Cows helping us with conservation

Arnside Knott Highland Cattle

If you’re out on our sites and spot some cows, don’t be alarmed. They’re helping us with our conservation work.

By eating the longer grass, cows help to create space for the less competitive, sensitive plants and allow them to flourish – so plants such as orchids can thrive.

Letting cows graze in different areas can mimic a more natural way of grassland management, providing different heights of grassland swards which can attract all kinds of insects and wildlife and can also prevent scrub such as bramble taking over a whole site.

Cattle grazing
Cattle grazing scrub
Cattle grazing

This 'conservation grazing' uses traditional breeds of cows such as Belted Galloways and Shetland cattle because they’re happy to eat some tougher, thornier plants and can survive quite happily on some of our wilder sites.

Managing grassland in such a natural way is good for both the cows and the sites and is a real science. Rangers work closely with tenant farmers to plan how many cattle are going to graze each site at any one time to vary the intensity of grazing and allow flowers to set seed.

Each breed of cattle has a different sort of temperament and our tenant farmers carefully plan which animals they are going to choose to graze sites with lots of public access. These cattle are always mild mannered and are happy to stand and graze despite groups of people walking past on footpaths.

You're likely to see cattle at a few of our sites across Arnside and Silverdale throughout the year. Sites where we graze are; Arnside Knott, Heathwaite, Jack Scout, Eaves Wood (King William's Hill) and Sharp's and Clark's Lots.

Remember to keep dogs on a lead around cattle. If you are approached by cattle with your dog then let go of the lead and call your dog back when safe to do so.