Have cattle, will travel

A herd of cattle is putting its best hoof forward to help restore nature rich grasslands in North Devon to their former glory. Devon Wildlife Trust now has its very own herd of 12 Welsh Black crosses, which will be chomping their way through the region's

A herd of cattle is putting its best hoof forward to help restore nature rich grasslands in North Devon to their former glory.Devon Wildlife Trust now has its very own herd of 12 Welsh Black crosses, which will be chomping their way through the region's culm grasslands as a means of encouraging rare plants and insects to thrive.The trust will be putting its cattle out to pasture, literally, at sites within its Working Wetlands project area, which includes Knowstone and Witheridge, Hollow Moor and the Torridge and Tamar headwaters.The organic grass trimmers will be a very mobile conservation asset and will be made available to landowners who are seeking summer grazing for sites in need of traditional management."This is a significant breakthrough for us - to have our own cattle we can move around to different sites in most need of management is a big step," said Simon Berry from the trust, who runs the Grazing Links initiative part of the project."Before long without grazing culm grassland reverts to scrub and easily loses its wildlife value. A recent survey showed more than half had experienced significant losses to abandonment. We are now in a position to help farmers who need summer grazing and start to reverse these declines."The Welsh Blacks are currently being looked after by Simon at his own farm near Dolton.Landowners seeking grazing on wildlife-rich culm grasslands within the above areas can contact the Working Wetlands team on (01409) 221823 or email sberry@devonwildlifetrust.org.

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