Friday, 14 October 2016

More about our new arrivals

The grazing of up to 50 sheep between now and early January 2017 will assist in the management of dune grassland on the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. The arrival of 30 sheep at the Snook on Holy Island earlier this month is one part of a wider Heritage Lottery Fund project that aims to improve natural habitat and inform its ongoing management.

Stock grazing is not new to Holy Island and, of course, looking after the dune grasslands is a key aspect of the work our work on Lindisfarne NNR. This year however the scale of the project has been increased with support from the HLF-funded Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership project with an extension to the area to be grazed, an increase in the size of the herd and an investment in equipment to contain the animals.
The grazing pattern of stock benefits key species, such as the unique Lindisfarne helleborine, and will reduce the impact of invasive species like the pirri-pirri bur and the Michaelmas daisy. The animals nibble at the sward at different rates creating a mosaic of grasses of differing length which in turn is of great benefit to the range of invertebrates the Reserve is noted for. 

Alex Dodds has been appointed as seasonal warden to help look after the sheep and cattle. Over the next three months Alex will also be undertaking vegetation surveys of the whole dune system. "After spending the summer as a Shorebird Warden monitoring Little terns, I'm excited to be back at Lindisfarne NNR as a winter Seasonal Warden” Alex said. “ My work is focused on livestock and practical habitat management, as well as carrying out extensive invasive and non-native plant survey work on Holy Island.  I’m looking forward to being involved in the wider reserve management throughout the next few months – persevering through the colder weather and carrying out practical habitat work during the winter is what shapes the success of the summer. I’m getting used to working on Holy Island and planning my schedule around the high tides.  I think the coast during winter is often underrated but I’m hoping for a few dramatic stormy days - I'm sure I can cope with a Northumberland winter as well as our livestock out on the Reserve."
The Dune Grassland Management project is run by us and is upported by the Peregrini Lindisfarne project, a HLF Landscape Partnership Project developed to conserve, enhance and celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of Holy Island and the wider shoreside landscape. Senior Reserve Manager Andrew Craggs commented “The extra funding has allowed us to expand our grazing project and commence an audit of non-native species that will help shape future management of the dune grasslands”. Helen Griffiths, Programme Manager for the Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership added “These four-legged arrivals to the Reserve clearly play a special role in maintaining this outstanding dune habitat.

Peregrini will be updating their website about this and the many other projects they are funding

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