Trust Says Cattle Won’t Stop Clay Pigeon Shooters

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust has denied that they prevented the clay pigeon club from carrying out their weekly shoot at Giant’s Castle.

A posting appeared on the website of Save Our Scilly on Sunday, stating that there was a “seemingly deliberate act” by the Trust to prevent the club from shooting at the site by fencing off the area and introducing cattle.

The organisation has campaigned to stop the Trust’s policy of grazing animals on the islands.

Club member, Ritchie Christopher, said they’ve held a license to shoot at Giant’s Castle during the winter for over 30 years. He said he was surprised to hear the Trust had put cattle there and a few other members were upset at being kept off the land.

He said it’s a busy time of the year for the club with festive shoots on Boxing Day, Christmas Sunday and New Year’s Day.

But Wildlife Trust officer David Mawer said the club’s chairman, Roger Banfield, was informed last week that the cattle would be grazed at Giant’s Castle. He said the club agreed to continue to use their summer shooting ground at Clapper Rocks for the Christmas period.

David said the recent wet weather had made that site difficult to access, so he met with Roger yesterday and agreed the club could be accommodated on the western side of Giant’s Castle.

Roger confirmed that he’d been told about the grazing last week and that he felt the club worked well with the Trust.

He said they’ll be able to go ahead with their shoots as planned at Giant’s Castle and that the activity won’t cause any distress to the cattle.


5 Responses to Trust Says Cattle Won’t Stop Clay Pigeon Shooters

  1. Chris December 13, 2012 at 3:08 am

    I have been visiting Scilly since the early-1980’s and have been delighted to see the progress being made to restoring the coastal areas of the isles to more natural and diverse eco-systems. The areas fenced at any one time are limited and surely the use of traditional breed, hardy, docile cattle are preferable to the use of chemicals and/or mechanical control.

    As a regular visitor the most negative changes in recent years have been the loss of traditional bulb fields (and as a farmer I do appreciate that economics are key to this) and their replacement with the ever increasing number of horses – with the associated spread of electric fences and mono-culture grass fields.

    From what I’ve seen the main opponents of the sensitive regeneration of the traditional coastal heaths are not the visitors but horse riders and dog walkers – both of which seem largely happy to leave piles of animal faeces in their wake (to say nothing of the masses of scenic “dead” orange clays adorning the rocks and surrounds of Giants Castle!) .

  2. Alison December 12, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I am a long time regular visitor to Scilly. I have yet to find any problem with the cattle or electric fencing obstructing the walks I love. I much prefer a landscape of rolling heather and cropped maritime turf to swathes of carcinogenic bracken and impenetratable bramble. The cattles themselves are docile and an attractive breed that add an extra dimension to the landscape. Keep up the good work IOSWT!

  3. Stavropol December 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I quite agree Donna. It is all well and good to go resurrecting past landscapes but the mode employed is not managed well or with enough sympathy for the people and visitors of Scilly. They need to set up smaller permanent fenced areas to define field boundaries and better access. The animals of times passed would have been fenced in in some way without he use of electric fences and not crossing even more ancient rights of way.

    They should not be allowed to employ an ‘annihilate all existing ecosystems’ approach. It is not redressing the balance, it is rocking the boat too far the other way.

  4. IanT December 12, 2012 at 8:25 am

    We don’t have any problems with the ‘free range’ cattle, sheep and ponies on Dartmoor spoiling our leisure pursuits. Perhaps you are a ‘townie’??

  5. Donna December 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Well! a’rent the clay pigeon shooters lucky, the cattle certainly stop our simple leisure pursuits, out walking in the countryside and enjoyment of the wide open spaces. The cattle should be on farms where they belong.