Latest News | 23 February 2023

Park rewilding project moo-ves forward

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Derby City Council and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have said that the first stage of work to transform a Derby park into the UK’s largest urban rewilding space is poised to begin.

Highland cattle have been grazing in fields at the park since 2015, and as part of the vision for the rewilding of Allestree Park, additional cattle will be brought in to graze on more of the parkland.

When the project is up and running, the cattle’s movements will be controlled by collars which will train them, through sound, to stay in particular areas of the park.

This means their presence will not limit dog walking and other use of the park space as they will be humanely contained by a ‘virtual fence’ in a small area of the 320-hectare park at any one time.

The first step is to install a small post and wire fence around the park perimeter, to provide a backup to the use of collars and additional protection for the cows from the surrounding area and roads.

The work has been made possible through the Trust’s Derwent Forest Landscape Recovery Project, which was recently awarded funding by Natural England to create connected wooded habitats between the Northern and National Forests to allow movement of species in response to climate change.

It’s the first initiative for rewilding Allestree Park following a public consultation to gather ideas about how it should be done.

Katherine Clarke, strategic lead of urban rewilding at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This is space that we want everyone to enjoy safely and be able to use, while making it even better for nature.

“Introducing more grazing cattle to Allestree Park has always been a key element of our shared vision to rewild the space at Allestree and we are delighted to be moving this exciting phase of the community rewilding project forward with our partners.”

Councillor Jerry Pearce, the city council’s cabinet member for Streetpride, leisure and public spaces, said: “This is an excellent initiative, which uses new technology to ensure we’re looking after nature in the park in the best way we can, while keeping the park an attractive and welcoming place for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“Allestree Park is a huge park, the biggest public green space we have in Derby, so there’s enough room for everyone, including more cattle.”

*Marketing Derby is set to hold a special event at Allestree Park on 4 April where Bondholders will be able to find out more about the trust’s rewilding project. More details will be released soon.

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