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A herd of cows will bring their eating skills to Manor Park in West Malling to help keep things trim from Monday

They’re not your average alternative to a lawnmower but park rangers in West Malling are bringing in a herd of cows to cut their grass.

The herd of Herefordshire cows, along with a few Dexters, will arrive in Manor Park on Monday, May 4, with one goal: to eat.

It’s the fourth year members of Kent County Council’s countryside team have taken the old-fashioned step and brought in the gentle grazers to prune the foliage in a natural way.

The herd will chow down in one of the two fields in the park – Chestnut Meadow or Abbey Field – but one will be left cattle-free for visitors to enjoy while they do.

Ranger Joshua Gearing said: “They are traditional hardy breeds, and are also docile, so the public needn’t worry, and they eat a range of grasses and leaves.

“More modern breeds prefer to feed on lush, green grass. These are not fussy.

Manor Park in West Malling
Manor Park in West Malling

“When cows graze, the grass is left in different lengths, which provides micro climates for insects while their hoof action creates little divots.”

He added: “A lot of thinking has gone into this. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement with the grazier. And as far as the cows are concerned, they come and eat.”

During their stay, which may last to September, their grazier from Roundoak Farm in Sutton Valence will keep an eye on them and maintain the fenceline.

The project was first started in 2012 when the farm provided a herd of Highland cattle for the job.

KCC’s countryside team employ the same technique with several other country parks including Teston.

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