Hart District Council are working in partnership with the RSPB to reintroduce grazing cattle to the wider Hazeley Heath site, following a successful 5-year grazing trial and consultation period. Sectary of state consent for this project was granted on the 11 April 2018. The first phase of works will started at the end of April 2021. This project is part funded by Natural England, developer's contributions and Countryside Stewardship funds.
Conservation grazing plays a key role in maintaining rare habitats like heathland. Amongst many other benefits, grazing is a sustainable way of controlling aggressive species which would otherwise dominate areas through scrub encroachment. Historically, livestock were grazed on the heath by commoners exercising their rights.
The first phase of the works will see the installation of the permanent fencing, which will include multipurpose access gates, see map here. This fence line follows the sites boundary beside the busy B3011 and is being installed as a precautionary measure to prevent the cows from getting onto the road.
On Hart-owned land, when the cattle are introduced, they will be grazing within the ‘grazing zone’ shown on this map. This area will be managed using invisible fencing technology, meaning there will be no permanent fencing structures put up within the site. This technology could also allow for the grazing zone to be further split into compartments, creating a more targeted grazing regime. As cattle will not be freely grazing across the whole site, visitors will have the option to avoid the cows completely, allowing free use of other areas for recreational purposes if preferred.