A heard of grazing cows will be calling a nature reserve home for the next month to help maintain wildlife within the area.

Three Red Pole and three Dexter breeds arrived at Roding Valley Meadows in Loughton on Thursday Morning where visitors will get the chance to see them roam the fields.

The cattle will have the important task of improving the biodiversity and wildlife within the reserve by eating large tussocks of grass, a traditional method used for centuries.

Jamie White, assistant ranger at Roding Valley Meadows, said the grazing cows have arrived later than usual this year due to last year’s extreme dry weather last year: “I’m quite excited because we have wanted to get them on for a while, they normally come around April time.

To maintain the land, Roding Valley Meadows partner with different companies and farmers who provide the cattle to graze the land.

After the cows have been returned, park rangers will let the grass grow, followed by a traditional hay cut which is then distributed.

“Cows are good for grazing because they will pick different bits bumps and bits which is great for wildlife including starlings and woodpeckers,” explained Mr White. “We have got sectioned off at the moment to stop them escaping across the river, over the next week or two we will get to know their personalities so we will see who the leaders and the followers are.”

Visitors to the site are kindly asked by staff to ensure all gates are closed on site and that all dogs are kept on a lead.