Herdwick sheep

Discussion forum for conservation of butterflies.
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peterc
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Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 5:45 pm
Location: Hertfordshire

Herdwick sheep

Postby peterc » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:53 pm

There is a planning application for a small local meadow to be fenced to allow Herdwick sheep to graze either during the autumn and/or 8 weeks in the summer. I understand Herdwicks graze closely and eat scrubs like bramble but does anyone know how beneficial these sheep are for butterfly conservation?

ATB

Peter

MrSp0ck
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Location: Croydon,Surrey
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Re: Herdwick sheep

Postby MrSp0ck » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:29 pm

We lost a whole area of Kidney Vetch to Herdwick Sheep this June, just after the adults had laid on the flowerheads in their single brood, this on a Nature Reserve by Conservation Graziers. The Wildlife Trust and reserve managers had fenced the area off to protect it, but the Grazing Assistant mooved the fence to give the maximum area for the sheep and as little as possible for the Small Blues, without permission of the Wildlife Trust, and a day later the Kidney Vetch was all gone.

Any Summer Grazing by Sheep is not good, There is an article on a rare moth [Dark Bordered Beauty] where they have nearly wiped it off its last UK site by Sheep Grazing. Also it is reported on here that the Brown Hairstreaks have suffered at Steyning Rifle Range from Grazing.

Our Orchids and flowers like Greater Knapweed have also been lost from the Nature Reserve since Herdwick sheep have grazed in Spring and Summer. Orchids put leaves up in February or earlier.

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peterc
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 5:45 pm
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Herdwick sheep

Postby peterc » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:44 am

Many thanks for your response, MrSp0ck - very helpful.

I am not surprised to read about some of the harmful effects of summer grazing by sheep so I'll emphasise the point to the authorities. Even Natural England believes it could be a viable plan on my local meadow but the impact probably won't be as bad as at Steyning Rifle Range for example.

ATB

Peter


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