Modern farming practices mean that wetlands
are no longer grazed as they would have been in the past. As a
result, many wetlands have few species and are dominated by scrub
or a few tall grasses and rushes.
Why grazing is important
Encouraging good grazing practice is a key component of wetland
management in order to control some of the taller plants and create
a varied sward, with different height levels.
How grazing is managed
Smaller lightweight breeds of cattle (including our traditional
Welsh Blacks) and Welsh mountain ponies are ideal. They graze
to create different heights of varied sward, which benefits many
specialised wetland plants and animals, particularly invertebrates.
These breeds are hardy enough to cope with rough vegetation,
undulating ground and wet conditions.
Sheep are generally less suitable and, although exotic grazing
animals such as water buffalo are used by some of our partners, CCW
prefers to use traditional breeds to show that you can manage
wetlands effectively with conventional stock.
The ideal on many wetlands is light grazing in late spring and
the summer months but very little grazing is needed on bogs. Many
swamps and, particularly, reedbeds are best left ungrazed.