CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Adam Henson: Local legends

PUBLISHED: 11:23 18 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:55 20 February 2013

Adam Henson: Local legends

Adam Henson: Local legends

'The ingenuity and spirit of Cotswold folk never ceases to amaze and inspire me'

Adam Henson: Local legends

The ingenuity and spirit of Cotswold folk never ceases to amaze and inspire me

My weekly excursions for Countryfile have taken me all over the United Kingdom and beyond but some of the most memorable moments have been on my own doorstep, here in the Cotswolds. The ingenuity and spirit of country folk in our beautiful corner of England never ceases to amaze and inspire me.

So in this occasional series, Im celebrating some of the Cotswolders Ive featured on TV over the last few years. People like Pat Quinn from Naunton who I think Ive known all my life. Pat is something of a local legend when it comes to British rare breeds. Shes kept Cotswold sheep since the mid-1970s and obviously has a soft spot for these docile animals with their long, lustrous wool and tumbling locks. While the numbers of the county breed are healthy now, it wasnt always the case. Until recently it was almost impossible to sell rare breeds meat and no one was interested in eating Cotswold lamb or mutton.

At the same time, cheap and mass produced synthetic fibres threatened to end for ever the ancient skill of spinning a natural fleece. But thats beginning to change and the renewed interest in the so-called Cotswold lion is largely thanks to the hard work of enthusiasts like Pat and her friends in the Cotswold Sheep Society. Now in her 80s, Pat is as determined as ever to ensure that the breed has a future in modern farming. To press the point home she continues to be a familiar figure on the Society stand at events like the Three Counties Show and the annual rare breeds auction at Cirencester Livestock Market.

However, her appearance on Countryfile had nothing to do with Cotswold Sheep. We were concerned with another, much larger native breed. Pat has bred Longhorn cattle for more than 30 years after first being introduced to them by my dad, Joe. I went to school in Cheltenham with Pats son, Michael, and as our parents waited for us at the school gates one day they began chatting about the Farm Park and British rare breeds.

As soon as Pat mentioned that she was interested in keeping some livestock, Dads ears pricked up. Before too long hed taken her to a cattle auction. She returned home as the proud owner of her own small herd of Longhorns. They are large, magnificent animals which live up to their name with long, curved horns often covering their face.

Theyre easily recognised, even from a distance, by their brown and white colouring and they have a white patch along their backs and under their bellies. The animals produce succulent, marbled meat which is tender and full of flavour. They make great sausages and tasty burgers which are proving popular in restaurants and good quality pubs. In fact Longhorn beef is now widely available at butchers and specialist shops nationwide, from the mountains of Morayshire in Scotland all the way down to the Vale of Taunton in Somerset.

Its easy to see why Pat is so keen on the breed but there was a sense of sadness on the day I visited her farm. Id recently lost one of my pair of working oxen to TB and had been compelled to let the remaining one go for beef. So I was partly on the lookout for replacements from Pats herd but principally I was there to give her some moral support as her Longhorns underwent their regular TB test.

Pat showed no fear in front of the cameras as she calmly described the stress of watching the vet at work and the grief at losing some of her prized animals in previous tests. It was an agonising wait and thankfully Pats herd eventually got the all clear. But her frank, no-nonsense attitude made compelling and memorable viewing. Even now, long after the programme was shown, people still want to talk to me about this formidable farmer and her love for Longhorns.

Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 5UG

Tel: 01451 850307; Fax: 01451 850423



More from People

Tue, 15:01

Harnessing the power of social media, charity awards and dreaming up new projects - it’s all in a day’s work for Gloucestershire children’s charity Pied Piper and its corporate supporters

Read more
Tue, 12:27

The Cotswolds’ very own Prince of Wales turns 70 this month, so we looked back on some of the highlights of his life and career, and wondered what birthday pressies we would buy for the man who has the world at his feet

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

When landowners are looking to sell their land, and want a transparent journey that delivers them best value, Rosconn Strategic Land is here to take them through the process.

Read more

Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini has secured a payout from prosecutors over unfounded allegations of historical sex offences. The presenter, 69, was arrested in 2013 over a claim he sexually assaulted two teenage boys in the early 1980s. Mr Gambaccini always denied the claims, calling the case “completely fictitious”. He spent a year on bail before the case was dropped. Two years later he gave this interview to Katie Jarvis

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Barn Theatre’s artistic director, Iwan Lewis, talks to Candia McKormack about a rather special project aimed at bringing the Cotswold community together in commemoration of the Great War’s fallen

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The environmental charity set up to protect Stroud’s industrial heritage now enhances the lives of its own volunteers. Katie Jarvis meets chief executive Clare Mahdiyone to hear about her Cotswold Life

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Alex Caccia was in two minds about setting up Animal Dynamics as a limited company, but a shark attack warning changed all of that. Tanya Gledhill meets a man on a mission to change propulsion, one animal at a time

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

He quit his job with a few thousand pounds in savings and an empty garage. In less than a year, Nick Grey’s technology company Gtech was flying. Tanya Gledhill meets him

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

How does it feel to interview Sir Michael Parkinson, the nation’s best-ever interviewer? Katie Jarvis takes a very deep breath – and finds out

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

When Charles Martell became the latest High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, he started discovering things about the county he never knew – not to mention things about himself, too. Katie Jarvis spoke to him about saw pits, walnuts, peaceable towns and pink-headed ducks

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A cast-iron work ethic drove Marcus Gomery from a car wash kid to Managing Director of one of Gloucestershire’s leading financial planning companies. Tanya Gledhill meets him

Read more
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Katie Jarvis talks Marmite sandwiches and poison dart frogs - but definitely no cider - with Reggie Heyworth, who runs the Cotswold Wildlife Park

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Exceptional design and incredible vision are the hallmarks of coombes:everitt architects. John Everitt tells Tanya Gledhill how the practice is building on its success

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search