Map of UK Conservation Grazing Schemes

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The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough

Location:Sites across Beds, Cambs, Northants and Peterborough

Habitats:Lowland, Heathland, Grassland

Livestock:Hebridean Sheep

In brief:Local Wildlife Trust conservation grazing as part of ongoing management of nature reserves

Contact:Cathy Wainwright (Northants)

Tel:07734 478468


Since WWII arable farming has increasingly dominated the rural landscape of central and eastern england, sheep and cattle are no longer a common sight and thousands of acres of species-rich grassland have been ploughed up. The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgshire and Northamptonshire & Peterborough (BCNP) are aiming to reverse this trend by helping to conserve valuable areas of grassland that still exist.


As part of their conservation work the Trust employs a grazing manager, Cathy Wainwright, to oversee the graing of reserves in Northamptonshire with flocks of Hebridean, Manx and North Ronaldsay sheep and a herd of Murray Grey cattle. The Trust has actively engaged with local communities so they understand why the reserves are grazed and have actively engaged with local communities including providing training for local volunteer stock checkers.

One acid grassland SSSI reserve is grazed all year but on a rotation between 3 grazing compartments, with +/- 30 North Ronaldsay sheep and occasionally a couple of cows in the summer. A flying flock of Manx and Hebridean ewes is run across the county, primarily on Calcareous grassland and wet meadows for winter grazing of the aftermath. The Trust does not have any lay-back land so have to keep numbers limited and cannot carry ewes and lambs over the summer, so sheep numbers tend to be topped on an as-and-when basis. Cattle are also 'borrowed' from two local farmers from June to December, one of whom sold some to the trust on a buy-back-and replace agreement so that there are always 12 youngstock available. There are also a number of graziers who use both sheep and cattle on some of the other reserves.