Project information

Living Lawnmowers - Sponsor a grazing herd

The more grazing animals we have, the more land we can improve for wildlife! This is best done by cattle, sheep and ponies supporting the efforts of our two-legged workforce by helping keep down the vegetation, improving the biodiversity on our grasslands so wildflowers and meadows can flourish.


Charity information: London Wildlife Trust

London Wildlife Trust logo
  • Need


    Our grasslands and the wildlife that depends on them are under threat. Before WW2 our meadows and grasslands were full of wildflowers and insects. As agriculture intensified, and the use of herbicides and fertilisers increased, traditional management techniques declined. Grasslands got developed, improved for agriculture, converted into gardens, and planted over with trees. Coupled with the fact that the remaining tracts of land are deteriorating because of poor management, the need is urgent.


    Our ‘Living lawnmowers’ graze selectively, creating a mosaic of micro habitats which increases species diversity. Lying, rolling, trampling and pushing also serve to increase diversity of the land and produces bare areas, important for ground nesting birds, seedling regeneration, reptiles and invertebrates. The presence of livestock on our nature reserves provides an environmentally friendly way of keeping the meadows in good condition, supplementing a traditional mowing regime.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To establish more grazing herds on our reserves, increasing the natural value of our green spaces


    » Introduction of different animals on to more land areas across our nature reserves
    » Coordinate with local graziers
    » Install fencing to maintain safety of the public and herds

    What success will look like

    Success will be the safe introduction of grazing animals on to our nature reserves.

    Aim 2

    Deliver learning opportunities for our local communities, volunteers, staff and trainees


    » A ‘Lookering’ training programme to enable local community to monitor the herd
    » Provision of guided-walks, conservation management skills and educational workshops to schools and participants from the local communities
    » The ability to facilitate a varied programme of Wild Workdays whilst the herd are on site

    What success will look like

    Success will be the delivery of a number of hands-on and inspirational outdoor learning experiences for our staff, volunteers, supporters, and the local communities.

  • Impact


    Establishing grazing herds on key sites would allow us to improve and support the management of Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) and contribute to the delivery of London’s Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Habitats. The learning opportunities associated with this would also reflect one of our strategic aims, of providing hands-on informative and inspirational outdoor learning experiences for people in London.


    The natural spaces in London that many of us treasure face pressures from development and climate change, while the resources to manage them are increasingly vulnerable to public austerity. London Wildlife Trust has responded to this by sourcing new methods of income generation to maintain our grazing programme, such as sponsorship opportunities. If we do not act now the remaining meadows will be lost forever.


    Supporters will receive e-mail updates on herd numbers and hectarage of improved habitat from the Reserves Manager. This information will also be shared via our website and social media platforms.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £29,037

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      Amount Heading Description
      £15,232 Staff & Volunteer Costs Covering the costs of staffing for 2 days per week, and volunteer expenses
      £9,000 Materials Fence installation, improvements and upkeep to ensure animal security
      £2,805 Grazing Stock Supply of animals from graziers, transport costs and husbandry visits
      £2,000 Training Stock 'looker' training programme

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    EU Higher Level Stewardship Agreement £11,900 Conditional
  • Background


    Crane Meadows - old pasture, wet woodland and river habitat, restored wildflower meadow is perfect for invertebrates
    Hutchinson's Bank - an extensive area of a dry chalk valley and ancient woodland, a great place to find orchids, rare grasses and butterflies
    Saltbox Hill SSSI - a precious fragment of surviving downland, many rare species of wildflower, butterfly and grasses have been recorded on the site
    Totteridge Fields - ancient hay meadows, an excellent nesting and feeding site for birds


    London is facing unprecedented challenges to meet the essential needs of a growing population. We believe it is possible to balance responsible development whilst protecting the city’s nature and enhancing her biodiversity. Our key beneficiaries are the people and wildlife local to the sites grazed by the herds initially, but also includes volunteers, partner organisations and communities from all over London involved in the grazing programme.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We believe our role is becoming ever more important in a London facing significant growth, a housing crisis and the impacts of climate change during a period of political uncertainty. We see people increasingly disconnected from the surrounding natural environment. Despite these challenges, we believe we can create real change over the coming years and help secure a better, wilder future for London.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Tom Hayward

    Tom is our Reserves Manager and is responsible for overseeing the grazing programme

    Shaun Marriott

    Shaun is one of our Conservation Officers for South London, is trained as a ‘looker’, and will be helping to train other staff and volunteers

    Wild Talent Trainees

    Our trainees will help the conservation officer and volunteers undertake livestock checks and movements

Hovis, the English Longhorn

Hovis, the English Longhorn