Ornamental cattle   

The ornamental cattle spend much of the year in a huge fenced enclosure that dominates the centre of the marsh. But sometimes they are allowed to wander freely and appear to be harmless.

Presumably the fencing is there to stop nervous urbanites, unused to encountering cows, from worrying about the beasts. A century ago when locals really did graze animals on the marshes, they tended to have sheep and goats. If the regional park authority got rid of the cattle and replaced them with ornamental sheep and goats, which are certainly no less attractive than cattle, could some of the fences come down? However, this would probably contravene the terms of the SSSI which for some eccentric reason specifies grazing by horses and cattle, even though there probably were no cattle on the marsh 100 years ago and horse traffic used to be banned! See picture taken in about 1909.

Click to see larger version of this picture.
Cattle grid in Sandy Path.
Hungry cattle January 2010.

Lea Marshes