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Page last updated at 08:43 GMT, Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Rare animals used to restore a Gateshead meadow
Longhorn cattle

Rare breed animals have been brought in to help restore a wildflower meadow to its former glory and encourage the return of wildlife.

Hebridean sheep and Longhorn cattle from Bill Quay Community Farm have been used to help bring back life to the meadow at Wardley, Gateshead.

Breeding skylark have already returned to the 24-acre grassland and it is hoped that more animals will join them.

It is hoped the plans will ease the pressure on threatened species.

Wild flower meadows across the country are being lost due to development, intensive agriculture and forestry.

Livestock grazing allows wild flowers to prosper benefitting insects and other animals.

Singing skylarks

It's not just the animals that are helped by the improvements though.

There are new footpaths and hedgerows in the meadow and hundreds of yards of old derelict post and wire fencing have been removed.

The improvements to the Wardley meadow play a part in the Durham Biodiversity Action Plan which exists to help threatened species and habitats.

This involves the restoration of flower rich grasslands.

Gateshead Council cabinet member for the environment, councillor Martin Gannon said: "It is always sad to see natural habitats destroyed and it is estimated that a staggering 95% of this country's flower-rich meadows have been lost since the 1930s.

"It is brilliant news that skylarks can once again be heard singing over the meadow at Wardley."


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