It’s “Green Park Grazing Week” this week, which means sheep and cattle will be roaming around the Royal Park munching away to keep the grasses low.
The idea of cattle grazing in the Royal Parks is as old as the parks themselves, but that fell out of favour with the arrival of machines that cut grass. However, there are wider benefits to the landscape from switching to the woolly form of lawnmower, so they’ve been reintroducing sheep to the parks.
During Green Park Grazing Week, rare breed sheep and cattle commute in daily from Mudchute Park and Farm on the Isle of Dogs to graze the park’s meadow just a short walk from the gates of Buckingham Palace.
The cattle and sheep are able to chew and digest the tough, hardy plants that can take over pastures and prevent other more delicate species from establishing, diversifying the food sources available for insects.
The animals also pass seeds and trample them into the soil, helping meadows to regenerate year after year. It’s not just a nice thing to do, as they are monitoring the impact on the areas grazed naturally versus cut with machines to check how natural grazing improves their biodiversity.
There will also be a roadshow about the event on two days – 20th and 22nd August 11am-3pm – near to the sheep pen.