Improving Biodiversity

Conservation Grazing

at Llyn Brenig

Brought to you by Welsh Water

Conservation Grazing At Llyn Brenig

Conservation grazing is the method of using low-intensity grazing by livestock such as cattle or ponies to help enhance natural diversity. With their feeding habits and bulk, animals keep aggressive plant species at bay and break up the ground. Their behaviour helps create the perfect conditions for a whole host of plants and insects which in turn support birds and mammals. It is a return to more traditional grazing practices but for the modern purposes of conservation.

The team at Llyn Brenig is trialling conservation grazing with highland cattle on the estate.

Historical & Environmental Context

Perhaps surprisingly, cattle grazing has historically had a more significant impact on the area’s natural environment compared to sheep. Evidence suggests that Neolithic farmers grazed cattle in the region as far back as 10,000 BC, whereas sheep grazing only became dominant around 1300 AD.

It is important to understand that sheep and cattle graze in different ways and that means that they have different effects on biodiversity.

Sheep are selective eaters, focusing on specific areas with palatable vegetation, resulting in over-grazed areas and patches of dense unmanaged vegetation.

In contrast, cattle graze more broadly, helping to break up dense ruderal vegetation and allow more light to the soil surface. A greater range of plants are able to germinate as a result attracting a more diverse wildlife.

Implementation at Llyn Brenig

Trial plots have been established, including both typical pasture areas and woodland areas. Highland cattle have been chosen as they are relatively docile and adept at consuming coarse material. Baseline surveys have been conducted to monitor biodiversity impacts.

You may notice that the cattle appear to be not fenced-in. That’s okay. We are trialling a system where they are tracked by GPS and contained within a geofence.

Volunteers are encouraged to participate in the project by contacting the team at for information on available opportunities.

Note for Walkers & Dog-Walkers

If you come across the cattle on your visit, we ask that you do not approach them and that you keep your dog on a lead. In exceptional circumstances, in the unlikely event that you feel threatened by the cattle, it may be appropriate to let the dog off the lead until it is safe to put it back on.

Other Conservation Projects

Brenig Osprey Project

Find out more about our stunning summer visitors and how you can observe them sustainably in their natural habitat.


Sand Martin Hotel

New in 2024, the artificial nesting site offers opportunities to observe the breeding season dramas of the gregarious sand martin.


Red Squirrel Scheme

Discover how Llyn Brenig is encouraging red squirrels in the area with boxes, bridges, DNA sampling – and pine martens!


Upcoming Events

May   Aug
Fish Farm Tours

Meet our dedicated fish farmers and gain insight into the nurturing of our stock of rainbow and brown trout.

Monster Mash (Autumn)

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to cast your line in the exclusion zone surrounding the fish farm…

Mar   Dec
Tagged Fish Competition

Find a tag and you could hook yourself a whopping £1000 in our Tagged Fish Competition.