The Sussex Wildlife Trust manages its own grazing stock of traditional breeds, including British White and Sussex Cattle and Herdwick, Hebridean, Wiltshire and Shetland sheep.

Sussex Wildlife Trust Grazing

In 2001, the Sussex Wildlife Trust, decided to acquire its own livestock and to appoint a Grazing Officer to ensure that we had full control of our grazing management.

We currently graze 18 of our sites across East and West Sussex and the animals are checked daily by staff and volunteers. We are always looking for extra help to check the livestock, if you are interested please visit here.

For any Livestock Emergencies on our reserves please ring 01273 492630, leaving a message with full details including your contact number.

We graze a wide range of habitats including neutral grassland, rush pasture, heathland and acid grassland, arable reversion, calcareous fen, chalk grassland, ancient woodland and wood pasture. Wherever possible we continue to monitor the effects of grazing to ensure that there are no negative impacts from the livestock and to ensure that the grazing is successful.

Nature Reserve Management Tool

Grazing is an important tool for managing many habitats: at Ebernoe Common we use the cattle to keep the wood pasture areas open, improving conditions for flowers and invertebrates. Until the middle of the 20th century, this grazing would have been undertaken by commoners using cattle, pigs and sheep.

On our heathlands we use cattle - heathlands were traditionally well grazed by commoners for hundreds of years with both sheep and ponies. Cattle grazing now helps reduce the dominance of purple moor grass and allows the heather to spread and keeps wet areas open creating good conditions for sundew and marsh clubmoss.

We graze some of our wet meadows through late summer and autumn so that conditions are just right for breeding waders in the spring and summer.

All grazing animals graze and browse in slightly different ways so the effect on the habitat is different. All livestock do leave dung though and this is great for invertebrates, birds and fungi.

Access and Grazing

We always use signs on on our nature reserves to indicate grazing and wherever possible we install signs to say that livestock are in a particular compartment. The breeds we use for conservation grazing are all very docile animals.

Please keep dogs under close control if you are in an area where animals are grazing.

Livestock will often abort their offspring if they are stressed or chased when pregnant.

If you see any animals on Sussex Wildlife Trust sites, being chased by dogs or harassed in any way, please call Sussex Wildlife Trust on 01273 492630.

In this section

Sheep Shape

Sussex Wildlife Trust's Grazing Manager and team, share some of the work that goes into looking after our conservation grazing flock in the run-up to lambing season.