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News from Orchid Glade

On May 2nd the reserve was visited to see how the cattle were getting on.  The new fence is installed, separating the wooded perimeter of the reserve (18 m wide) from the core area which is targeted to become open, flower rich pasture with a rich scattering of native trees. The cleared fence-line gives the visitor a pleasant route to walk round the reserve.

Deer can access the perimeter wood at Orchid Glade, and both muntjac and fallow are visitors. They keep the undergrowth comparatively clear. The open woodland belt  contrasts with the deer-exclusion area (seen in the image below) where there is thick undergrowth.

cattle-proof-fence

As a trial, over the May Bank holiday, the herd of British White cattle, resident at White House Farm, Hasketon and managed by Sinfield Nature Conservation Trust (but jointly owned by Suffolk Flora Preservation Trust), were put into Orchid Glade, in the hope that they would browse the succulent new shoots of alder and ash (in particular) that are springing up so vigorously from in the areas cleared by volunteers last year.

rare-breed-british-white-cattle-orchid-glade

Unfortunately, the British White cattle were only interested in grazing the grassy areas, where the sward is already tightly controlled by rabbits. They ignored the new shoots of alder and ash (even when these were offered by hand), only showing a little interest in hazel. At this stage of the year, for good management of the floral heritage, cattle grazing is undesirable (we also wish to safeguard the few clumps of hazel). Regretfully, we must conclude that these cattle are not going to help the management of this reserve in the spring. The cattle will now be removed.

rare-breed-british-white-cattle-grazing

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