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Canalside wildlife site will benefit from going back to nature for management
MOST of us would enjoy spending an afternoon by a picturesque canal, chewing the cud.
But for some of the latest recruits to move in at the Canal and River Trust, doing just that is their job.
For the charity has ditched modern technology in favour of the humble cow after chewing over ideas to care for a wildlife site.
The trust has borrowed four Shetland cows from Wyre Forest District Council to trim the grass at the Coney Meadow reed bed, on the Droitwich Canal, after put-ting their lawnmowers out to pasture for 60 days.
The rare breed will help to provide a more varied landscape, ideal for wildlife such as rare grasshopper warblers, which have started nesting on the site, as well as a host of invertebrates which are important as a source of food for protected bats and birds.
Mark Robinson, an ecologist with the trust, 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.”
The cows will be cared for by local volunteer and former ambulance driver Dan-ny Flynn.
Droitwich’s canals were fully re-opened in 2011 and have undergone a transformation thanks to the work of volunteers and community groups across the county.
The reed bed, which was built next to the canal as part of the restoration, is a hotbed for local wildlife, such as herons, kingfishers and otters.
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