Over the summer we have had Highland cattle grazing on the river banks and the New Cut bank. There is a very clear grazing line into the Pennywort covering the New Cut, out as far as the cattle will wade. In the past we have raked the vegetation out with a 360 digger and piled it for the Buffalo, who love it slightly wilted, but this is the first true indication that it is truly palatable and chosen over almost every other plant in the grazing area. We have considered fencing the buffalo into the New Cut to see how they graze it but the breeding herd can be temperamental and too dangerous with only a temporary fence between them and the public footpath. However, we now have 3 young steers who are much calmer and we hope to do a grazing trial towards then end of next summer once the new fencing is in place and they’ve had a chance to settle away from the main herd.
We have been discussing the various options with Natural England and the Environment Agency and will raise our observations at the Cam Valley Forum in the hope that we can remove Pennywort from our rivers completely over time.