Cattle-grazing is essential in creating the right conditions
for birds on the reclaimed marshes.
Summer grazing keeps the grass the right length, ie 5-10 cms
by mid-October. This provides the best grazing for wintering
pink-footed geese, brent geese and wigeon.
Regular wildfowl grazing during the winter produces a very
short turf by the spring, which is ideal for breeding lapwing
Suckler herds and store cattle commence the grazing season
around 20th May (the late turn-out is so that birds' nests
don't get trampled). The cattle graze throughout the summer
and are taken off the marshes around 15th October, although
in some years grass and ground conditions are suitable for
cattle to stay on until November.
The stocking rate averages about 1 cow per acre throughout
Cattle are provided by local farmers who are tenants of the
Holkham Estate, or who rent the grazing on an annual licence.
Cattle are best but sheep are sometimes used, when there aren't