Cattle have been part of the council management of Hastings Country Park for many years, along with the wild Exmoor ponies that were reintroduced in February this year. The current breed is a traditional Scottish cow, the Belted Galloway, adapted to living on windswept moorlands, that roam free in the park, helping restore threatened heathland and coastal grassland habitats.

Hastings Borough Council has now received support from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to help improve monitoring of the cattle – the original antenna the council were using wasn’t high enough to track the cattle in the deepest parts of the glens. 

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 and offered to put the cattle’s antenna higher up on their mast. 

Councillor Maya Evans, chair of the Hastings Country Park Management Board pointed out that controlling invasive vegetation through cattle grazing was far better than using machinery and potentially toxic chemical herbicide: “Thanks to this unique partnership between the council and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the conservation grazing can now be fully monitored.”

She explains that the extensive coverage afforded by the new mast means it is possible to focus on areas most beneficial for biodiversity as well as managing the threatened and rare habitats of the park. 

“It also means we can ensure the cattle’s welfare by constant monitoring, which is just as important to us,” Maya points out.

Thomas Ogg, Senior IT Service Manager at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “When we heard the value of the grazing project for threatened and rare habitats in the park, we were delighted to be able to offer our help.”

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.