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

Cattle on Ronkswood Meadow

A 15-strong herd of hand-reared cross-bred cattle are about to be 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 wildflowers.

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.

Neil Jones, Conservation Officer at Worcester City Council, said: "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, as well as producing other positive spin-offs such as an increase in butterflies and improvements to the natural soil environment.

The City Council has 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 when cattle are nearby.

Neil 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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