Grazing at Boswednack

Cattle grazing at Boswednack

Boswednack is in the north of West Penwith, near to Gurnard's Head. It is part of the World Heritage Site, Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This area includes grassland fields, mire habitat and cliff land but there is the potential for heather and maritime grassland.

Much of this special place is looked after by our tenant farmers, who have a herd of dairy cows grazing the fields that supply milk to their dairy at Treen Farm. 

The mire, with dense purple moor grass tussocks and impenetrable willow scrub, is grazed infrequently when it isn’t too wet. 

Outside of the tenancy lies the cliffland which is dominated by bracken and is considered by Natural England to be in an unfavourable condition.

The plan

To make a real improvement to the cliff land priority habitat, we will sprayed the bracken with asulux in September 2017, with further resprays planned in 2018 and 2019. This will significantly reduce the amount of bracken cover and open up the area for grazing. 

A grazier will be contracted to manage pony grazing in 2018, with electric fencing and a water bowser, so that we can then control the vegetation in targeted areas. This will be ten percent of the land holding at any one time, to create the right conditions for heather and maritime grassland to flourish.  Our longer term aim is to submit a Countryside Stewardship funding application for this site and then extend this grazing management regime to Gurnards Head and Zennor Head. 

With regard to the mire, we have begun some management work in the winter 2017, initially clearing pathways to allow access for grazing cattle and enabling us to assess our future management.