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SUNBURY PARK ... Cows in the Park
Sunbury Park, part of a mosaic of green space in Spelthorne that allows wildlife to flourish, was originally part of the flood meadows of the River Thames. The Park was farmed for hundreds of years, evidenced by the drainage channels that run across the park and in the Ha-Ha that prevented grazing animals accessing the garden of Sunbury House which lay adjacent to Thames Street.
Today the Park has extensive areas of grass-land, scrub and woodland and is bounded by ancient walls, each of which has it’s own distinctive fauna and flora.
The grass-land, the most extensive area in the Park, has 17 or more grass species, a diversity that depends on its annual grazing or cutting in late summer. Cattle-grazing is ideal for this, since cutting is expensive and seldom undertaken at the right time of year. Grasses and other common plants in the Park , such as bacon-and-eggs, sorrel, bedstraw, trefoil, nettles and rose-bay willow-herb, are the food-plants of many insects, such as Brimstone, Peacock, Comma, Orange Tip, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Holly Blue and Common Blue Butterflies.
The Park’s Conservation Management Plan has identified six Nationally threatened, 11 rare and 47 uncommon insect species in the Park.
Courtesy of Sunbury Matters - October 2014
Aberdeen Angus Cow
A Council spokesman said the Belted Galloways were not available, and the other breed were recommended instead.
The cows are there to help control invasive grassland species and make way for a greater diversity of wildflowers. They will graze in the main part of the Park and not in the area above the Ha-Ha by the Walled Garden or in Orchard Meadow.
A Council spokesman said access to the Park remains unchanged and signs have been put around the Park, adding: “As is always the case, visitors are asked to keep their dogs under control.”
Belted Galloway Cow and Calf
Six Aberdeen Angus cows – a breed known for quality meat – are settling into their new home at Sunbury Park amid concern from walkers about stepping in animal dung.
While the council says the trial is in place to improve biodiversity, some park users are concerned about the safety of sharing the park with the bovine beasts and dodging the increasing number of cow-pats.
Most people were expecting the arrival of Belted Galloway cows following the pilot’s approval by Spelthorne Council ’s Cabinet, but were shocked to find six Aberdeen Angus cows living on the land.
Holly Blue Butterfly
Meadow Brown Butterfly
Orange Tip Butterfly
To get an overview on the Cows in Sunbury Park, visit the following sites ...