Cothill Pitt ('Hitchcopse South Sandpit') is now fully fenced off and has been the home to a handful of Dexter cattle over the winter and spring. This management approach is new for the site but similar temporary grazing is used by BBOWT in nearby reserves and elsewhere by The Wildlife Trust.
Initial observation suggests the cattle might be performing a beneficial role in eating much of the ivy off peripheral trees.
However, work is still needed to find the right strategy for this unique habitat as late removal of the cows this year (early June) has suppressed much of the floral interest - a notable lack of viper's bugloss and field scabious can be seen in the above photo, in stark contrast to the plants flowering in the fence line just outside the gate (see photo below).
It will be interesting to see if any of the taller flowers - especially the scabious - manage a late flush. If the Dexters are reintroduced to graze next year it is hoped they will be removed by end of April at the latest.
Tree bumblebee visits viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare) just outside Cothill Pitt