Why are cows at Downhill Demesne…

Visitors and local walkers will have noticed our attractive black cattle grazing on the Demesne. These young cattle are Aberdeen Angus breed. A well mannered farm animal, and hardy to the Irish weather.

Conservation Grazing in action…

These cattle are a tried and tested method for conservation grazing of species rich meadow grassland.  The National Trust have introduced similar grazing cattle at other north coast sites, including White Park Bay and Portstewart Strand, with stunning results.  By reducing the sward height of rank grasses and light trampling the cattle help with disturbing the seed bank, thus allowing germination sites for wild flowers.  This is in turn allows butterflies, moths and bees to feed on nectar sources.

 

Orchid rich habitat…

It is hoped within a short period of time to enhance the meadow grasslands at Downhill, with an orchid rich habitat.  And this can only be achieved successfully by allowing the cattle to enjoy an autumn break at Downhill.  We plan to graze the site with a maximum of x30 black angus cattle, and all to be controlled within small, electrified grazing paddocks.  The electric charge is low voltage, and simply acts as a warning to the cattle not to leave their temporary paddock.  And also for the public not to enter.

 

Future grazing plans & temporary path closures

Throughout the autumn / early winter, walkers will be asked to observe the dog walking rules, and be understanding to The Trust’s conservation grazing project.  It is planned for the cattle to be on site to end of December (subject to their woolly coats) and state of the ground conditions.  With sheep to then be introduced period January and February, then come 1st March, the Demesne’s grassland meadows are left to grow…leading to the annual hay cut come mid-July.  Hence the management cycle continues.

 

Public feedback…

We welcome feedback on the cattle grazing, and includes National Trust Downhill Facebook, Al’s Coffee, Hezlett House Office.  Also includes public support in terms of seeing any injury to animals or damage to fencing – please contact us.

 

Happy walking and grazing!