The Kingcombe Centre

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Grazing Animals for Conservation

Tues 19 – Weds 20 Sep 2017

Grazing c Nicola Hawkins

Image: Nicola Hawkins

Learn about the benefits, challenges and management techniques of using animals to improve a variety of wildlife habitats across Dorset.

The Dorset Wildlife Trust manage Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve and Powerstock Common with their own herds of cattle and sheep as part of the conservation management plan.  This course offers a unique opportunity to learn about how this is achieved, directly from our team, on a variety of SSSI habitats including heathland, meadows, grassland and woodland.  In addition, you will have the opportunity to visit offsite habitats and learn about the benefits and challenges in this approach. 

During the course we will look at habitat management, stockmanship, animal welfare, issues with public access and managing remote sites.  We plan to visit the following sites to demonstrate a range of habitats:

  • Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve – 180 hectares of grassland, including chalk, acid and neutral meadow.
  • Powerstock Common Nature Reserve – 112 hectares of ancient woodland, acid grassland and rush pasture.
  • Heathland reserves managed with ponies and cattle, and SSSI wet woodland managed with cattle.
  • The Isle of Portland - goat grazing landscape partnership project to clear scrub on inaccessible sites.
About the Leaders:

Ashlea Kirk grew up on a livestock and arable farm in Dorset, home to his father’s pedigree Angus herd.  He developed his farming knowledge through studying at Sparsholt College and working on the family farm.  Ashlea brought a commercial perspective to his role as Dorset Wildlife Trust’s stockman, which provides the modern balance required to manage the nature reserves for both conservation and farming requirements.

Emily Newton has had a lifelong interest in livestock, from growing up on a dairy farm in Devon to developing a particular interest in traditional breed cattle whilst studying at The University of Reading.  This interest has developed through her work for Natural England and the Rural Payments Agency, and most recently with Dorset Wildlife Trust as a conservation officer working on a variety of projects providing advice to local landowners.


£219 pp Residential  -   includes 1 nights sole occupancy accommodation, full board including a home-cooked breakfast, tea/cake, lunch and 3 course dinner, all tuition/activities.

£179 pp Non-Residential  -  includes all of the above except accommodation and breakfast.


The course will start at 10 am on Tuesday with morning tea, followed by the first morning session.  The course will finish at approximately 4pm on Wednesday with afternoon tea.

What to bring: 

Please bring; suitable clothing for being outdoors and walking, notepad and pen/pencil.

Note: There will be a fair amount of walking over rough terrain most days.  Please be prepared for this and for some standing as you listen to discussion points.

Looking for a longer break or coming from further afield? Why not book a B&B. 


info2   book
Book online by clicking the BOOK button or call the Booking Office on 01300 320684.  
Please read our Terms and Conditions before booking.
Download or view an Information Sheet by clicking on the Info button.
Comments from previous events:

The Conservation Grazing course was fantastic - really informative and it was brilliant to meet so many livestock farmers and have the opportunity to discuss livestock management with them.  I'd recommend this course to anyone else wanting to find out more about conservation grazing - Catharine.

Ashlea Kirk

Ashlea Kirk

Emily Newton

Emily Newton