Grazing cattle could protect priority habitat in Sheffield

Roger Marsh, chair of Owlthorpe community forum has won a regional communityg champion award for work he has done in the area including the use of Highland Cattle to graze the fields
Roger Marsh, chair of Owlthorpe community forum has won a regional communityg champion award for work he has done in the area including the use of Highland Cattle to graze the fields
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HIGHLAND cattle could be introduced to help manage a piece of rare and threatened habitat in Sheffield .

Cows from the Graves Park Animal Farm would be used for conservation grazing at Loxley and Wadsley Common if the results of a survey currently being conducted are favourable.

And to ensure the cows can do their jobs properly dogs will have to be kept under control.

The lowland heath is classed as a priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

It requires continuous management to halt the encroachment of woodland, which is traditionally achieved by grazing and would have been common place on the commons.

Highland cattle are hardy animals particularly suited to rough grazing on lowland heathland.

They will nibble at the young trees preventing them taking over the remaining heathland.

A spokesman for the project said: “In many areas, conservation grazing and site usage by members of the public exist happily but there are a few compromises to be made on either side.”

Similar management schemes using cattle have been tried with great success in other areas of the city.

In Beighton, Highland cows have been used to graze Beighton Orchard for many years.

And last year the ancient woodland was named a Britain in Bloom winner.

The cows have also been regularly used to graze land in Owlthorpe.

If grazing is introduced at Loxley and Wadsley Common, it will mean permanent stock fencing; the site being split into three; control of dogs and the common being accessible to all.