Training cattle under Knowle Hill?

Oil seed rape field under Knowle Hill
Oil seed rape field under Knowle Hill

Here I go again uploading a panoramic image of rural Devon that is likely to be of little interest to anyone outside of the county (or indeed many within it). To me this land of rolling hills and narrow country lanes is heaven on earth; to many, I accept, it may not be. This is close to Woodland, a tiny village west of Denbury, and the phrase deepest Devon was surely created for a landscape such as this.

I’ve uploaded quite a large image, made from 8 vertical photographs melded into a single panorama. It is best viewed as large as possible, so please click on the image two or three times until it fills the screen, or goes beyond it. There is a reason to do this.

I created the photograph to record what appears to be happening in the centre of this view. When I drove past here this morning I was struck by the fact that the cattle were all standing (and eating) on a long, narrow sliver of land from the bottom to the top of the hill, rather than spreading out, the way cattle would normally do. I couldn’t stop to record that particular view, but opted instead to park a little further away to put the scene into its landscape context.

What appears to be happening is that the farmer is allowing the cattle to feed on the oil seed rape in the field, and so trim and contain it, section by section, little by little. Immediately beyond the line of cows is flattened land, in the same field, so if I am right, this is certainly effective. You should just be able to see this in the image, but you’ll need to view as large as possible.

I have no idea how nutritious or beneficial oil seed rape is as food for cattle, but no doubt this practice is carefully managed and balanced, assuming that is what is actually happening here and I haven’t entirely misinterpreted it!

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