In 2018, Roundoak welcomed the exceptionally rare breed Vaynol cattle to join its already established herds of Highland and White Park cattle.
Vaynol cattle are one of the rarest breeds of cattle in the UK – in April 2018 there were only 12 breeding females remaining (RBST, 2018). The three pregnant cows and two calves arrived all the way from their home in Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland. The Vaynol herd was originally established at Vaynol Park near Bangor in 1872 and was later moved in its entirety to near Leeds. More recently herds of Vaynol cattle have been distributed throughout the country to Lincolnshire and Scotland, and now to Roundoak in Kent, as a precaution in the event of outbreak a disease. It is hoped that Roundoak can play an instrumental role in ensuring the longevity of the herd, as it has previously in protecting and promoting its flock of Hebridean sheep.
The once wild Vaynol cattle are nowadays considered semi-feral, but still have the wildness and distrust of humans of their ancestors. They are also exceptionally hardy, which means that they can survive on poor grazing and require very little maintenance. As a result of this, they will be ideally suited to developing Roundoak’s already well-established conservation-grazing program operating throughout Kent. Vaynol cattle are noted for their stunning looks usually all white and with black ears and nose or completely black. They are similar in looks to the White Park cattle that are also in residence at Roundoak.