Cost of Living Support Icon

Making space for nature banner


Conservation grazing in the country parks

The Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Vale Local Nature Partnership are working together to introduce conservation grazing into Porthkerry and Cosmeston Lakes Country Parks to improve the condition of the grassland. This forms part of the council’s commitment to manage local-authority owned green spaces better for biodiversity.


Cosmeston Conservation Grazing


Conservation Grazing Map - Cosmeston

Portkerry Conservation Grazing


Conservation Grazing Map - Porthkerry


Meadows are semi-natural habitats and require ongoing management. Conservation grazing is all about restoring damaged habitats to places rich in natural diversity, using cattle, sheep or horses. In the past, land would have been grazed by wild animals, or managed through traditional farming practices.


Since the 1930’s we have lost over 97% of our wildflower-rich grasslands through agricultural intensification and human development. Re introducing herbivores like sheep and cattle to graze our meadows will help limit this decline.


The Conservation Grazing project is funded by the Welsh Government’s ENRaW Local Places for Nature scheme. The grant is co-ordinated by the Vale’s Local Nature Partnership who works with the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Countryside team to deliver this project.




  • Why are you fencing off areas of the country park?

    We are aiming to create conservation grazing areas within the country parks to enhance biodiversity. Historically there would have been wild native grazing animals and traditional practices to maintain the structural diversity of the vegetation.
  • Will the public still have access to the site?

    Yes. The design of the fencing is aimed to allow people access all areas. Gated access points will be sited around the fence line, so that people are not impeded from accessing and enjoying the area. We ask that dogs are kept on a lead when animals are in the fields.
  • What about the visual impact?
    We understand people’s concern with regards to the visual impact the installation of fencing may have in what is otherwise an open landscape, and every care has been taken to minimise this. The grazing areas will have access points and gates will be left open while there is no livestock within these areas
  • What about the public’s safety around dangerous stock?

    Whilst we want the public to continue to visit and enjoy the sites when grazing animals our present, we need to manage any risk accordingly. At the offset we will put up signage at all access points on to the site to notify people that grazing animals are present, and to inform them of the dos and don’ts whilst they are there. It is important to make the public aware that the animals are not pets, but that they are semi-domesticated animals.


    The stocking densities of livestock on the sites will be quite low and in most circumstances the livestock will move away from the public areas if disturbed. We will not be keeping high-risk animals on the site such as cows with calves, bulls or stallions.

  • What type of animals will be grazed on the site?

    Cattle and sheep will be used to graze the site. We will use a local grazier who will agree to graze when we require so we can monitor the impact of the livestock in the areas and ensure that they are having the desired effect. It is likely that only sheep will be used at Porthkerry.
  • How do cattle and sheep help wildlife?

    When livestock are allowed to graze freely they select different plants, and even different parts of the plant, to nibble or browse. Over time, this selective eating by the animals creates a varied structure within the habitat. It is this that helps create the right conditions for a wide range of insects, birds, reptiles, mammals and plants to exist.
  • What are the alternatives?

    Without being able to graze, the only options would be mowing or burning. Both of these techniques cause rapid and dramatic habitat change and leave behind a uniform structure. Mechanical methods cannot replicate the unique conditions that animals create through their grazing, trampling and poaching. Mowing also requires the use of fossil fuels so conservation grazing contributes to lowering pollution – Project Zero.
  • Who will look after the animals?

    It will be the livestock owners’ responsibility to check the animals daily to ensure that their welfare is maintained, rangers will also keep an eye on the stock. If the public do see any issues then they should report it to the ranger service at either site.
  • How long will the animals be on the site?

    Conservation grazing will take place each year during the winter season from October through to March but stock will not be on site for that whole of that period.
  •  Will I have to put my dogs on the lead?

    While stock are on site within the fenced areas, dogs will be required to be put on a lead.
  • How to behave around livestock?
    • Please keep dogs on leads within fenced areas
    • Do not feed the animals
    • Be calm and quiet when near the livestock
    • Do not approach the livestock (maintain a distance of at least 5 meters where possible)
    • If they approach you please move away
  • How is this being funded?

    The Conservation Grazing project is funded by the Welsh Government’s ENRaW Local Places for Nature scheme. The grant is co-ordinated by the Vale’s Local Nature Partnership who works with the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Countryside team to deliver this project.



Contact us

For any questions please contact: