The spring brings new life, in all it’s wonderful forms, and that includes our herd of Hereford cattle at Durlston Country Park! Herefords are an amazing friendly and docile breed of cattle, making them the perfect choice for a busy country park. But why are they needed in the first place?
Durlston is a National Nature Reserve recognised for its importance to wildlife, in particular for it’s grasslands and hay meadows. These are rich biodiverse habitats which can boast hundreds of grass and wildflower species in just one small area. In turn this provides food and home for countless bugs, birds, bees, butterflies, bats, and so on!
Historically grasslands were maintained the nibbling efforts of millions of hungry rabbits. Unfortunately these rabbits also ate a lot of farmers crops and myxomatosis was introduced to the UK in the fifties, killing 99% of our rabbits. As of today our rabbit population remains about a third of what it was before the outbreak. So until populations recover, human intervention is needed to conserve and restore this rich habitat!
…and thats where the cows come in! Grasslands are now maintained through cutting and grazing. The meadows are easily managed by an annual hay cut, but in the more hilly and rocky areas, a tractor doesn’t quite do for the job. Cows on the other hand, are happy to munch away in all the hard to reach places, making them absolutely essential to the conservation of our grasslands. Meet the new little’uns and learn more in my video below!
Aren’t they just the cutest?