The Greenoak Herd of Pedigree Shetland Cattle was founded in 1996. Situated on the West Sussex/Hampshire border, the local acid sandy soils are among the poorest of Great Britain.

The primary aim in establishing the herd was to provide grazing animals for the management of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s) (see conservation grazing)


The Shetland breed was chosen because of their suitability to prosper on heathland, unimproved ancient meadowland and wood pasture, the “farmland” that existed before the agricultural revolutions of the 18 th and 19 th centuries and which are now some of our most valuable natural habitats for wildlife. As these habitats were created by grazing, they also are best maintained through the same practice. (see Locations)

A secondary aim was to conserve a very endangered indigenous cattle breed and contribute to maintaining genetic biodiversity. (see History)

A third aim was to produce beef from a natural diet of native grasses, herbs, shrubs and trees, in a stress free environment. (see Herd Husbandry)