Belted Galloway cattle roam free in Hastings Country Park to help restore threatened heathland and coastal grassland habitats.
Now Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has received support from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to help monitor the grazing cattle. The animals had been fitted with radio tracking collars but the council found the antennae they were using weren’t strong enough to track the cattle in the deepest parts of the glens – it needed to be mounted higher than it was.
When the Maritime and Coastguard Agency heard about the grazing project and its problems just as they were building a new coastguard mast at the country park it offered to put the cattle’s antennae higher up on their mast.
Councillor Maya Evans explains: “Cattle grazing to control invasive vegetation is much better than using machinery and chemical herbicides. We are trying to develop the use of free-range livestock to support biodiversity in the country park and we’re bringing back traditional methods to work in harmony with nature.
“Thanks to this partnership between the council and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the conservation grazing can now be fully monitored. We now have extensive coverage of where our cattle are grazing so we can target their grazing in areas most beneficial for biodiversity.
“We can use the data from the cattle to target areas of the park where conservation grazing can help manage the threatened and rare habitats of the park without the need for machinery.
“It also means we can ensure the cattle’s welfare by constant monitoring, which is just as important to us.”
Thomas Ogg, Senior IT Service Manager (Infrastructure), Maritime and Coastguard Agency says: “When we heard the value of grazing project for threatened and rare habitats in the park, we were delighted to be able to offer our help.
“This is a unique partnership for the agency, and we are pleased the cattle can now be tracked and their grazing monitored fully.”