The pattern of grazing with Longhorn cattle is going well, with initial development of scrub and a flush of new oak trees – despite being a bad year for oak, hazel and beech mast last year – which will impact on the natural regeneration. The cattle will be removed from site altogether this year to develop diversification of the sward.
Devils bit scabious in the meadow is developing very successfully, providing a nectar source and larval food plant for marsh fritillary butterflies which will hopefully establish at Valewood one day.
The male and female continue to live on separate ponds, but previous aggression appears reduced so that mating is a possibility. The male is making some changes to the higher pond area but is markedly less active than the female (who is now gnawing through large trees). The National Trust is still following a policy of minimising publicity of the site to minimise disturbance. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds the requests to stay out of the wetland part of the site or keep dogs on leads. If young kits arrive, more signage and communication will become necessary, focusing on the positive impact the animals are having to wildlife and flood risk prevention.Back to all posts