Today, after being protected against internal parasites and other ills (a subdermal jab in each shoulder), the Trust's core herd of rare breed British White cattle — our placid bull, Drakkar, and three young cows (with the new calf at foot) — were turned out onto spring grass on Long Meadow, at Simpson's Fromus Reserve. After three months of dry feed, their heads were down at once. We have bought an extended length of electric fencing to keep them on this one meadow, out of the wooded Gorge, and off the historic Mound. Here they will stay for a few weeks, to reduce the lush growth and give light and air to the scattered population of Southern Marsh Orchids, a key floral feature of this meadow.
Southern Marsh Orchid, Fromus Valley, June 2013
These cattle will then move on to Mere Meade — a second herd of young stock will graze separately, on New Close. Many thanks to cattle manager, Philip Baskett, for transporting these lovely creatures, and for his photo of them. Their daily care is now in his capable hands.
This year (2020), we plan to keep the eastern meadows for a late cut of hay, again to benefit the floristic and aesthetic diversity of these ancient pastures. The rich botanical composition of these fields was recorded last year, in three surveys by volunteer Guardians as the Summer season progressed — see our 2019 publication, "Wilding and Well-being".