Funding boost will lead to new Olympic Legacy jobs in Essex park

Native breed cattle were trialled in the park last year. Picture by Ellen Hume
Native breed cattle were trialled in the park last year. Picture by Ellen Hume

More than 100ha of flower-rich grassland will be enhanced at Hadleigh Country Park and two new jobs created after Essex County Council won £127,000 of funding.

The grant, from the Veolia North Thames Marshes Trust, will support the council’s Grazing and Grasslands project at the park, the location for the London 2012 Olympic Mountain Biking events in August last year and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The funding will support the employment of a grazing officer and an apprentice officer who will help deliver the council’s Olympics Legacy plans.

These include supporting grazing by native breed cattle as a way of managing the flower-rich grasslands at Hadleigh.

The grazing officer will also ensure cattle, bikes and park-users interact safely as well as working on long-term improvements for wildlife at the site.

Senior consultant ecologist at Essex County Council Luke Bristow said: "Lack of grazing is one of the biggest threats to flower-rich grasslands and other open habitats. In the absence of livestock, tall grasses and scrub will eventually replace the flowers.

The Grazing and Grassland Project was conceived to provide bespoke heritage grazing on our land and is improving the environment of some of Essex’s finest places for wildlife.

The council’s cabinet member for libraries, communities and planning John Jowers said the funding was vital to ensure the area had the right support.

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