Testing time for National Trust cattle on Blackdown

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IT IS a testing time for the National Trust wardens on Blackdown.

Not only are the numbers of trees felled by the weather testing their ability to clear tracks and keep pathways clear, but the cattle are also up for testing for bovcine tuberculosis (TB).

Fortunately both for the cattle and for farmers, Bovine TB is relatively uncommon in West Sussex, but that does not stop compulsory testing with all the related costs and worries.

Dave Elliott, head warden, said: “It is unlikely to be bad news, but it is always a bit 

The wardens have taught the cattle to come when called, as in an area as big as Blackdown it would otherwise take ages to round them up.

“It also causes great amusement to visitors who 
think that a lost dog is being called, only to see a herd of cattle coming over the 
horizon and into the pen for testing,” said Dave.

He added: “The cattle grazing on Blackdown are a vital part 
of our conservation management of the heathland and without them we could not look after 
the land.”

But he added: “We also need to look after them and regular screening for disease is part of that.

“We are lucky that TB is not too much of a problem in this 
part of the country, but nonetheless we are very grateful to get the all-clear from the vet.”