Cattle help council naturally maintain grassland

Press ReleaseUpdated: 12 June 2024Environment and Climate Emergency

A herd of cattle has returned to Leavesden Country Park as part of an ongoing effort to utilise grazing to naturally maintain grassland and boost biodiversity.

The herd of Red Devon Cattle arrived over the weekend at the Horses’ Fields, between Furtherfield Road and Langley Lane, where they will help sustain a diverse grassland habitat through their natural activity - benefitting a wide variety of plants, animals, and birds under a plan known as conservation grazing.

The 20 strong herd is a British heritage breed from Devon and are known for their docile, good nature. They have been helping Three Rivers District Council with its grassland management for the past three years.

As a native breed the Red Devons are hardy and tolerant to a range of conditions, they are known to be very good mothers and generally have fewer health issues than non-native cattle breeds.

Emma Sheridan, the council’s Associate Director Customer & Community, said: “The cattle are here to help manage the grasslands and eat their way through the fields. The cattle are not selective grazers like sheep can be and with their large mouths use their tongues to wrap the grass around and then pull it out. This type of grazing is beneficial to grasslands as it creates variety, with some bits left long and others removed altogether, this creates a varied sward and giving wildflowers the opportunity to set down seed.

“It is also just great to see them back in this location, and they seem to love it too!”

Dog walkers are still welcome to use the footpaths across the Horses’ Fields, but all visitors are encouraged to abide by the Countryside Code. To protect dogs, the cattle and ground nesting birds, dog walkers are reminded to keep their pets on a lead when entering the enclosed area during the summer months. There is also a cattle free route around the edge of the field.