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Wild Cattle and Milk Bottles

If you are looking for variety and something new, look no further than Northumbria Smallholders. What other organisation can offer such rich diversity and at the same time consistency of pleasure.

If you are willing to give yourself up to experts who either invite questions or prefer you to keep your mouth shut, then a visit to Chillingham  Park and Chillingham Barns will provide you with rare but splendid entertainment.

Our Sunday afternoon jaunt did not have the usual and now expected glorious sunshine but any clouds failed to overshadow  the walk (or ride!) across the fields to view the cattle. The immediacy of being with animals with ancestry dating back to the dawn of history brings a collective hush among those who gather to observe them.

The ability of the herd to exist and survive in a relatively small enclosed space is a tribute to evolution and the  amazing ability of all animals to adapt to prevailing conditions. With increasing scientific knowledge our  understanding of their breeding capacity and development indicates that they are now clones of each other. King Bull rules!

Thinking of cloning, have you ever seen thousands of milk bottles all together. They may look alike but read the detail as we did at Chillingham Barns and you notice the variety and creativity of design in the labels used to show which dairy produced the milk. Add thousand of milk bottles to dozens of ploughs and hundreds of farm implements with numerous vehicles and assorted machinery and you begin to get just a flavour of Meg and Dave Thompson’s collection of farming memorabilia

What is impossible to imagine, because you have to experience it directly, is their knowledge and expertise about every single item on show. An afternoon viewing provides a mere snapshot of the collection. What is required is probably a lifetime to fully appreciate what is there and, in a way, that is what it represents the lifetimes of previous generations who have cared for and worked the land to our benefit.

The end of the afternoon? Need you ask? A groaning table full of delights and a few heroic eaters!