Conservation Grazing

One of the ways in which wildflower meadows are kept in peak condition is through the process known as conservation grazing. Animals, primarily cattle, are allowed to graze the meadows at certain times throughout the year. Traditional breeds of cattle which can cope with local conditions are used as these can prosper on grassland which would be too poor in nutrients to support modern breeds.
At Oxford Island, Irish Moiled Cattle and Dexter cattle graze the fields, keeping dominant plant species in check and allowing wildflowers to flourish. Grazing also helps to control the spread of invasive scrub and by trampling the ground the cattle help to produce small pockets in which wildflower seeds can germinate.

Irish Moiled

These are the rarest surviving breed of Irish cattle. Being hardy they can survive outside during most winters. They are usually reddish with a white stripe running along their back but can vary in colour, some being mostly red.


The Dexter is an ancient breed and is extremely hardy. They can adapt to a wide range of conditions and will thrive even on sparse vegetation. Being a smaller animal they are suited to grazing lowland wet meadows which would quickly become poached if grazed by larger breeds.