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The manure ‘moo-ral’

Yeo Valley celebrates organic farming and marks its 25th year with 70m cow artwork made from manure
Lake view from Yeo Valley's manure mural

A team of 12 artists has spent a week on a hillside creating a 70 metre wide cow from manure.

Heather Jane Wallace, Rebecca Barnard and 10 other artists used 3,000 buckets of cow poo for their masterpiece. It took them a week to create the artwork on the North Somerset hillside near the village of Blagdon.

‘Nature will have the last laugh’

Yeo Valley, which celebrates its 25th birthday this week, commissioned the giant Friesian artwork to highlight the benefits of organic farming.

‘We made it using the cow muck from the farm to get the message across – that organic farming works with, and not against the natural environment.

‘Organic farming can help tackle climate change because healthy soil has the ability to store the excessive carbon from the atmosphere.

‘The giant cow won’t be here for long. Nature will have the last laugh, as ever. That’s also part of the message. It’s about putting nature first.

‘We’ve been lucky enough to farm this land for 25 years, so it’s a way of marking the occasion.’

Yeo Valley

Painted with brooms

At 70 metres wide and 50 metres high, the giant ‘moo-ral’ compares with other well-known Westcountry works of art including the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset (55 metres high) and the Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire (55 metres high and 52 metres wide).

‘It was very exhausting carrying the poo up the steep hill. We used great big household brooms to paint it into the grass.

‘It was a challenge getting the scale right – from a distance we quickly realised that you can only make out great big shapes and not details like eyelashes.’

Heritage Courtyard Gallery and Studios

Organic farming

Heather Jane Wallace, who runs Heritage Courtyard Gallery and Studios in Wells, Somerset alongside Rebecca Barnard, said: ‘I’m a Somerset girl. My brother, nephew and grandfather are farmers so I really understand the message. When I grew up, farming was naturally organic.’

‘I remember when farmers were encouraged to spray their crops after the war to produce more and more food at lower prices’, Heather continued. ‘The result of this was the decline and disappearance of the countryside and wildlife. Organic farming is so important for wildlife, healthy soil and tackling climate change.’

Click here to read our article about Yeo Valley Café in London.

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