Friends of Belper Parks Ltd

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25 October 2010

From Mowing to Mooing in Belper Parks

Oxeye Daisy, Sneezewort and Quaking grass sound like characters from a children’s TV programme but they’re actually a native species of wildflowers that cows could soon be grazing in Belper Parks. It’s part of an innovative project by Amber Valley Borough Council and Friends of Belper Parks to consider the introduction of up to ten Highland Cattle to graze the Local Nature Reserve to encourage the growth of wildflowers that once flourished in the area more than 20 years ago.

Council Cabinet will consider proposals for the Highland species, chosen for their placid nature, to be grazed in the Wildflower Meadow in the park between August and October each year. Highlands are known to graze rough grass, which enables wildflower species such as Geranium and Bugal that would otherwise be out-competed, to flourish. This will lead to an increase in wildflower species and numbers, which in turn can increase the number and variety of invertebrates that feed on them. Ultimately, this provides a greater food source for larger predators such as the Hawk family, thereby significantly raising the overall bio-diversity of the meadow.

The project is thought to be one of only a handful of its kind in the country where cows graze in a public park. If plans are agreed, the cattle would be contained within the meadow using a combination of fencing, hedging and natural barriers creating interesting walks for local people and a source of education for local school children.

Councillor Jack Brown Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer said:
 “When the idea was first suggested I was instantly excited. Aside from the obvious environmental and educational benefits of replacing mowers with cows, the site of Highland Cattle, grazing in the park, would be a popular draw for walkers and tourists. Ideally, we want to find a willing local farmer who can graze their cattle and use the meat to sell locally and really subscribe to the organic and ethical values we’re aiming to instil with the project.”

If proposals are agreed cattle will be seen in Belper Parks in August next year.

For further information please contact Luke Barrett Communications Manager on 01773 841 655 or email luke.barrett@ambervalley.gov.uk