Cattle ‘let loose’ as part of natural care plan on meadows

A 10-strong herd of hand-reared cattle has been released on Ronkswood Hill Meadows, as part of an annual conservation exercise by Worcester City Council.  The cattle will be allowed free rein on the local nature reserve site, to help preserve grassland and wild flowers.

The initiative is designed to act as a natural and cost-effective way of keeping the grass short enough to allow the vast array of wildflowers in the area to get sunlight to grow and hopefully thrive.

Mark Worrall, Green Space Team Supervisor at Worcester City Council, said: “This is the fifteenth year in succession we have brought cattle to this city site.  The cattle will graze at this site for around six months to manage the grassland, contributing to protecting the landscape and promoting good conditions.  This also maintains some of the traditional benefits of natural stewardship.”

The meadows are home to a wide range of wildflowers including black knapweed, cowslips and birdsfoot trefoil but if grass grows too high these flowers will not flourish. 

The cattle will therefore play a pivotal role in boosting the flora and fauna as well as producing other positive spin-offs such as an increase in butterflies and improvements to the natural soil environment.

The city council will put up signs on Newtown Road and Tolladine Road to warn walkers and dog-owners to take a little extra care and keep dogs on leads or under close control when cattle are nearby.

Mark said: “The sudden re-appearance of cattle may take a few people by surprise but the animals will be too busy chewing the cud to take notice of any passers-by.”

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