Agriculture is returning to Livability Holton Lee after an absence of 15 years.
Clare and Christopher Lees have bought a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle, some of whom will be joining us shortly.
The fencing has been paid for by a grant from the Wild Purbeck Nature Improvement Area, (who kindly also funded a new brushcutter to help tackle the gorse plague) allowing both the fields and the heathland to be grazed by cattle again. The cattle will graze the fields in rotation and the heathland in summer.
The fields haven’t been grazed since the 1990s because of the competition with deer but last year the grass grew due to the wet spring and steady reduction in deer numbers. Mike our deer manager has been asked to ‘maintain the balance’ keeping the deer herd to a level that allows not only the grass to grow but the heather as well.
Observation of the growth of heather in just one year inside the deer exclosure near Horseshoe Pond shows the impact the deer have on natural vegetation, and the wildlife that it supports.
It remains to be seen how the cattle fit into day to day life here, and the impact on access to the fields, but rest assured, Angus have a quiet temperament. We also hope that gradually, we will be able get involved in helping to manage the cattle with a view to introducing some ‘care farming’ to Livability Holton Lee.