Cattle grazing and fencing at Stoke Park

Cattle grazing and fencing at Stoke Park

Cattle and goat grazing in Stoke Park, changes to gates and fencing and guidance for walking in fields with cattle in them.

What’s happening

Stoke Park has historically been used for grazing cattle.

Cattle grazing helps the land because it:

  • helps stop the spread of scrub and invasive, fast-growing trees, so that a wider range of grassland plants and wildlife can grow
  • provides a more sustainable and natural way to manage the land, particularly where scrub can’t be controlled by machines

As cattle grazing is re-introduced: 

  • fences will be put up that follow the line of old fences and where they are needed to stop cattle getting out of the field
  • pedestrian gates as well as squeeze points, this is access for people and dogs but not cattle, will be installed in the fences by taking into consideration the network of paths    
  • historic hedgerows will be restored
  • signs will be put up on site to direct you to the nearest gate

Using fields with cattle in

Cattle will be moved between fields in different parts of the estate from April to November. When cattle are grazing in a field, we’ll put up notices on the gates to the field. 

You’ll be able to walk through all fields with cattle in using a number of gates.  In fields where cattle are grazing you should: 

  • not approach, chase or feed the cattle
  • keep dogs on a lead at all times and if cattle approach your dog, let the lead go
  • shut gates behind you

If you want to avoid fields with cattle in, there are other areas of the estate you can walk in. 

In case of an emergency involving the cows such as injuries or dog attacks call David Baverstock and Son on 0770 468233.

Goat grazing in the WWII anti aircraft gun battery

From November 2020 through to March 2021 there will be 6 to 8 goats on site depending on the vegetation growth.

The goats’ primary purpose is to graze the scrub that has grown up around the Purdown Gun Battery. 

Depending on how they get on, and the vegetation, they may be back again in May to June 2021 in the lead up to the summer holidays. 

There will be a:

  • small shelter for the goats to provide them with some protection from the weather and a quiet place to rest
  • water trough inside the enclosure to ensure that they have plenty of water

Volunteers and the Street Goat team will be on site regularly to keep an eye on the animals and to provide them with hay and anything else they may need. 

Working with Street Goat in this way has multiple benefits to the site and community:

  • Keeping the scrub managed will help to preserve this precious piece of World War 2 heritage. 
  • Less scrub means better views of the monument, the park and Bristol, and also make the area feel safer and more loved.
  • Grazing the scrub using goats (as opposed to using a strimmer or mower) helps to promote better habitat for wildlife. 
  • Gives volunteers from the local community an opportunity to learn new skills and get closer to nature.
  • Allows visitors to the park an opportunity to learn more about goats and the benefits they bring.

You'll be able to walk through the gun battery when goats are grazing but we ask you follow the guidance below:

  • don't approach, chase or feed the goats
  • keep dogs on a lead at all times when goats are grazing
  • follow advice on goat-grazing times: notices will be located on the grazing areas to advise you when goats are grazing 
  • shut gates behind you

If you’re concerned about touching gates during this time, there is an alternative route that goes around the edge of the fenced area. 

The goats are the property of Street Goat and they will be responsible for their welfare. Contact Street Goat to raise any concerns.

Proposed changes to cattle fences and gates: response to feedback

Based on feedback about proposed changes to the cattle fences around the Vench, and installation of additional gates, we’ve decided to:

  • remove the fencing in front of the Vench: moving it back to the hedgeline to the east and west of the Vench
  • install 18 additional gates

These changes will now be carried out.

For details see our Stoke Park plans:

The feedback was received from:

  • an online form following published revised plans
  • emails before and after the revised plans were issued
  • the ‘walk and talk’ on the 26 January 2019
  • independent conversations including with a walking group

Stoke Park Risk Assessment around grazing

In running our estates we carry out risk assessments related to management and activities taking place.  This cattle grazing risk assessment (pdf, 128KB) (opens new window) relates to cattle grazing being introduced at Stoke Park. At the request of a number of interested parties we are publishing it.