Conservation Grazing Project 

As part of the Landscape Partnership Scheme, the aim of this project is to introduce and sustain grazing at a selection of sites to boost their biodiversity value and to promote the importance of conservation grazing to the public. The grazing sides that have been selected are Denham Country Park, Staines Moor and Stockers Lake. As part of this project we are looking for local residents to help, conserve, survey (e.g. butterflies, bats, wildflowers) and champion your local meadows. People that walk regularly at Denham Country Park or Staines Moor can also help by keeping an eye out on the cattle restoring the meadows.

The Cattle’s have arrived at Stocker’s Lake

The Dexter cattle were reintroduced to Stocker’s Lake meadows in June 2019 after an absence of many decades. Lonneke Klein-Aarts, Grazing officer, reported: “It was a delight to see the first three being released from the corral into the meadow. Shy for a second, they were soon quickly enjoying their new-found freedom, jumping and running around in excitement. When the second batch was released, the herd reunited in the middle of the field, touching noses in greeting. This was a moving moment for everyone watching them. They ran once around the field before turning to face the public to moo a loud ‘thank you’”.

The return of our meadow flowers

The cattle’s grazing will restore the meadow, forcing back the coarse and dominant grasses and allowing more invertebrates and lower growing plant species to thrive. Stockers Lake was the first of three meadows in the Colne Valley where cattle where introduced as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project. If you want to get involved in helping to return wildflower meadows to the Colne Valley, contact us for volunteering opportunities in your local area.

Contact details: Adam Bolton, Habitats & Access Officer, adam.bolton@groundwork.org.uk

Cattle introduction at Misbourne Meadow, Denham Country Park

At the beginning of July 2019 the conservation grazers arrived in Denham. A local breed, called Sussex. The cattle were very pleased to be released in this beautiful meadow. They followed the ‘Matriarch’ of the herd showing the rest what can be eaten on a site. Besides the abundant grasses they have tackled a lot of the vegetation we want them to tackle; stinging nettles, cleavers and encroaching scrub. Look in the corner closest to the river Misbourne and the canal next time you are around and spot the difference.

Cattle introduction at Stanwell Moor

The hidden jewel of Staines is Staines Moor SSSI. SSSI stands for ‘site of special scientific interest’ and is a designation awarded to sites that have features or species that are rare in the UK and/or under threat. Natural England, a body created by the government, grants SSSI status and gives permission for future works to occur on such sites. Traditionally grazed, the north-east corner of Staines Moor has been left untouched for many years. Being a bit more ‘wild’ the site attracted wildlife but also a lot of antisocial behaviour and developed the nickname ‘burnt car field’. These cars have been removed, the site has been fenced and grazing cattle have been introduced. The site still holds interesting plants and wildlife but the willow, hawthorn, coarse grasses and invasive species (like Himalayan Balsam) have taken over in the last few years. Cattle have started to take back control and chew away some of these problem species.