| Leigh Woods cattle grazing
If you been to Leigh Woods recently you may have come across a small group of cattle. What are they doing there?
These new recruits are helping the National Trust manage part of the National Nature Reserve. Low intensity grazing by the cattle will
• maintain open areas such as the Iron Age hill fort Stokeleigh Camp and the Plain,
• benefit the limestone grassland and create a mix of short and taller vegetation,
• help the veteran pollards.
This project is a partnership between the Trust, Natural England and Jim Twine a local organic farmer. Jim has supplied six Red Devon cattle and looks after them. The docile nature of this traditional bred and their ability to thrive on poorer grazing make them ideal. They will be here from May to the end October/ early November and return to Jim’s farm over the winter.
The cattle are in an area that was historical wood pasture south of the Parish Wall. A single large enclosure of 30ha was created by linking existing boundaries like the wall with new stock fences. The cattle are free within this area. The gazed area is less than half the area the National Trust manages.
What will it mean for visitors? No significant change, the fencing is purely to keep the cattle in, not to keep visitors out. There are 12 access points around the perimeter, so access is still easy. Dogs can still be walked off their leads; we just ask that they are under close control.
The cattle are all female with no calves or a bull. We hope that the cattle will provide added interest when you visit the woods. To help you find them the older cow, Lilly, has a bell. Please let us know what your experience is, did you see the cattle? If you like to find out more please join the walk I am leading for Leigh Woods Society members in the spring.
If you have any questions before then do please ask the wardens if you see them on site or you can contact me directly either by phone 0117 973 1645 or e-mail email@example.com.
Bill Morris, Head Warden, National Trust