Map of UK Conservation Grazing Schemes

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Cotswolds Grazing Project

Location:Cotswolds Grazing Project

Habitats:Limestone pavement & grassland

Livestock:Cross breeds

In brief:Aiming to restore, enhance and maintain limestone grasslands in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds through conservation grazing and to demonstrate the value of traditional native breeds in utilisation of grassland sites of marginal productive use, and illustrate the economic potential to graziers of taking on this sort of management.

Contact:Matt Stanway

Tel:07909 872497

Email:matt.stanway@nationaltrust.org.uk

Weblink:


The Gloucestershire Cotswold Grazing Animals Project is a result of an amalgamation of 2 separate beef suckler herds that had been used for grazing unimproved limestone grassland sites in the central and southern Cotswolds. This partnership between NT and English Nature (EN) set out with the primary objective of achieving appropriate management of unimproved limestone grassland sites through conservation grazing.

  • Project now fully established and working effectively to cover over 150 ha of limestone grasslands in the Cotswolds, in total over 30 separate sites.
  • Marketing of the beef product from the scheme is very low key but maintains high assurance standards and utilises branding and endorsements already in existence, these include the NT logo and Freedom food assurance label

Standards of animal welfare provide marketing edge

Freedom Foods is seen as the highest animal welfare standard in the UK. Used as a baseline assurance by the National Trust in joint projects such as the Gloucestershire Cotswold Grazing Animals Project

Lessons Learned

  • Keep all management as simple as possible. This includes stock, marketing and selling
  • Promote as much as possible to ensure continued funding, public and colleague support
  • Identify at the outset the real costs involved including all resources
  • Identify and use best practise from what is already out there – keep informed
  • If own animals not available consider paying other graziers to graze for you – it may be cheaper overall.
  • Farmers grazing costs are lower than that of an organisation/project as labour costs, stock purchase etc are spread over bigger area.
  • What are your standards/accreditation – do you need to compromise?