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Cattle introduced to Bricket Wood Common
Cows have been brought to Bricket Wood Common to help improve the natural habitat.
St Albans District Council has introduced four cattle to the common, where by cropping the grass they will help rejuvenate 12 hectares of rare heathland.
Their grazing will produce the right conditions for the spread of heathland vegetation planted by volunteers and will also help prevent the growth of young trees that threaten to take over the area.
The small cattle are English Longhorns, a traditional and rare breed adapted to rough grazing, which are said to be timid and used to people.
They will be checked every day during their time on the common, which ends in November.
Councillor Daniel Chichester-Miles, environment portfolio holder for St Albans District Council, said: "This is a protected habitat typified by heather and gorse as well as associated rare flowers, grasses and insects that help attract wildlife.
"This long-term project to restore a precious remnant of natural Hertfordshire heathland aims to be as sustainable as possible using natural processes, rather than machinery or chemicals.
"For hundreds of years, grazing has helped maintain this open habitat.
"The council is therefore using the same traditional methods to help restore the heathland."
Signs have also been put in place at the entrances to the enclosure to inform visitors that cattle are on site. Kissing gates, bridle gates and squeezes in the fence are also provided for walkers and riders using the paths through the enclosure.
Dog walkers are also asked to keep their animals under close control inside the fenced area.
Councillor John Bell, chairman of the Bricket Wood Common joint management committee, said: "The introduction of cattle on the common is a return to traditional use. This regular grazing will produce a habitat that will encourage many other species of plant, animals and insects to thrive.
"Hopefully, this will add to Hertfordshire’s rich biodiversity."
Residents can find out more about the cattle and the project at a "Meet the Cows" event on Sunday (September 23) at School Lane, Bricket Wood.
The event will take place near the bridleway entrance to the common, opposite the track to Munden House, from noon to 4pm.