Tours to see Chillingham's unique herd of wild cattle resume
Visitors can now go and see Chillingham’s unique herd of wild white cattle again.
Chillingham Wild Cattle Association has restarted its tours following a long closure period due to Covid-19.
Warden Ellie Waddington said: “We couldn’t be happier to finally be open again. While closed, working in the park was a lonely experience but it’s great to have the public allowed back. Their excitement over the cattle is a wonderful reward.
"We’ve got lots planned this year, including planning a new visitor centre and from June we hope to be able conduct tours using our new trailer.
"With this year being the year of the staycation and so many people exploring and holidaying in Britain, let us hope that we are able to capitalise on this over the summer. Northumberland is such a beautiful county with so much to offer and Chillingham Wild Cattle are a unique part of that.”
Over the past year the park has only been able to welcome a fraction of the number of guests it would normally.
Ellie said: “It’s been a hard year for us, especially over the cold, wet winter. Most of our team were furloughed on a part or full-time basis, so we were working with a skeleton crew.
"Even when our gates were closed, the wild cattle still needed to be fed over winter, and this year we also had to contend with a few days of serious snow as well as temperatures of minus 10 some days. While closed, we’ve also been ensuring the general upkeep of the park and tree planting.”
On the tours, Ellie and fellow warden Denene Crossley will take groups through the woods, which are home to red squirrels, roe and fallow deer and 50 bird species, before entering the cattle park where the 130-strong herd is homed.
The genetically unique herd – which receives no human intervention other than winter feeding – have been lucky enough to welcome new calves already this spring, testament to their hardy nature.
Tour numbers are limited and pre-booking is essential at: https://chillinghamwildcattle.com/
The nearby Chillingham Castle is now also open for visitors. Joint tickets can be purchased which offer both a tour of the wild cattle and access to visit the castle.