Local breed of cattle introduced at Nansledan meadow

Local breed of cattle introduced at Nansledan meadow

Herd of South Devon cattle in a field All pictures Hugh Hastings

A local breed of cattle has been introduced by the Duchy of Cornwall to meadowland on the edge of Newquay to encourage sustainable wildflower growth.

Pras Trewolek, which is Cornish for Trewolek Meadow, covers more than 75 acres of farmland on the eastern edge of Nansledan, the Duchy of Cornwall’s extension to the seaside town of Newquay.

The area was sown with wildflower rich grasslands by the Duchy in 2019 to create a rich natural habitat for wildlife that can be enjoyed by local people.

Now a herd of South Devon cows has been introduced to graze at the meadow as part of a regime to encourage growth of the wildflowers and promote wildlife. HRH The Duke of Cornwall is patron of the South Devon Herd Book Society.

Farmer Adrian Rundle and some of his family's South Devon cattle.

Farmer Adrian Rundle and some of his family’s South Devon cattle.

The cows are owned by Roger Rundle from nearby Kestle Farm, whose great grandfather established the award-winning herd in the late 1800s, making it one of the oldest South Devon herds in existence. The cows are known as ‘gentle giants’ for their docile nature and are efficient forage convertors, making them the perfect guests for the meadow.

Adrian Rundle, owner of the herd with his father Roger said: “We have a herd of 60 pedigree South Devon cows and we were delighted to be involved with this project. The Duchy of Cornwall was looking for quiet, docile cattle from the local area and what better than our South Devon cows.

“These cows are just over 12 months old. We brought them out after the winter weather and they’ve been at Nansledan ever since. It is such a wonderful environment for them to live and grow in.

“The idea behind the project at Nansledan is all about the environment and interacting with the public as well as encouraging the flora and fauna, the bugs and the birds. Our animals are a very important part in the ecology of what goes on at Nansledan.”

Roger Rundle (left) and son, Adrian, with their South Devon herd at Nansledan.

Roger Rundle (left) and son, Adrian, with their South Devon herd at Nansledan.

The cattle have settled in to the meadow, which is managed by Duchy of Cornwall tenant farmer George Thomas. He said: “This is a predominantly arable crop farming site but about 75 acres was rewilded with wild flowers two years ago. The meadow is looking stunning at the moment with all the wildflowers in bloom.

“It has been an interesting project to be a part of and it is so unique. This will enhance the wildlife established here at Nansledan, including increasing the insect biodiversity of the area and I am looking forward to watching what creatures move into the meadow that weren’t here before.”

Duchy of Cornwall tenant farmer George Thomas at Nansledan.

Duchy of Cornwall tenant farmer George Thomas at Nansledan.

Ben Murphy, Estates Director for the Duchy of Cornwall, said: “We’ve worked closely with George to set aside a very large area of farmland to create what has quickly become a fantastic community asset, especially during successive lockdowns throughout the pandemic.

“By restoring old habitats and creating new ones through interconnecting fields and hedgerows we are encouraging a rich diversity of wildlife and making it accessible for local people to enjoy. The meadows are proving a huge success, reconnecting the community with the natural world, food and farming, which we hope will promote health and wellbeing and countryside stewardship long into the future.”

Ben Murphy, Estate Director of the Duchy of Cornwall with tenant farmer George Thomas at Nansledan.

Ben Murphy, Estate Director of the Duchy of Cornwall with tenant farmer George Thomas at Nansledan.

Pras Trewolek also includes a mixture of hay meadows and permanent pasture, with new broadleaf woodlands and a hazel coppice to encourage traditional crafts like basket and hurdle making.

Some 3.7 km of pathways crisscross the area, with new walkways and viewing platforms over wetland areas, and traditional Cornish hedges and seating by talented stonemasons. Nest boxes across the site cater for bats and a variety of wild bird species, from nuthatches and dunnocks to kestrels and tawny owls.

Nansledan is a sustainable development being built over a period of 30 years which embodies the principles of architecture and urban design championed by HRH The Duke of Cornwall. It will eventually comprise a diverse range of 4,000 homes and a similar number of jobs in shops, offices, workshops and wider community facilities, along with various green spaces and play areas so that residents can meet their daily needs within a series of walkable neighbourhoods.

Pras Trewolek is part of a comprehensive ‘green infrastructure plan’ for Nansledan that is projected to increase overall wildlife habitats by 24% and hedgerows by almost 50%, far in excess of Cornwall Council’s requirement for development to provide 10% biodiversity net gain in line with the Environment Bill.

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