One of the Chasewater cows

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Cattle are set to return to Chasewater Country Park to help manage the heathland.
One of the Chasewater cows
A local farmer is loaning Lichfield District Council five Dexter cows from January 25. The breed was chosen because Dexters are a small native species known for their hardiness and good temperament. The small herd will include heifers (females that have not had a calf) and steers (males that have been castrated). The cattle will help manage Chasewater’s heathland, by grazing on the vegetation, which if left unattended would revert back into woodland. If the grazing is successful, the council’s countryside team will extend the area and increase the number of cows throughout the year. Councillor Alan White, Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for development services, said: “After a break of two years, we’re really pleased the cows are coming back to Chasewater. “We couldn’t use them last year because of the disruption from the works to the dam, and because sections of fencing and the gates, which keep the animals from straying off the site, were damaged by vandals. We have now replaced the fences with hardened steel to make them more secure, and are delighted to be able to welcome the cattle back to Chasewater. “Using animals to graze on the land is part of our heathland restoration programme. It is important that we manage our heathland habitats as they support a variety of nature, including many rare species.” The presence of cattle on Chasewater does not mean the area is out of bounds to visitors. The footpaths through the north shore fields are still open to everyone, but people are asked to keep a reasonable distance to the cows and not to feed them. Chasewater will be home to the cattle throughout the year, but the herd will be moved to different fields as the seasons change. For more information on the conservational grazing on Chasewater, contact Chris Walsh, Lichfield District Councils Biodiversity Officer, on 01543 308164 or 07803832375.