Our farm animals
As you’re out and about around the Parks, you may come across grazing animals. The Parks Trust works with a farming partner and a number of our fields are used to graze our animals. At the height of summer, the Trust has around 350 to 500 cattle and 400 sheep out in our fields. This figure reduces dramatically in the winter, due to many of the grazing fields being found in the river Ouse and Ouzel flood plains. The animals are consequently taken back to the farm and housed in barns over the winter months.
Farm animals help us to maintain wildlife habitats. It’s also more cost effective and sustainable than the use of machines. Grazing with sheep and cattle helps to create better conditions for a great variety of wild flowers which in turn attract many pollinating insects such as butterflies, bees and hoverflies as well as larger animals and birds.
Grazing also helps to reveal and protect archaeological features that show how the land has been managed in the past.
Our cattle and the breeds we own are chosen partly for their general calmness. They can however be inquisitive and may come towards you and if you have a dog, they may come even closer. This inquisitiveness and the need to explore situations is usually at its height in the Spring as the cattle are released into the fields from their over-winter barns.
Farming reminds us that the living countryside is a source of food and employment as well as for our enjoyment. We also feel it is important to contribute to the required food chain by using our farm land effectively (but not necessarily at high intensity levels) rather than importing that food from far away countries.