A small herd of rare breed cattle has been introduced to Bricket Wood Common by St Albans City and District Council to help improve the natural habitat.
The four cattle will be kept in an enclosure on the Common where their grazing will help restore 12 hectares of rare heathland.
Their grazing will produce the right conditions for the spread of heathland vegetation planted by volunteers. It will also help prevent the growth of young trees that threaten to take over the area.
The cattle are timid, used to people and will be checked every day during their time on the common which ends in early November. They are English Longhorns: a traditional and rare breed adapted to rough grazing.
You can find out more about the cattle and the project at a ‘Meet the Cows’ event on Sunday, 23 September at School Lane, Bricket Wood. The event will take place near the bridleway entrance to the common, opposite the track to Munden House, from 12pm to 4pm.
Cllr Chichester-Miles, Environment Portfolio Holder for St Albans City and District Council, said: “This is a protected habitat typified by heather and gorse as well as associated rare flowers, grasses and insects that help attract wildlife. This long-term project to restore a precious remnant of natural Hertfordshire heathland aims to be as sustainable as possible using natural processes, rather than machinery or chemicals. For hundreds of years, grazing has helped maintain this open habitat. The Council is therefore using the same traditional methods to help restore the heathland.”
Signs have been put in place at the entrances to the enclosure to inform people that cattle are on site. There are plenty of kissing gates, bridle gates and squeezes in the fence so that walkers and riders can use the paths through the enclosure. Dog walkers are asked to keep their animals under close control inside the fenced area.
Councillor John Bell, Chair of the Bricket Wood Common Joint Management Committee, said: “The introduction of cattle on the common is a return to traditional use. This regular grazing will produce a habitat that will encourage many other species of plant, animals and insects to thrive. Hopefully, this will add to Hertfordshire’s rich biodiversity.”
For more information about the ‘Meet the cows’ event, please contact Mark Carter at Countryside Management Service. He can be called on 01462 459395 or contacted by email at email@example.com
Councillor Daniel Chichester-Miles, Environment Portfolio Holder for St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819281
Contact for the media:
Media and Internal Communications Officer
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317
Bricket Wood Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This means it is one of the country’s best wildlife and geological sites. It is managed by St. Albans City and District Council with advice from the Countryside Management Service. The restoration project is funded by Natural England, a public body advising on nature conservation, and the SITA Trust via the Landfill Communities Fund.
The Council consults the Bricket Wood Common Joint Management Committee about the management of the Common. The Committee is made up of District and Parish Councillors and local residents.