If you’re local to Stapleton you may have noticed fencing works around the field along which Heath House Lane runs. This work is being carried out by Bristol City Council (BCC) who’ve been busily making the field ready for cattle.
An unusual task for a city council you may think, but this is all part of their vision to develop and sustain the Stoke Park Conservation Management Plan.
Stoke Park Conservation Management Plan
One of the key roles of The Conservation Management Plan is to guide the overall care and conservation of the Park so that, hopefully, they can be removed from the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register.
One of the issues with managing the Stoke Park Estate is the landscape. As beautiful as it is, it’s not very accessible for large machinery meaning that wide areas are scrubbing up with brambles and other vegetation. If this isn’t well-managed then the area will eventually become overgrown and inaccessible for the local community to fully enjoy and a historic landscape could be lost.
Over the last year or so we’ve been working with BCC to see how the Farm can contribute to the Conservation Management Plan. The idea came about that we do so by grazing our cattle. The plan is for us to pilot grazing on Heath House Lane by introducing cattle to see if this is a viable way of managing the landscape.
Managing vegetation with cattle
The great thing about managing vegetation with cattle is that they can get to places machinery can’t, they are quiet, and they fertilise the land at the same time whilst getting a good varied diet. I’d like to say that they don’t emit any fumes, but that wouldn’t quite be true, so lets just say they don’t use any fossil fuels!
BCC recently finished works to make the boundary fencing safe and install a water trough, so all that was left to do was to clear the ragwort which can be toxic to cattle, and last bits of rubbish.
Today a big group from the Farm armed with litter pickers and bags, carried out a field sweep.
Hopefully you’ll be seeing some of our cattle in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for our bovine beauties.