HORSES have moved out and cattle have moved in at a South Yorkshire nature reserve.
The longhorn cattle have settled into their new home at Woodhouse Washlands - between Woodhouse Mill and Beighton in Sheffield - where they will help to create the right conditions for a host of other wildlife, including nationally-threatened lapwings and skylarks.
The animals have been installed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust which manages the nature reserve.
The move comes after the trust was forced to take legal action against a local whose horses were grazing on the land near the River Rother.
Locals feared the horses, which had been on the site since 2009, had been abandoned but it later emerged their owner was serving a jail term and the horses were relocated earlier this year.
In years gone by Highland cattle grazed at the reserve.
Their new replacements are of a gentle nature despite their impressive horns.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s reserve programme manager, Nabil Abbas, said: “Grazing is essential for wildlife-rich grassland as it keeps dominant vegetation in check, and allows more delicate wild flowers a chance to become established.
“This in turn, along with other factors such as trampling and dung deposited by the cattle, is helping to maintain and improve the reserve for a multitude of other species including many insects and ground-nesting birds.”
Woodhouse Washlands is a 55-hectare nature reserve which forms an important haven for a range of rare species, and has been managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust since 1994.