Saturday, 24 December 2016

Cattle Drive Home For Christmas

After spending the last three months on Holy Island, the cows have now gone back to their farm  near Lowick on the mainland.  They have been extensively grazing a large area of the NNR on the island as part of our management of the dune grasslands.  This is not a new management technique for the reserve but the scale of grazing work has been increased this winter with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership project. 

The cows reduce the amount of rank grasses, create a mosaic of different length vegetation, as well as nibbling at the invasive Pirri-pirri bur.   The grazing regime on the NNR benefits key dune specialist plant species, such as the endemic Lindisfarne helleborine (Epipactis sancta), and will reduce the impact of non-native invasive species like Pirri-pirri bur and Michaelmas daisy.
Rounding up the cattle from the Reserve

The tricky bit - getting them in the pen ready for loading!

All in safe and sound - time to say bye and a final scratch behind the ears for Charlie the cow.

It was a team effort from the NNR staff, volunteers and farmers to round up all of the cows from the Reserve and load them onto the trailer – with some festive mince pies to keep us going between trailer loads.


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