Monday, 6 September 2010

Kynance - beautiful beach, iconic coastline - now with added cows!

Anyone who knows Kynance, will be familiar with the wonderful coastal scenery, sandy coves and turquoise water, but now you may spot something new when you visit, a herd of Ruby Red Cattle grazing the cliffs for the benefit of wildlife. The cattle belong to Roland Hill of Pendorian Farm, Lizard and they are the first livestock to graze Kynance Cliff and Lizard Downs in many decades.

It’s brilliant to see the cattle out on the cliffs, knowing that their grazing will bring great benefits for wildlife. It has been a bold step to reintroduce grazing here, and it has taken five years of planning and liaison with our neighbours and the local community. 3km of new fencing has been erected, but you would hardly know as it has been carefully hidden out of sight so as not to compromise the open views. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive, and the placid cattle are proving a real hit

                The cattle, through their grazing and trampling, will be of huge value in managing the cliffs and heath for nature. By keeping in check coarse grasses and scrub the cattle will allow the smaller rare plant species, such as land quillwort, spring sandwort and wild chives to thrive, and the short grazed turf and dung provide perfect feeding habitat for the choughs which have nested nearby for nearly a decade. This additional grazing has given Roland Hill our grazier the opportunity to establish a pure herd of Ruby Red cattle, a native traditional breed from Devon which will thrive on the Downs. He intends to sell their meat locally through butcher’s shops, and their varied diet will mean the meat will be of the highest quality.

The project has been a partnership between The National Trust, Natural England, and the grazier Roland Hill, with works such as fencing, cattle grids and water supply funded by the HEATH project.

Thanks to our Artist in Residence Olivia Dale for the lovely photos.


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