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Find out about conservation grazing

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Grazing in the Countryside

When walking at our countryside sites look out for cattle or horses. If you see them, they will be carrying out essential natural habitat management.

We use grazing to maintain open areas on our wetland, heathland and grassland sites. Grazing is an effective method compared to alternatives such as cutting and burning. It replicates the effects that wild herbivores would have had on the environment long ago.

Cattle and horses are selective with what they eat. This encourages a wider variety of plant species to grow. It controls dominant plants that would otherwise take over. It also creates a range of grass lengths ideal for different species to use.

Trampling by animals creates areas of bare ground among grasses, scrub and trees. These bare areas are important for a wide variety of wildlife. It allows mobile species such as reptiles and amphibians to easily move to other areas. Animal manure provides a habitat in itself for lots of invertebrates.

Grazing on our land varies throughout the year. It depends on the environment and how we are managing a particular site.

Please be vigilant and take note of any signage present.

When walking on a site with cattle please follow the guidance below:

  • follow the Countryside Code
  • follow the advice of on-site signage
  • keep dogs under control
  • leave gates as you find them.
  • keep a respectful distance to the animals
  • do not try to touch or feed the animals

Cattle Grazing

Grazing sites and schedule

Whilst we make every effort to keep this information updated. Planned animal movements can sometimes be delayed by circumstances outside of our control.

LocationGrazing seasonsGrazing status
Chantry Woodspring and autumncattle expected to return at the end of summer
The Mountautumn and wintercattle expected to return at the end of summer
Parsonage Water Meadowsspring and summercattle expected to return later in summer
Pewley Downsautumn and wintercattle expected to return in autumn
Riverside Nature Reservesummer and early autumnno grazing animals. Cattle grazing planned for late summer
Shalford Water Meadowsspring and summergrazing animals onsite in Rowing Club field only
cattle expected to return to the other fields from mid-May
Snakey Lane Nature Reservesummer and autumnno Grazing animals
Stoke Water Meadowsspring and summergrazing animals onsite
Tyting Farmthroughout the yeargrazing animals onsite

Pirbright heaths: 
Bullswater Common
West Heath
The Gardens
Dawney Hill
Chapel Lane

throughout the yeargrazing animals onsite

 

In an emergency please contact the owner of the grazing animals. The graziers number can be found on the onsite signage.

If you have a concern relating to grazing animals or animal welfare. Please contact the countryside team at countryside@guildford.gov.uk