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Tregeseal Stone Circle damaged by cattle

A recent episode of BBC Radio 4's Open Country reveals that a controversial grazing scheme is blighting the sacred and spiritual landscape of West Penwith and that cattle have destabilised the Tregeseal Stones:

BBC Radio 4 Open Country - Conservation grazing in Cornwall

Helen Mark is in Cornwall to find out why the reintroduction of cattle to graze the Penwith Moors of Cornwall and improve the area's bio-diversity has upset some of the local community. She meets up with archaeologist Craig Weatherhill at the Tregeseal Stone Circle to hear about the damage he says is being caused to these ancient monuments by the horns of the non-native Longhorn breed of cattle being grazed on the moors. Craig also tells Helen about the difficulties faced by horses and their riders from the newly erected gates and fences which they have to pass through.
At Carn Galva, one of Cornwall's most unique and pre-historic landscapes, Helen meets up with Peter Bowden from Natural England and Jon Brookes of the National Trust who explain the reasons for the conservation grazing scheme and how important it is to this ancient landscape. This heathland is of national and international importance and the grazing scheme is intended to open up footpaths the natural way, avoiding the need for heavy machinery and herbicides, and fences and cattle grids have been put there to keep cattle in and not people out. However, when Helen joins Ian Cooke and Steve Yandall of the Save Penwith Moors campaign, she hears about their concerns for the environment and how emotional they felt to have barbed wire fences appearing out on the moors. But when she arrives at Trengwainton Farm near Penzance, farmer Stephen Bone takes Helen to a part of his land that his father fenced and grazed 40 years ago and which soon became waist high in bracken when the cattle were taken in. Stephen is actually now busy re-fencing his land ready to graze animals there as part of the Conservation Grazing Scheme. He tells Helen that he has offered an olive branch to those opposed to the scheme by suggesting that he take his livestock in during the busy summer months and school holidays.
Finally, Helen meets up with Stephen Warman who has been brought in to try and resolve the situation and to narrow the gap between the two opposing sides. Where do they all go from here in order to manage the moors in the best way for all those who care about this landscape?.

Listen again:

For more information visit:

Photo's of Longhorn cattle at Tregeseal Stone Circle
Posted by Wyrdstan
11th September 2010ce
Edited 11th September 2010ce

Comments (3)

Thanks Wyrdstan.

Heritage action did a feature on the problem back in May 2009 - - should you also be interested in commenting there.
Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
11th September 2010ce
Thank you Littlestone.

A similar grazing scheme has adversely affected the ambience of the Malvern Hills.
The Malvern Hills Conservators have recently been questioned about their powers to erect temporary electric fences on the hills and the superficial damage to a section of the Shire Ditch (a Scheduled Ancient Monument) that has been caused by cattle.

More details are available in the Conservators board minutes:

Malvern Hills Conservators Meeting of the Board March 2010
Malvern Hills Conservators Meeting of the Board May 2010
Posted by Wyrdstan
11th September 2010ce
Natural England who......... "We run England’s Environmental Stewardship green farming schemes which deliver over £400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England’s farmland."

£400 million pounds to adminster seems to be the problem ;). Its a bit like the old enclosure acts that hedged and privatised large tracts of land, and of course not to be forgotten but is'nt this government talking about selling off land in the public domain?
moss Posted by moss
11th September 2010ce
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