Highland cattle help nature the old fashioned way

Highland cattle are being used to trim the vegetation on the nesting grounds of lapwing in a traditional way at Arundel Wetland Centre this summer.

Four highland heifers will graze the “wet grassland”, knocking back the vegetation more sustainably than using machinery. Their dung attracts beetles and worms, providing rich feeding grounds for nesting lapwing in springtime.

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Two of our moo-ving mowers. WWT photo

The four Highland heifers arrived on Aug 2nd and will stay two months. This land the cattle are grazing, next to the Arun River, was traditionally grazing marsh. To create grazing marsh Medieval farmers walled off the rivers to create grazing land for sheep and cattle. The grazing marshes also attracted wild geese in winter and breeding waders like lapwing and redshank in spring.

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A lapwing on a nest in spring on the wet grassland at Arundel.

Reserve Manager Suzi Lanaway said, “These lovely Highland girls will help keep vegetation in check in the summer months. Birds and wildlife aren’t bothered by the livestock -in fact the cattle egrets will enjoy the flies the heifers attract.”

Look out for the Highland cattle from the Ramsar Wildlife hide and the Lapwing Wildlife hide at Arundel Wetland Centre, open seven days a week from 10 am – 4.30 pm. Search WWT Arundel for more information.

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