution that safeguards the interests of visitors and users of the meadows and importantly the cows.

“However, I would like to take the opportunity to remind dog walkers that the Meadow is now a ‘no go’ area when the cows are on site. To ensure the wellbeing of all those using the area, we have had to introduce a ban. I ask all those out walking their dogs to respect the exclusion order.”

– from a Richmond Council press release - 23 May 2013