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Chewing The Cud

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This two-day conference held at Samphire Hoe was a partnership between Up on the Downs and our local Save Our Magnificent Meadows project based in Maidstone.  It attracted delegates from all over the country and we were lucky enough to have some fantastic speakers tallking about all issues big and small relating to the use of livestock for conservation grazing.

Downloads available

PDF   Conference synopsis (1.3MB) Abstracts from the conference and links to all of the presentations.

Presentations from the conference

PDF   Taking Stock (8.6MB)  Taking Stock – Grazing on the Urban Fringe - Mike Phillips (Up on the Downs).  How livestock is used by the Up on the Downs partners and how some of the issues that are faced by conservation organsiations are dealt with.

PDF   Being Outstanding in Our Field (8.7MB)   Being Outstanding in Our Field - Meadow Management and Save Our Magnificent Meadows – Mary Tate & Vicky Squire (Medway Valley Countryside Partnership & National Trust Wales)  Examples of how grazing is used within two of the Save Our Magnificent meadows projects.

PDF   Cash Cow or Sacred Cow (2.4MB)  Cash Cow or Sacred Cow? Grassland and Stewardship Schemes – Paul Cobb (FWAG South East)  How Countryside Stewardship has evolved and how the current scheme addresses grassland and grazing.  Drawbacks in the ‘income foregone’ principle of Stewardship are examined and how other funding mechanisms might better address socio-economic as well as environmental aspects of grazing management.

PDF   Grazing the Urban Fringe (6.7MB)  The Brighton & Hove Experience – Reintroducing Grazing on the Urban Fringe – David Larkin (Brighton & Hove Council)  Brighton & Hove is a city between the sea and the South Downs National Park. It has a long history of sheep grazing that produced extensive flower rich downland. In the 1990s the council began to manage its sites by cutting and clearing but it was recognised that grazing would be a much better way of managing these ancient pastures and a pilot project was set up in the late 1990s.  Grazing remained small scale until around 2008 when the Environment Agency advisedthat the new Waste Framework Directives definition of waste as “any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard” included our grass. This coupled with the introduction of Environmental Stewardship made grazing a more viable option than cutting and clearing. 

PDF   Fruitful Grazing (2.2MB)  Fruitful Grazing – The Orchards Perspective – Pippa Palmar (Kent Orchards for Everyone Project)  ‘Kent Orchards for Everyone Project’ is a new Heritage Lottery funded project supporting 15 communities in celebrating and conserving their very own traditional community orchard.  It is establishing good management practices within our community orchards. Management not only relates to the trees but also the grass sward and its establishment.  Many of these orchards were bombarded with pesticides years ago with the grazing a secondary income.  This is now beginning to change.

PDF   The Farmer's Perspective (3.0MB)   Grazing for Conservation, The Farmer’s Perspective – Marie Prebble (Boyington Court Farm)  The practicalities of livestock grazing for conservation, both on farms and on nature reserve sites managed by nature conservvation organisations, and the overall importance of grazing in landscape management.

PDF   Bred for Success (1.2MB)  Bred for Success – Rob Havard (Natural England)  Rare Breeds are a vital part of natural capital and form a vital part of countryside and biodiversity. This presentation discussses the reason for this and how breeds can be maintained by conservation organisations.

PDF   The Grassland Inertebrate Housing Market (9.1MB)   Variation, Variation, Variation – The Grassland Invertebrate Housing Market – Paul Tinsley-Marshall (Kent Wildlife Trust)  A focus on the practical management of grasslands for invertebrate biodiversity.

PDF   Restoration of Grassland Wildflower Meadows for Bumblebee Diversity (3.0MB)  Restoration of Wild Flower Meadows Across Romney Marsh for Bumblebee Diversity Nicky Gammans (Bumblebee Conservation Trust)  The loss of 97% of our ancient wild flower meadows over the last 70+ years has had a dramatic impact on many of our insect pollinators. In the case of bumblebees two species have become extinct and a further seven are rare and threatened. To help conserve our rare bumblebees the restoration and improved management of wild/flower rich areas is essential and grazing is a key tool to achieving this which will be discussed.

PDF   A Plant's Eye View of Grazing (2.6MB)   A Plant’s-Eye View of Grazing - Richard Moyse (Plantlife)  A presentation examining the ecological basis for the impact of grazing on plant diversity which will also consider how off-the-shelf grazing prescriptions and systems may not always work for plants, and draw on research which may help inform approaches to plant conservation.

PDF   Finding the Balance Between Livestock and Reptiles (0.5MB)  Structure, Structure, Structure, Finding the Balance Between Livestock and Reptiles – Rick Sharp (Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust)  A look at how an ecosystem approach to grassland management, thinking of the needs of non floristic species (not only reptiles), can help target grazing efficiently benefiting many different species on a reserve.  This talk will cover how the need for structure within habitats is important for the ecology of many species; highlighting different methods for managing livestock to maintain sward structure through density, timing and movement.

PDF   Mob Grazing for Protected and Sensitive Sites (6.5MB)   Holistic Planned Grazing – Rob Havard (Natural England)  A look at how holistic planned grazing or 'mob grazing' can both improve productivity and biodiversity whilst containing pernicious weeds within a grazing regime.