Ancient British White calf born at Blenheim Palace

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Blenheim/Cover Images

A pedigree British White Cattle calf has been born at Blenheim Palace.

The calf is the first among a dozen due to be born in the coming weeks at the Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Eight-year-old mum Ava is keeping a close eye on the new arrival, whose father Seb the bull, is set to become a dad 12 times over.

The modern British White Cattle breed can claim direct links with the ancient indigenous wild white cattle of Great Britain.

The herd was introduced into an ancient oak woodland on the 2,000-acre Oxfordshire estate known as High Park three years ago, to trample undergrowth and clear spaces for acorns from the ancient oaks to germinate and grow.

High Park is home to the greatest number of ancient oak trees anywhere in Europe. Around 90 per cent of the woodland is made up of oak trees and it is thought that at least 60 of them date back to the Middle Ages.

Early in the 20th century, the total number of herds had dropped to just seven with less than 150 individual cattle remaining. However today, thanks to a resurgence in interest in rare and heritage breeds, their numbers have increased more than 10-fold.

The reintroduction of the cattle is part of the Blenheim Estate’s Land Strategy plan that looks at innovative ways to protect, utilise and open up access to the 12,000-acre estate over the coming decades.

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