Our conservation grazing service

Maydencroft Farm offers conservation grazing services to conservation bodies, land managers and local authorities interested in improving or conserving the natural environment. Our more formal approach to grazing land to an agreed specification enables us to provide our partners and clients with a unique conservation grazing service. However, there is more to successful working partnerships than just managing the grassland. A comprehensive service that includes positive interaction with the public is often essential. We pride ourselves in providing a friendly, approachable and informative service. We are happy to provide walks and talks on behalf of clients and partners explaining to the public the virtues of managing sites with traditional cattle breeds.

Why choose our Longhorns for conservation grazing?

The ability our animals have to turn rough and extensively managed pasture into the finest quality beef is well known. This coupled with a high take up of Environmental Stewardship Higher Level Schemes (HLS) has led to a resurgence of the breed.

With first-hand experience of delivering HLS Schemes at Maydencroft and other sites, our team has the expertise to work to the Natural England specification for habitat enhancement of grassland and historic parkland.

Using traditional and rare breeds of cattle, such as the Longhorn, our clients and partners can maximise the type of extensive grazing system necessary in HLS and historic parkland sites. The old breeds eat a much wider range of plants and grasses than modern commercial breeds, without losing condition. In fact, it's generally agreed that a mixed diet adds to the flavour of the meat! Another added benefit to grazing these old breeds in public parks, is that they are noted for being particularly docile and relaxed with people and importantly dogs.

The animals share a historical relationship with our landscape too. Our traditional cattle breeds have grazed across the country for hundreds of years. For this reason, the animals are particularly well suited to our environment. They have been bred over the centuries to make best use of native grasses and wildflowers without the need for intensive grassland management through fertilisers and pesticides.

Our Grazing Sites

Maydencroft Longhorns graze a wide variety of pasture in Hertfordshire and beyond. From open access land where their natural docility makes them an ideal choice, to areas of scientific interest, where their grazing tendencies enable them to help improve species diversity. Sites of particular interest include:

Holland Park, London

Central London is probably the most unlikely place you would expect to see Longhorn cattle but our cattle graze the enclosures known as the Oak enclosure and Arboretum in Holland Park. This is specified as an objective in the Woodland Management Plan: to restore and maintain meadow and grassland habitats.

Pishiobury Park, Sawbridgeworth

Pishiobury Park is located to the south of Sawbridgeworth. and was an "enclosed" park designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century. Maydencroft cattle were involved in a tagging project to measure grazing habits for the University of Hertfordshire.

Bricket Wood Common, Watford

This open access heathland is an excellent example of the benefits of native breed conservation grazing. Primarily consisting of acid grassland and heather, the cattle are there to help the acid grass and heather to spread. The cattle graze in Spring, and are then moved to allow the flowering of rare orchids, before grazing again after the orchids have flowered. This helps to disperse the orchid seeds as the cattle trample them throughout the heath. This diverse site also has a lot of young silver birch, which the cattle are able to keep under control. As Longhorns are docile and incurious beasts, horses and riders can have confidence when using the bridleway that goes through Bricket Wood Common.

Broxbourne Woods NNR

Hertfordshire's only National Nature Reserve (NNR) is also recognised as a Special Area of Conservation of European importance. Broxbourne Woods is a very large area of sessile oak and hornbeam woodland. Our cattle graze within the woodland glades in the summer months.

Ellenbrook Fields, Hatfield

Forming part of the former Hatfield Aerodrome, our largest grazing site is open to the public. A series of linking footpaths run through areas of open grassland and cattle grazing.