Cattle grazing for conservation at the Clent Hills

Longhorn cattle at Clumber Park

We have introduced cattle grazing at Walton Hill, as a traditional way of managing and conserving the landscape. Traditionally, commoners or graziers would have grazed their livestock across the Clent Hills, so the National Trust has worked with a local grazier to reintroduce cattle to Walton Hill. Low intensity grazing, as well as being a traditional method, is widely used as a conservation technique that helps us to maintain the open grassland of the park – a crucial wildlife habitat for a range of invertebrates including butterflies and crickets.

Lowland acid grassland heath is becoming an increasingly rare habitat nationally and we wish to look after this precious space for the benefit of both people and wildlife. As always with the use of livestock on accessible land we want to provide a balance between the needs of managing the site to maintain its wonderful habitat and landscape value, and those of the thousands of visitors who come to enjoy this special place.

We have installed an invisible fence, which is buried under ground and responds to special collars worn by the cattle. The fence gives them a low level shock as they get close to it, the cattle are all trained in using the system for many weeks before they come on-site. The system has been really effective and it provides a safe barrier without destroying the views or access rights.
Last year the cattle grazed on the hill for several months and made a huge contribution to improving the habitat in a way that machinery never could. They will be grazing on Walton Hill from the end of September until the beginning of December.

There is signage at all entry points to the area, please ensure that you keep dogs on a lead at all times within the area. Dogs sometimes make cattle nervous, if this happens and you are concerned for your safety please drop the lead and walk out of the grazing area.