A cow herd has been awarded a royal accolade after helping to save a precious Buckinghamshire grassland.

The Brill Village Community Herd Ltd and its cows have been awarded the Kings Award for Voluntary Service on November 14 for their conservation efforts, known as the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary groups.

Nine Dexter cows have grazed on the Brill Common, where the volunteers aim to protect and enhance biodiversity of the grassland landscape, which is nationally endangered with only three percent left in the country.

Their conservation grazing helps to restore the ecological balance of the Common, enabling the native flora and fauna like orchids, birds-foot trefoil and ladies bedstraw, lizards and butterflies to return and thrive.

Bucks Free Press: The Brill Village Community Herd VolunteersThe Brill Village Community Herd Volunteers (Image: Roger Stone)

The handsome Dexters were chosen for the task because of their size, hardiness and ability to graze through rough terrain.

The founding board member of the Brill Village Community Herd (BVCH) Pat Stone said: “We are highly honoured and immensely proud to receive this prestigious award, which recognises not only our volunteers’ tireless efforts and unwavering commitment, but also the importance of preserving the natural heritage of Brill Common.

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 “The changes we’ve seen to the habitat and wildlife over the past decade have been incredible to witness and demonstrate how grazing in a considered way can help bring nature back.

Bucks Free Press: A Dexter cow A Dexter cow (Image: Roger Stone)

 “We hope that this award inspires others to engage in similar conservation efforts and appreciate the value of our natural landscapes."

Representatives of BVCH will receive the award crystal and certificate from Countess Howe, Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. Also, two of its volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckinham Palace next summer alongside other Award recipients. 

The BVCH was set in 2011 by more than 300 residents to help manage the conservation grazing project.

Bucks Free Press: The herd consists of nine female Dexter cows, which will stay at the Common for life to foster the 'social' knowledge gained by the elder cowsThe herd consists of nine female Dexter cows, which will stay at the Common for life to foster the 'social' knowledge gained by the elder cows (Image: Roger Stone)

Today, the Dexter cows are owned by 280 residents, of which more than 50 are dedicated volunteers.

The cows are now looked after by a group of ‘lookers’ made of members of the community, who check on the herd, fencing and water supply everyday, and a group of ‘movers’ who dismantle and erect the fencing when new pasture is required and when TB testing is carried out.