We visited Pond Farm, Wisley and Ockham Common, close to Wisley village off the A3. This site is managed and grazed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust and their herd of Belted Galloways; who appreciated their top-up of hay after the recent snow fall.
Surrey Wildlife Trust run an exceptional service delivering a grazing programe tailored to suit most sites. They match the temperament of the cattle with the level of use. Category one, sites are those in the most urbanised areas, requiring cattle to be habituated to dog incursions. However, no herd should ever be expected to cope with illegal dogs running out of control on a nature reserve and sensible control of animals on leads may be required.
The off to Priest Hill LNR and public open space along the Banstead Road (parking in Beverley Close) to see the 22 strong herd in the snow. On the heels of the cattle was a flock of c20 meadow pipits hopeful of tid-bits grazing would reveal. This would be a great model for Tolworth Court Farm, which once had a large Fresian herd , with dairy facilities on the moated manor site (on the west side of the A240).
Grazing is a good way of restoring and maintaining grassland sites, preventing them from scrubbing over and improving the floristic diversity. Some grazing by ponies already takes place at TCF on privately owned fields. There is also a beautiful heavy horse fly-grazing the council land, which has featured in previous posts on Tolworth Court Farm.
|Belted Galloways in the snow Priest hill|