Pettistree People Omnibus

Pettistree People is the Village Newsletter, which is published once a quarter. Visitors to the Pettistree website can find most of the back issues of Pettistree People in pdf format on the Back Issues page.

On this page it is intended to make available an omnibus version of Pettistree People over the years. At the time this website was launched in April 2005 the omnibus was not ready for publication. If you are interested in reading the omnibus then please come back soon.

By way of a taster of what the omnibus will include here is an article about Dick Smith and his Red Poll cattle.

Dick Smith - The Pettistree Red Poll Herd

Photo of Pettistree Red Poll cows.We have kept Red Polls at Church Farm since January 1980, so this year is a significant milestone in the history of the Pettistree herd. Pedigree cattle carry a prefix, and as no previous herd had registered under the Pettistree name, it was an obvious choice.

Rita and I moved into Church Farm in September 1978, and immediately bought some calves to rear, to be available to graze the overgrown field the following summer. These calves were bought from local farms, which were still at that time in dairy production. I had always wanted to start a herd of Red Polls but there were no local herds with animals for sale. However, Philip Ryder-Davies, secretary to the Red Poll Society at the time, told us of a herd in Lakenheath, and on January 20th. 1980 we drove there in our Cortina Estate and brought a week-old Red Poll heifer back, tied up in a sack in the boot. Pippin was her name and she became our foundation cow; all the cattle seen here have originated from her.

We have remained a closed herd, not using a bull, but relying totally on AI, predominately through the skill of our local inseminator, Andy Reeve.

By the early 90's the small herd of 7 cows and followers were virtually all Red Polls, apart from an old favourite, Ann Giles, an Angus X Guernsey, who lived to be over 18 years old, dying in 1997. She was the cow that we waited patiently to produce a cowpat for charity!

Over the years I have become a big Red Poll fan, and have been really pleased to see the breed's progress. The breed may never return to the numbers present in the pre-war years, but there is a definite resurgence, particularly in the Eastern Counties. I can think of no better sight than a herd of these lovely dark red cattle in their summer coats grazing in a traditional Suffolk meadow. Long may they survive.