Buying a Steak in the Future of Wildlife Conservation

Tuesday 29th November 2016

Belted Galloway Cow

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s conservation grazing cows are not only helping the county’s wildlife habitats - they’re now providing local sustainable food reared on some of Surrey’s most important nature reserves.

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s beef ticks every box: breed, farming, care and passion and the flavour...

Two traditional Surrey butchers have started selling quality beef from the Trust’s Belted Galloway herd - Seabright’s in Haslemere and Surrey Hills Butchers in Oxshott.

“Our animals have a vital role to play in the conservation of heathland and chalk grassland habitats in the county and the preservation of the wildlife that lives there,” explained Steve Proud, the Trust’s Farm Manager. “The meat is a natural offshoot of our conservation grazing herd and the income generated will be ploughed back in to help pay for the costs of running the herd.

“People do like to know where their meat comes from - animal welfare, traceability and food miles are big considerations these days. I’m proud to say our animals have a lovely life, grazing in some of Surrey’s most stunning landscapes – they are very happy cows!”

Oliver Seabright, who opened Seabright’s traditional butchers shop in Haslemere’s West Street this summer, is a big fan of the Trust’s Belted Galloway beef - and so are local shoppers.

“My customers love it because the cows are pasture fed, they’re local and people love the connection with Surrey Wildlife Trust,” he said. “I wanted to sell conservation grazed beef that wasn’t reared just for meat, because nothing is rushed - everything is done slowly. That means the meat has an even marbling of yellow fat, which gives a much better flavour.”

Award-winning Simon Taylor of Surrey Hills Butchers was also keen to offer his customers Surrey Wildlife Trust beef in his shop in Oxshott High Street.

 “It’s not easy to find a premium local product like this anymore because there are fewer farmers, local slaughterhouses and butchers,” he said. “We’re proud to get behind Surrey Wildlife Trust’s beef – it ticks every box: breed, farming, care and passion and the flavour. Being older, having had a fuller life, the animal has more flavour. Quality is our first priority and the locality, the life of the animal and its journey is a fantastic bonus.”

The Trust uses animals to graze its reserves around the county including Chobham Common, Wisley Common and Elstead Commons. It also grazes on behalf of other landowners including The National Trust, on sites such as Box Hill, near Dorking and Petersham Meadows, near Richmond.

Grazing is the most natural method of looking after the landscape and the animals can access areas that machinery can’t. The way that cows feed creates a greater variety in the habitat, allowing species such as nightjars, heath tiger beetles, reptiles and cotton grass to thrive.

The Trust started its conservation grazing project with just three animals in 2007. As well as nearly 400 cattle, it now has goats and sheep. It also uses red deer for managing more inaccessible habitats in the county.

“We’re very proud of our conservation grazing programme and we’re proud to be supporting local businesses with our high quality beef. We hope people will buy it and enjoy it, safe in the knowledge that they have a stake in the future of wildlife in Surrey,” added Steve. 

Reserve your quality Christmas beef from Seabright’s on 01428 661555 or Surrey Hills Butchers on 01372 844890.

For further information on the Trust’s conservation grazing programme visit:

Tagged with: Business, Fundraising, Living Landscapes, Species