Some Moo-vellous Additions to South Brent

For folks that live in the countryside, the arrival of a small herd of cows at our South Brent site of The Outdoors School really brought a disproportionate level of excitement from learners, staff, and visitors alike! To be fair, who could blame them – this mixed herd of iconic Dexters and Scottish Galloways are certainly very sweet. But why do you now have cows at your school site I hear you ask? Well, we’re here to tell you all about it! 

At our South Brent site, there are a few fields that are simply too steep to be used for any activities with our learners or to be managed with a tractor or farming equipment. So rather than let it sit empty, as part of our commitment to improving the land we work from, we’ve teamed up with Cows in Clover to put the land to good use. 

Cows in Clover are a conservation grazing enterprise, who aim to support Devon wildlife by grazing pastures in a nature friendly way. Desley White from the organisation, explains how the cows are going to help our site by grazing on it…

”There are nine cattle on site, a mixture of native breeds, Dexters (the smallest native breed), Galloways, and a Beef Shorthorn Cross. They do very well just on grass and can thrive on rough vegetation. They are all able to outwinter by growing thicker coats in the winter, though they do like a good hedge or clump of trees for the worst weather. They are excellent for improving biodiversity in many different ways, such as by creating a varied sward of grass lengths for different insects to use, by breaking up the ground with their feet and heads providing open soil areas for insects to dig into, and their dung provides a habitat for insects e.g. dung beetles, which provide food for many different birds.” 

In addition to being a great addition to our site for environmental reasons, the cows are also proving to be really valuable for our learners attending school at the South Brent site. They have been getting involved in ensuring their health by doing daily welfare checks. This is a brilliant way for them to take on some responsibility and practice taking care of other beings. It strengthens their connection with the natural world around them and also provides a therapeutic outlet as often people feel calmer, and their stress levels reduce when around animals. 

All in all, our small but perfectly formed herd is bringing us so much joy and they’ve only been with us a few weeks! The question is…do we stop at cows or are there other animals that might find their way onto our gorgeous South Devon site?! 

Author: Hannah Durdin, Content Officer & Forest School Leader

Date: Thursday 4th July 2024

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