Tuesday, 26 July 2011

In between the showers haymaking has been progressing at Cleadon hills SSSI.

There are areas which cannot be cut by machine. Every few years an effort is made to cut these areas by hand which is very time consuming and costly and means they are not quite as good as
they could be.
Over the long term it would be beneficial to graze the hay aftermaths (regrowth) and other areas in the autumn and spring. An initial consultation process is being started looking at the feasibility of grazing hardy Exmoor ponies over the area for a few weeks each year.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Have been across to Whittledene today and moved the sheep from the bbq field for a while. Then it was on up Kielder to check out the grazing at Bakethin and Yarrow and work out a plan for the next few months. Bakethin will be Exmoor ponies and Yarrow ponies and cattle. While we were up there it started to chuck it down and the rain has pretty much followed us all the way back to Gosforth.
On the way back we came around via Fontburn and the 2 ponies there look well with the site starting improve. I am going to put on a few sheep next week to help it along a bit. They will probably be Shetlands along with some others breeds yet to be decided, it depends which ones volunteer on the day!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Some Highland cows have now joined the ponies and sheep at Prestwick, they have not long since calved and have some cute little calves with them. They are very good mothers and protective of their offspring so it is best to keep a respectable distance from them until they settle in.

They will be grazing out on the rushy areas while it is fairly dry and the water levels reasonably low.

They were going to graze the fields beside the road for a few days but that has had to be postponed until some fencing work is done behind the houses. There was a gate missing and the garden fences don't seem to be 'Highland cow proof'! We wouldn't want them turning up to a barbeque uninvited!

Friday, 8 July 2011

The sheep are now off the top section of Whittledene aqueduct, which they have been grazing for the early summer period this year. They have moved to the bbq field where they will stay until the early autumn when they move back onto the aqueduct for the winter grazing period. It will be interesting to see what flower species come into bloom on the heavily grazed area later this summer.