With sustainability firmly on everyone's minds this 2024, Calcot and Spa in Tetbury is announcing its newest residents — a herd of Belted Galloway cattle!
To encourage biodiversity within its grounds and surrounding area, the hotel and spa is allowing the cows to graze freely across its wildflower meadows — creating a picture perfect countryside experience for guests and visitors.
Affectionately known as Belties, the cows act as natural lawnmowers and are often found grazing the slopes around the valleys of Stroud, taking advantage of the land that other livestock find less appetising — and they are critical in helping the National Trust's Stroud Landscape Project restore important grasslands and meadows.
More than 96 per cent of the grasslands have been lost in the Cotswolds since the 1930s, with many rare wildflower species populations struggling as a result.
Having recently received an award from the Campaign to Protect Rural England Gloucestershire organisation for their services to conservation, the herd is munching their way through the Calcot meadows in hopes of encouraging more wildflowers, butterflies, insects, birds and invertebrates to create their homes there.
Stroud Landscape Project Manager, Lisa Edinborough, said: 'The project works with landowners, environmental bodies, local councils, and communities with the aim of creating a dynamic and thriving landscape of connected habitats.
'As well as conservation grazing, we also harvest wildflower seeds from donor sites and sow them on recipient fields.'
Richard Ball, CEO of the Calcot Collection, added: 'We’re delighted and proud to be working with the National Trust to further our rewilding efforts at Calcot — we’re looking forward to welcoming the Belties in January and hope they settle in well.
'Using conservation grazing and advice from the team at the Stroud Landscape Project is another positive step for us in our rewilding journey.'