We call our sheep flock 'woolly workers' because they help us so much with maintaining flower-rich grasslands and heather heathland. We choose tough breeds that munch away at the woodier vegetation, which encourages more delicate plants to grow.
Our cattle are useful too. Their hooves make muddy holes in the ground which are ideal for the seeds of wild flowers to blow into and grow.
We often work with local farmers who graze our land with their animals. We also have our own livestock. They vary in their grazing and browsing habits, so we choose the type and breed that is suitable for the habitat they will graze. For example, Dexter cattle are ideal for grazing the scrub and rough grasses on the slopes of Earl's and Pontesford Hills and Hebridean sheep forage on the rushy meadows of the Stiperstones.
As a vegetarian of over 30 years I never thought I would be promoting the sale of meat products. However, I find myself doing this willingly as part of our conservation grazing initiative. As a reserves manager I have seen how vital the role of grazing is in improving and maintaining the majority of the open habitats on our nature reserves.North Reserves Officer