Cows to Graze on Broad Meadow to help the Habitat

cows grazingSome unusual partners are being drafted in to help look after Tamworth’s ‘jewel in the crown’ Broad Meadow Local Nature Reserve, a herd of cattle!

The 20 or so Hereford and Angus cattle are due to arrive on Broad Meadow on Monday August 22 and will be making the 24-hectare site their home until mid-October.

While they are there, they will be roaming free and grazing the grass – improving the habitat for wildlife and churning up the ground to create better conditions to allow the spread of the rare snake’s head fritillaries, which grow wild there.

The conservation grazing project is an innovative partnership between Broad Meadow owner Tamworth Borough Council and farmer Jim Newton, who owns the cattle, with the support of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust through the Wild About Tamworth project.  It also has the support of Natural England.

The cattle will keep the grass short and manageable, allowing flora to grow and spread, which is a benefit to the environment, while Jim’s cattle will roam free on site.

The cattle will be allowed to graze the site until mid-October, when they will be moved off and returned to their farm before the ground becomes too wet.  They will then return to Broad Meadow next summer.

While the cattle are on Broad Meadow, they will be free to roam as they please across the site, which is very popular with dog walkers.  The Hereford and Angus breeds of cattle have been chosen to live on the meadow because of their docile natures.

Large signs reminding dog walkers to be considerate and responsible by controlling their pets, cleaning up after them, closing gates and not allowing their dogs to approach or worry the cattle are now being put up around the site.

Wild About Tamworth Officer, Shelley Pattison, said, “This is a very exciting project, which will bring huge benefits to the ecology of Broad Meadow.  The cows grazing there will help to keep the grass short, encouraging better growth and spread of snake’s head fritillaries and other species.

“This will in turn improve the habitats for the animals which live and hunt there.  The cows themselves will benefit from free range pasturing – and their presence on Broad Meadow will, I’m sure, be very much appreciated by dog walkers and other visitors to this lovely natural site.”

Cllr Joy Goodall, Cabinet Member for Environment and Culture, said, “This conservation grazing project is a very innovative and forward-thinking way of managing this unique Local Nature Reserve and I am delighted that we are able to support it.”

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