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Cows replace lawn-mowers at important Droitwich wildlife site
10:10am Saturday 2nd November 2013 in News
MODERN technology is being ditched in favour of the humble cow by the charity that cares for one of Worcestershire’s most important wildlife locations.
The Canal & River Trust - which cares for 2,000 miles of waterways across England and Wales – is replacing lawn-mowers with four Shetland cows to trim the grass at Coney Meadow reed bed on Droitwich canal network.
Shetland Cattle are a rare breed with under 750 remaining, mostly found on the UK mainland. They are extremely hardy and will eat grass, leaves, bark and bramble.
In contrast to lawn-mowers, which create flat, characterless environments, the feeding cows will provide a more varied landscape, ideal for wildlife such as rare grasshopper warblers, which have recently started nesting at the site and a host of invertebrates which are important as a sources of food for protected bats and birds. The cows will be cared for by local volunteer, and former ambulance driver, Danny Flynn, from Droitwich.
Droitwich’s waterway has undergone a transformation in recent years, having been fully re-opened in 2011, thanks to the hard work of local volunteers and community organisations.
Coney Meadow reed bed, which was built next to the canal as part of the restoration, is a hotbed for wildlife such as herons, kingfishers and otters, and plays a significant role in supporting the eco-systems of the surrounding countryside.
Mark Robinson, ecologist with the Canal & River Trust, said: “The cows are going to be far more effective than the lawn-mowers 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.”
The cows, which will be borrowed for 60 days, have been provided by Wyre Forest District Council, which uses them on conservation areas around the region.
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