COWS returned to Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons to graze yesterday, after being kept in sheds and overwintering fields during the colder months.
Known as ‘Marking Day’ the return takes place on May 13 every year.
Gloucestershire Camera Club member Jo Cope took these amazing photos of some of the cows as they enjoyed their new environment, with a few taking a stroll around Minchinhampton town.
This year, residents are being asked to give cows and other livestock their own ‘social distance’, following their release.
Cows and other animals began to be released onto Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons for the summer season yesterday (Thursday), the Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons Advisory Committee is asking residents to remember to give livestock their own ‘social distance’ when crossing the commons by car or on foot.
Each year, Marking Day on May 13 marks 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 take extra care when using the commons, remembering to give the animals their own ‘social distance’ – passing wide and slow in vehicles and respecting their personal space when on foot – as part of everyone’s duty to play their part in protecting the animals.
Ann Finlayson, chair of the Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons Advisory Committee said: “For many, Marking Day is one of the highlights of the calendar, as we begin to see cows and other livestock released onto the commons for the summer. However, it is also the time of year where we need to remember how we can play our part to protect our bovine and equine friends.
“This year, we are asking everyone to remember to give the animals their own ‘social distance’ when crossing the commons – passing wide and slow in vehicles and respecting their personal space when we are on foot.
“Residents and visitors can also help by taking all plastic and dog waste home with them – taking care not to even abandon it temporarily to collect later – as this can be detrimental to the health of livestock.”
Marking Day takes its name from the historic practise of bringing cows from their home farms to a pound at the Old Lodge to be “marked” – so they could be identified later – before they were freed. Though marking now takes place elsewhere, the date is still marked in the minds of all the graziers.
Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons comprise more than 700 acres of open space, and are recognised as of national and European importance for their limestone grassland.
The National Trust has owned and maintained Minchinhampton Common since 1913 and Rodborough Common since 1937 and has an obligation to protect the landscape, ecology and archaeology of the area.