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Many people do not know that Scottish highlanders graze on Texel. And yet they are there! In two areas they walk in herds in the wild.
Together with the Exmoor ponies, Scottish Highland cattle arrived on Texel in 1994. These wild cattle and horses are the living lawn mowers of Staatsbosbeheer, the Dutch government organization for forestry and the management of nature reserves. Scottish Highland cattle like to eat fast-growing plants and shrubs, thereby ensuring against the incursion of such vegetation. Without these animals, this area would graduallyturn into woodland.
Permanent herds live in the dunes of Den Hoorn and nearby De Koog. At Den Hoorn, the Highland cattle can be seen in De Geul or in De Bollekamer. These two areas at Den Hoorn are separated by a road, and the animals are regularly moved between these pastures. One day you may see them in De Geul, then a few weeks later in De Bollekamer.
Near De Koog the Highlanders graze along the Ploeglanderweg, on a plain in the De Dennen woods. This area is accessible, even by car. You may even see a wild cow crossing the road as you approach.
The Scottish Highland cattle live in areas that are frequented by walkers. They are not scared of people and stay where they are when you pass them. The Highlander calves suckle with their mothers and the herd does not receive additional feed. They live off the vegetation and water in the area. The Highlanders are therefore truly wild! In the summer you can often see them cooling themselves of in the small dune lakes.
Despite the fact that these cows are used to walkers, the advice is to keep your distance. On your walk, please observe a safe distance of at least 30 metres. Should you feel an animal approaches you uncomfortably close by, you can clap your hands to scare them off.