Canal and River Trust swaps lawnmowers for cows to do its grass cutting

Volunteer cowherd Danny Flynn and the Shetland cattle
Volunteer cowherd Danny Flynn and the Shetland cattle

The Canal and River Trust is replacing mowers with cows as an experiment on part of its land.

The charity brought in the bovines yesterday to the Coney Meadow reed bed on the Droitwich Canal and says their non-uniform way of eating grass leads to a more varied landscape, ideal for wildlife such as rare grasshopper warblers which have recently started nesting on the Worcestershire site.

Invertebrates also approve, which is good for the site, created as a nature reserve, as they are a food source for protected bats and birds

Four Sheltand cows, borrowed from Wyre District Council are trimming the grass. Shetland is a rare breed with fewer than 750 remaining, mostly found on the UK mainland. They are extremely hardy and eat grass, leaves, bark and bramble and are being cared for by local volunteer Danny Flynn from Droitwich.

Canal and River Trust ecologist Mark Robinson said: "The cows are going to be far more effective than the lawnmowers we have been using and we hope will make a real impact supporting the rare and important wildlife at Coney Meadow. We hope they will also appeal to the thousands of visitors who cruise and walk along the canals."

Droitwich’s canals have been restored in recent years and re-opened in 2011, with Coney Meadow reed bed built next to the canal as part of the restoration.

Fountains OCS holds the grounds maintenance contract with the charity.


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