A new website has been created to help children learn how the managed grazing of cows, sheep and horses plays a key role in preserving biodiversity in our countryside. 

Conservation grazing helps to control any aggressive and invasive plants, and creates habitats which encourage pollinators, ground nesting birds, butterflies and other species to flourish. 

Developed by Bridgend County Borough Council, and funded by European grants, a new ‘Digital Shepherd’ website is packed with lesson plans and resources that schools can use to educate pupils aged from tots to teens about the importance of conservation grazing. 

The website also explains how people should behave more responsibly around livestock. 

Councillor Charles Smith, the council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “When you’re out in the local area visiting nature reserves or other green spaces, you may come across grazing livestock without realising the importance of why they are there. “Eco-system decline is one of the biggest challenges we face in the world today. Managed conservation grazing is essential for reversing that decline so I’m pleased to see these new online resources being made available that are suitable for teachers to use from the foundation phase up to key stage five.


“I’m sure that teachers will find it an interesting subject to cover with younger children, while older pupils can explore the biology of eco systems in more depth. “I’d also like all residents to be aware that there are several rules to follow around these animals to enable conservation grazing at sites such as Kenfig National Nature Reserve. Firstly, please keep dogs on leads and clean up any dog mess. Also, please don’t leave litter as that could be eaten by the animals, or the packaging could injure them.

“It’s also really important not to touch the livestock or feed them, or to start fires nearby. Fenced boundaries should be respected and please don’t ride motorbikes or quadbikes near the animals. “Animals and plants need other animals and plants to help them survive and thrive. We need them too, so please look after our countryside for future generations.”

The ‘Digital Shepherd’ website can be found at www.bridgendreach.org.uk/digital-shepherd. The project has been developed by the council’s Bridgend Reach Rural Development Team in partnership with Think Learn Challenge. 

The project has received £13,000 funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. 

There are 21 rural wards in Bridgend County Borough that are eligible for rural development funding. If you have ideas for your rural community that   you would like to develop, please visit www.bridgendreach.org.uk or email reach@bridgend.gov.uk for further information.