New neighbours moove in at Ickenham Marsh
Cows reintroduced to nature reserve to help conservation
A NEW team of unexpected grass cutters have just mooved into the Ickenham Marsh Nature Reserve in Hillingdon as part of a £25,000 renovation project.
The three Sussex cattle will be calling the reserve home for the next two months to give the grass a good grilling.
An 18-month project to revitalise and protect the five-acre site now comes to an end with the new residents raising the stakes for the London Wildlife Trust, which manages the site.
Reserves manager for the trust, Tom Hayward, said: “Bringing cattle back will provide a big boost to our conservation efforts here at Ickenham Marsh. We want to ensure the land is managed for the maximum benefit of the wildlife species that live here, as well as to encourage new species to arrive.
“We will be receiving help looking after the cows from the Ickenham Marsh Partnership, and of course the restoration would not be possible without the generous grant made by The Veolia Environmental Trust.”
The cows moved into their greener pastures in Glebe Avenue, Hillingdon, on Saturday June 4.
Ickenham Marsh first became a nature reserve in 1987 and is home to water chickweed plants, the herb skullcap, the long-winged conehead bush cricket, and now the three prime cows.
The project included installing new gates and fences, and restoring a number of the habitats with the hopes of encouraging more people to hoof it to the reserve.
Most of the funding for the work came from The Veolia Environment Trust which funds community and environment projects in England and Wales.
A total of £20,697 was given by the trust, which helped the reserve reach the bulls-eye of £25,000.
Reintroducing cattle is a sustainable way of maintaining the land in and is far less time consuming and difficult than humans doing the same work.
The executive director of the Veolia trust, Paul Taylor, said: “This project will have many benefits for the reserve for the species found there and the people who visit and enjoy it.
“It is an excellent example of how the trust and the Landfill Community Fund help protect and improve important habitats across England and Wales and I look forward to hearing about how this one is thriving.”
n ON THE MOOVE: The cows mark the end of an 18-month revitalisation project at Ickenham Marsh Nature Reserve