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Rare breeds making themselves at home in West Norfolk




Two groups of animals, which officials hope will help them to create a thriving environment, are settling into their new home in West Norfolk.

Around 30 head of rare Red Poll cattle have been brought to the Wild Ken Hill site at Snettisham from Essex.

And a herd of Exmoor ponies are also getting used to new surroundings on the site, following the recent release of two Tamworth pigs there.

Exmoor ponies are settling into the Wild Ken Hill land (43101592)
Exmoor ponies are settling into the Wild Ken Hill land (43101592)

The introduction of the rare breeds marks the latest phase of the site's major conservation scheme, which officials hope will restore the kind of environment which would have been seen in the area thousands of years ago.

Project manager Dominic Buscall said: "Each of these species will enhance the variety of habitats here as part of our conservation, rewilding and sustainable farming work where we seek to be national leader."

"The herds will not only help graze down vegetation, but also assist with seed dispersal, nutrient cycling, soil disturbance, and a variety of important natural processes."

Project Manager Dominic Buscall (43101588)
Project Manager Dominic Buscall (43101588)

It is expected that the Red Polls, who do not have any bulls among the herd, and Exmoors will graze and browse off vegetation on the site, which bosses hope will support the development of a healthy woodland pasture environment with high biodiversity.

Officials say the Exmoors will also help the growth of some species by taking dust baths that help to create areas of bare ground.

The arrival of the herds follows the release of two Tamworth pigs, which project leaders hope will help the restoration of the site's acidic heathland by disturbing the soil as they hunt for food.

Last month, two male beavers were also released in a move which it is hoped will launch a breeding programme to return the creatures to Norfolk after an absence of hundreds of years.

Officials hope the rare breed cattle will replicate how animals moved across the land thousands of years ago (43101584)
Officials hope the rare breed cattle will replicate how animals moved across the land thousands of years ago (43101584)

And the site has been praised by campaigners as an example of the kind of work to restore the natural environment that is needed in other parts of the UK.

The Wild Ken Hill site at Snettisham (43101600)
The Wild Ken Hill site at Snettisham (43101600)
Red Poll cattle (43101586)
Red Poll cattle (43101586)
Exmoor ponies can now be seen in West Norfolk (43101595)
Exmoor ponies can now be seen in West Norfolk (43101595)


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