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Grazing on Ideford Heathland begins

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cattle in fields at ideford

Ideford Heathland, within Haldon Forest is to have some new residents – a herd of Black Galloway cows. The cattle will be grazing the area from mid summer 2010 as part of a project to help extend heathland restoration work at Ideford Common. Work to erect a perimeter fence and a cattle corral will begin at the end of February.

The Forestry Commission received funding of just over 27,200 from the SITA Trust and 3000 from Natural England to carry out this work.

By grazing the land the cattle will help control dominant and invasive species such as coarse grasses and birch, which grow rapidly and prevent the effective growth of natural heathland plants such as heather.

Allan Smart, Area Forester for Exeter explains: “The Forestry Commission’s land holding at Ideford sits between two other areas of SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) heathland, one of which is managed by Teignbridge District Council. If the area is allowed to succumb to scrub invasion, an important habitat link between the two areas will be lost, reducing the ability of remaining areas to sustain their diverse plant and animal species.”

There will be some impact on visitors to the area although this will be kept to a minimum.

Allan says:

“A stock fence will be erected around the perimeter of where the cattle graze. This will mean that horse riders have slightly restricted access when the cattle are grazing but there will still be a circular walk around the perimeter. Kissing gates will also be installed. Pedestrians will still have access and dog walkers are asked to keep dogs off leads when around the cattle.”

A pond has also been excavated for the cattle to drink from an area of scrub to the south of the heathland. A cattle corral will also be erected at the same time as the fencing is undertaken. The total cost of the project is 57,600.

This project has been supported by SITA Trust, which distributes funding through the Landfill Communities Fund. SITA Trust provides funding to improve biodiversity and the environment around landfill sites throughout England. SITA Trust receives its funding from the waste management company, SITA UK.

For further information about the work Allan Smart, Area Forester for Exeter can be contacted on 07850 309738.

1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. Further information can be found at

2. Natural England works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas. It conserves and enhances the natural environment for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people, and the economic prosperity it brings. For further information please visit

Kirstie Smith, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission on 01392 834249.