Ainsdale Local Nature Reserve will once again play host to cattle this winter after Sefton Council came to the rescue of flood stricken bovines.
High levels of floodwater in Lancashire has pushed forward the ‘mooving’ date for the annual arrival of Redpoll cattle, which spend the winter months grazing and enhancing Sefton’s coastal ecological system.
Sefton’s Green Sefton team were expecting the arrival of the livestock later in the month, however the cattle will now take to the dunes from October 1 following heavy rainfall in the cattle’s summer surroundings.
The borough’s coastline is one of the most important areas in Britain for nature conservation and enjoys the highest level of protection under UK law as a site of specific scientific interest for its flora and fauna.
The dunes are home to many specialised plants and animals such as Natterjack Toad, Sand Lizard, Great Crested Newt, and other protected species such as Petalwort.
However, this dune habitat is increasingly under threat from invasion by coarse grasses and non-native scrub species.
In order to combat this Sefton Council secured a special conservation grazing scheme which has seen cattle on the site for a number of years around wintertime.
The Redpoll is a relatively small native English breed. Having been originally bred in Suffolk and Norfolk, the breed was developed to produce good dairy produce while also being able to fatten well.
Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said “Conservation Grazing is a fantastic, cost effective and natural way to protect our natural dune systems and we look forward to seeing the cattle make a return this week.
“Visitors to the site may also have noticed that a number of small fenced ‘exclosures’ have been installed. These will help monitor any differences between grazed and un-grazed vegetation within the fenced grazing areas.”
For more information about Green Sefton’s coastal work visit www.sefton.gov.uk/beaches