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2 October 2010
Tregeseal Stone Circle damaged by cattle

Helen Mark of BBC Radio 4 was in Cornwall (England) recently to explore the reintroduction of cattle to grazing on the Penwith Moors, the intention of which is to improve the area's bio-diversity. This 'Conservation Grazing' plan has upset some of the local community. She met with archaeologist Craig Weatherhill at the Tregeseal Stone Circle to hear about the damage he says is being caused to these ancient monuments by the horns of the non-native Longhorn breed of cattle being grazed on the moors. Craig also described to Helen the difficulties faced by horses and their riders from the newly erected gates and fences which they have to pass through.
     At Carn Galva, one of Cornwall's most unique and pre-historic landscapes, Helen met Peter Bowden from Natural England and Jon Brookes of the National Trust who explained the reasons for the conservation grazing scheme and how important it is to this ancient landscape. The heathland is of national and international importance and the grazing scheme is intended to open up footpaths the natural way, avoiding the need for heavy machinery and herbicides, and fences and cattle grids have been put there to keep cattle in and not people out.
     When Helen joined Ian Cooke and Steve Yandall of the Save Penwith Moors campaign, she heard about their concerns for the environment and how emotional they felt to have barbed wire fences appearing out on the moors. At Trengwainton Farm near Penzance, farmer Stephen Bone took Helen to a part of his land that his father fenced and grazed 40 years ago and which soon became waist high in bracken when the cattle were taken in. Stephen is actually now re-fencing his land to graze animals there as part of the Conservation Grazing Scheme. He told Helen that he has offered an olive branch to those opposed to the scheme by suggesting that he take his livestock in during the busy summer months and school holidays.
     Stephen Warman has been brought in to try and resolve the situation and to narrow the gap between the two opposing sides. Where do they all go from here in order to manage the moors in the best way for all those who care about this landscape?

Edited from BBC Radio 4 (9 September 2010)

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