STROUD residents are being reassured this week that one centuries-old tradition will still be taking place with ‘Marking Day’ on Rodborough and Minchinhampton Commons which will see cows and other animals released this Wednesday.
Marking Day takes place each year on May 13 and is the date on or after which graziers can release their livestock to roam the ancient grasslands for the summer.
The free roaming cattle are essential to keep the grasslands rich in nature.
As the cows and other animals are released to graze more than 700 acres of National Trust common land, this year the public are being urged to be extra careful when using the commons, in order to protect the animals and those who care for them.
Residents are being urged to observe speed limits across the commons, avoid distressing animals by observing them only from a safe distance, practising responsible dog ownership by not allowing dogs to bother livestock or wash in animal troughs.
Ann Finlayson, chair of the Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons Advisory Committee said:“For all of us who live around Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons, Marking Day and the arrival of the cows and other animals onto the commons is a wonderful moment in the year, and with calendars currently looking rather bare, I know many are looking forward to it even more than ever.
“Though we all benefit from the livestock which grazes the common, few people understand quite how hard the graziers and the National Trust work to keep this centuries-old tradition alive, and maintain the delicate balance of these important limestone grassland habitats.
“I hope this year – as the graziers continue their work in difficult conditions – drivers and those using the commons will take extra care to respect the animals, keeping speeds low and maintaining a safe distance.”
Mark Dawkins, hayward of Minchinhampton and Roborough Commons said:“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, cattle and horses will be released onto Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons as usual on Wednesday.
“We are expecting some 350 beasts will be turned out on Minchinhampton Common and around 120 on Rodborough Common.
“Last year motorists were fantastic in keeping their speed down and looking out for cattle, especially after dusk, resulting in few casualties. I would ask all drivers to help again this year.”