White Park cattle originate from the wild forest cattle that once roamed the forests of Europe and they have been in Britain for well over 2,000 years. When the Normans arrived in the 11th Century, they created enclosed parks for the native wild white
cattle, which they hunted for their prized meat. The oldest herd in Britain today has been em-parked in Northumberland since the 13th century.
It was a loin of White Park beef that King James I knighted “Sir Loin”. During the Second World War, White Park cattle were so rare that Winston Churchill, under the threat of German invasion in 1940, sent three cows and a bull to the USA to ensure the survival of the breed. In 1973 the White park breed was were so rare, with only 58 animals remaining in Britain, that it became the emblem of the newly formed Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
White Park are still a rare breed, with less than 700 White Park cows registered. Our supplier, Mark Leatham has dedicated the last eight years to rearing the breed at Lyons Hill Farm near Dorchester. He is committed to increasing the numbers of this beautiful breed through selective breeding and developing a market for its excellent meat, with the aim of one day removing the breed from its current classification as a “Rare Breed”. Uncompromising in his efforts to achieve the best flavour in beef, the cattle are grazed on pastures of mixed grasses and they are given plenty of time, well over three years, for their full flavour to mature naturally. Through this approach he has slowly built up his herd and carved a market in the industry, with White Park beef now appearing on the menus of some of the most noted restaurants in London.
In the words of Mark, “once you’ve eaten it, you won’t be shy of coming back for a second helping”!