Martin Mere has a herd of traditional Long Horn cattle as they are ideal for grazing on wetlands and have been nicknamed ‘wetland lawnmowers’. Their hoof marks leave perfect hollows in the ground for birds such as lapwings and redshank to nest in and they graze by leaving tuffs of grass which double up as shelter and safety for the chicks, especially when birds of prey are hovering above. Additionally, the manure attracts a variety of insects and worms that the chicks will feed on when they are born.
Centre Manager, Andy Wooldridge, said: “Cattle are very important in the way we manage and maintain the reserve and it has been another excellent breeding season for the Centre. It is great that visitors can learn about how we manage the reserve by watching the cattle graze from the hides, and the calves are always popular to view”.
Management of the Martin Mere reserve is supported by Natural England under an Environmental Stewardship Scheme as part of the Rural Development Programme for England. Other reserve management techniques such as haymaking and seasonal water control have meant that Martin Mere is a best practice reserve in the country, recently being awarded high level countryside stewardship because of the way we encourage the number of BAP species which use our 550 acres of reserve.