Well I did have a suitable April Fool’s Blog planned for this morning, but unfortunately events at Hawley Meadows last night and today have rather taken over. Our cows play an important role in managing this lowland meadow to promote wildflowers and prevent succession to woodland. Cows have successfully been used for many years at Hawley Meadows, and it has been great seeing them settle in over the last couple of weeks.
This weekend Jenny and I have been managing the incident where 11 cattle escaped yesterday between 2pm and 3pm. They traveled via the railway and Blackwater Park, before being rounded up on the A331 and in Sandhurst Memorial Ground, where the Pistachio’s Cafe Owner kindly volunteered his fenced picnic area to become an impromptu corral. The call went out to our BVCP Team who live closer to site, with Emily and Laura rushing out to help. Many thanks go to the numerous people involved; Surrey Police, the British Transport Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire County Council Grazing Team, and good Samaritan’s, like Luke and Charlotte, and together we managed to keep the cattle safe and transport them back to the Hawley Meadows corral.
Two of the cattle were injured with wounds consistent with bite marks, so we think that they were attacked by dogs, then in panic ran through the fencing. We are working closely with Surrey Police who are keen to identify the dog owner, so please get in touch if you have any information.
Despite Laura and I repairing the broken fence by head-torch Saturday night, the remaining 7 cattle were similarly scared later on, turning up in Owlsmoor at midnight, from where they were collected. Whilst we investigate and resolve the issues that put our much-loved cows in danger, we have taken the sad decision to temporarily remove them from Hawley Meadows. Thank you to the Rangers at Manor Farm and Staunton Country Parks for their help relocating the cows.
After more fence repairs today we relocated another trailer-load of cows, leaving 4 safe in the corral with water, hay and a tarp we rigged up for shelter. Jenny and I will head down tomorrow to help load them.
After a hectic and exhausting weekend, I feel unbelievably privileged to work with such kind and dedicated team.
Senior Ranger Stuart