History

The Wild Cattle of Chillingham are said to be the only survivors of the wild herds which once roamed Britain’s forests.

Today, they live in the beautiful enclosed Park here at Chillingham, close to the historic fortresses at Alnwick and Bamburgh, less than 10 miles from the dramatic coast and beautiful beaches of Northumberland.

Chillingham has been their home for at least 800 years.

In 1344 the King of England gave permission for Chillingham Castle to be ‘castellated and crenellated’ and also for a Deer Park to be enclosed. It may well have been then that the herd was corralled for purposes of food and hunting.

Within Chillingham Park there are traces of Romano-British occupation and late medieval ploughing and ancient boundaries. Eighteenth century carriageways traverse the Park, crossing the small streams via ornate stone bridges. The only slightly modern structure within the Park is the remains of an old sawbench, used by the Canadian “Sawdust Fusiliers” during WWI.

Ornamental woodlands date from the late 1700s, and there are many very old alder trees, perhaps 500 or 600 years old, along the streams and watercourses. Further planting was carried out in the latter part of the 19th century and some woods have been replanted in the last 30 years. In 2022, 70 broadleaved trees were planted in metal parkland tree guards to commemorate the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Wild Cattle were in the care of the family of the Earls of Tankerville for their entire recorded history up to 1971, when Lord Tankerville bequeathed them to the Chillingham Wild Cattle Association (formed in 1939). His son, the 9th Earl, died in 1980 and the remainder of the Chillingham Estate was sold. After the intervention of the 10th Duke of Northumberland, the Park and its surrounding woodlands were acquired by the Sir James Knott Trust. A generation later, the Sir James Knott Trust was kind enough to give the CWCA the opportunity to buy the Park.

With generous support from a variety of Charitable trusts and private donors, many based in the locality, CWCA was able to purchase the Park in 2005, thus reuniting the Chillingham Wild Cattle and their habitat under the same ownership.

The Wild Cattle of Chillingham are said to be the only survivors of the wild herds which once roamed Britain’s forests.

Today, they live in the beautiful enclosed Park here at Chillingham, close to the historic fortresses at Alnwick and Bamburgh, less than 10 miles from the dramatic coast and beautiful beaches of Northumberland.

Chillingham has been their home for at least 800 years.

In 1344 the King of England gave permission for Chillingham Castle to be ‘castellated and crenellated’ and also for a Deer Park to be enclosed. It may well have been then that the herd was corralled for purposes of food and hunting.

Within Chillingham Park there are traces of Romano-British occupation and late medieval ploughing and ancient boundaries. Eighteenth century carriageways traverse the Park, crossing the small streams via ornate stone bridges. The only slightly modern structure within the Park is the remains of an old sawbench, used by the Canadian “Sawdust Fusiliers” during WWI.

Ornamental woodlands date from the late 1700s, and there are many very old alder trees, perhaps 500 or 600 years old, along the streams and watercourses. Further planting was carried out in the latter part of the 19th century and some woods have been replanted in the last 30 years. In 2022, 70 broadleaved trees were planted in metal parkland tree guards to commemorate the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Wild Cattle were in the care of the family of the Earls of Tankerville for their entire recorded history up to 1971, when Lord Tankerville bequeathed them to the Chillingham Wild Cattle Association (formed in 1939). His son, the 9th Earl, died in 1980 and the remainder of the Chillingham Estate was sold. After the intervention of the 10th Duke of Northumberland, the Park and its surrounding woodlands were acquired by the Sir James Knott Trust. A generation later, the Sir James Knott Trust was kind enough to give the CWCA the opportunity to buy the Park.

With generous support from a variety of Charitable trusts and private donors, many based in the locality, CWCA was able to purchase the Park in 2005, thus reuniting the Chillingham Wild Cattle and their habitat under the same ownership.