Dexters on the Down

Dexter cattle are either tan or black with elegant curved horns and small with short legs, so perfectly formed for grazing the steep downlands. At Fackenden, they are put out over winter and early spring to keep the chalk grassland sward in check and perhaps halt the spread of tor-grass which occurs in distinctive, light brown patches. The short turf, a dull grey green unlike the bright green rye-grass sheep pastures below, is largely intact save for some well-worn paths that suggest these are creatures of habit. The herd is mild-mannered and slow-moving, always appearing to be heading in the same direction as they graze the down; a pair of magpies follows one to rummage for disturbed invertebrates.

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