Helping hooves for rare habitat

ONE solution has been found to help with three rural problems in North Devon. A struggling habitat, a breed of cattle and a landowner are all being helped thanks to a new scheme run by a wildlife charity. Devon Wildlife Trust s Working Wetlands project h

ONE solution has been found to help with three rural problems in North Devon.

A struggling habitat, a breed of cattle and a landowner are all being helped thanks to a new scheme run by a wildlife charity.

Devon Wildlife Trust's Working Wetlands project has purchased a herd of endangered White Park cattle and taken them to Headon Farm in North Devon to give landowner Robert Wright with some helping hooves to manage his area of Culm grassland for the scarce wildlife that it supports.

The project is the brainchild of DWT's Simon Berry, who is setting up similar grazing schemes across the Culm Measures.


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Mr Berry said: "This is the first time our new White Park cattle have been put out to work, providing a much needed boost to our conservation efforts. It's essential to see these areas of rare, wildlife-rich grassland grazed. Without management of this kind, Culm grasslands can become neglected, leaving scrub to take over. Landowners don't usually have the hardy breeds of cattle able to thrive on this type of difficult ground. This is where our new scheme is beneficial!"

Working Wetlands has not just provided cattle. Mr Wright was also supported in an application to the Natural England administered Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.

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Mr Wright said: "The introduction of native cattle and other measures, such as less frequent hedge cutting, has helped to maintain the farm as it has been for centuries and already there has been a noticeable increase in the wildlife observed."

For more information about Working Wetlands and how the team can help ring 01409 221823.

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