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Last Updated: Monday, 30 April 2007, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Ancient cows help conserve forest
White park bull
Volunteers have been asked to keep a watchful eye on the cattle
A herd of ancient White Park cattle has made its fifth annual return to the Savernake Forest in Wiltshire, as part of a conservation project.

The breed - one of Britain's rarest - is brought in to graze the woodlands and help preserve wildlife habitats.

The 12 heifers, which normally graze on Salisbury Plain, will forage until October watched by local volunteers.

Grazier Pat Holloway said the cattle helped to create natural open glades where birds and flowers can flourish.

"They love brambles and woodland shrubs which can be difficult for foresters to manage and they also tread down the bracken," she said.

The forest, which is leased to the Forestry Commission from the Savernake Estate, is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its ancient wood pasture wildlife.

It includes open-crowned specimens of ancient oak and beech pollards and specialist lichen communities growing on them.


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