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Conservation grazing is a centuries-old land management method using animals to preserve ecosystems like grasslands, healthland, and wetlands. Some of Croydon’s chalk grasslands would have been grazed from the mediaeval times until conservation grazing was abandoned, in some places as long as a century ago. Now, it’s making a gradual return.


Sheep are the most efficient at grazing thanks to their hardiness and ability to break down toxins. It’s mostly native British sheep that are put to graze.


Herdwick sheep have grey or brown coats and white faces, and are from the Lake District. Previously a rare breed, it was famed author Beatrix Potter who changed this. With the money she made from her books, she bought farms that she then gifted the National Trust on her death on the condition that they only graze with Herdwick sheep.


Beulah sheep with black-speckled faces from Wales’ Black Mountains, and the unique Jacob sheep with horns and piebald coats.


Best at controlling scrub, the more woodier plants, are the goats. For example, the quarry at Kenley has an abundance of rare orchids and kidney vetch, but the silver birch tree is trying to colonise the area. The goats keep this under control.

Then there are the brown Sussex cattle, known for being docile. From the first week of July you’ll be able to see the Coulsdon Commons’ cattle roaming on the meadows and paths, gently grazing away.

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