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A “moo”st welcome return!
Barossa, a large area of heathland in Camberley and an active military training area for troops at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, is set to see the return of a vital heathland management tool in September 2012. Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) introduced ten of its placid Belted Galloway cattle to graze the reserve for a month last year and cows will return on Monday 10th September 2012 - to munch the reserve to even better health - until Friday 12th October 2012. Visitors are encouraged and will continue to be able to enjoy Barossa.
The cows’ job is to graze the dominant vegetation, predominantly purple moor grass but also scrub such as silver birch saplings, which out-competes the heather and more delicate heathland plants including sundews, orchids and marsh gentian, reducing the habitat’s valuable biodiversity. Grazing helps control the dominant plants and increases the opportunity for the rarer plants - and associated heathland wildlife - to become established.
Mrs McDade, a local resident, says: “I have two small girls whom, even after all these months of absence, still talk about the cows! We always discussed how they helped the wildlife and were starting to see signs of the grazing just before they were taken off. We hope they will be back very soon - it was lovely standing on top of Saddleback Ridge and seeing these beautiful Belted Galloways”.
There is full support for grazing at Barossa by partner organisations including the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Heathland Conservation Society and Natural England. But not everyone likes, or feels at ease with cattle and last year there were reports of cows being abused by youths and walkers feeling threatened, which caused them to be removed from site to safety. So, SWT is working with local schools and youth groups to help children in the surrounding area develop a healthy care and respect for the animals, as well as the heathland habitat as a whole. The Trust is also holding a number of ‘meet the cattle’ days where people are invited to bring along their horse and/or dog to introduce them to the cows, contained by livestock hurdles, and gain information on how to behave around cattle and even get involved checking them; the dates are:
Tuesday 24th July, 6:00pm - 8:00pm at the northern base of Saddleback Hill;
Saturday 4th August, 12:00pm - 2:00pm at the northern base of Saddleback Hill;
Wednesday 22nd August, 6:00pm - 8:00pm at the northern base of Saddleback Hill;
Sunday 9th September, 12:00pm - 2:00pm at Kings Ride, Barossa.
For more information or to book your place, please contact SWT ranger, James Herd, on tel 07891 850882 or email email@example.com.
|Date published:||Monday 02 July 2012|