Sunday, 19 May 2013

Mind The Gap

A little late but a very welcome sight is the return of cows to Petersham Meadows. The old Petersham Herd of cows and calves have been replaced by ten Belted Galloways. These good natured, hardy animals are naturally without horns and have a characteristic white band around their middle. Some are still in their winter coat, hence the shaggy appearance. The steers are owned by the Surrey Wildlife Trust who’ve adopted the breed for grazing other reserve land.

Belted Galloways crossing the public footpath
The cows checkout the drinking arrangements

Dogs are now banned on Petersham Meadows during the grazing season, April to October, and subject to a £1000 fine. Temporary signs have been erected at each entrance but many dog walkers appear unaware of the new arrangements. Also a new fence has been constructed along the inside of the towpath to prevent dogs entering the Petersham Meadows and provides a route for the public during high tides.
Confusing signs misleads dog walker
New fence and gates

For two seasons the risk averse National Trust have restricted cows on Petersham Meadows and limited public access. This season the cows are the responsibility of the Surrey Wildlife Trust, the Council are in charge of signage and dog enforcement and the National Trust can rest easy. This new arrangement leaves sufficient gaps to avoid any potential liability.

 Temporary signs