Highland cows MOO-ve to a new home at the University of East Anglia in Norwich

Four Highland cows have 'moved' to a temporary home at the University of East Anglia to graze a remote part of the campus site.

Farmer Nigel Darling has loaned the cows - Delia, Cecily, Chocolate and Cornflower, with her new calf – until later this autumn.

The project is the brainchild of UEA grounds maintenance manager, Oliver Deeming, who said that the cattle will help to manage the diverse flora and fauna of fen and meadow on the flood plain at the western end of the university's land. 'The cattle will graze areas of the land to differing heights, which will help diversify the plants growing in these areas,' he added.

Letting the cows do the hard work of active conservation has another advantage, said Mr Deeming. 'It will also help us to substantially reduce costs - clearing the fen by hand would take an extremely long time and require many man hours,' he added.

The UEA is thought to be the first UK university to utilise cattle for conservation purposes on its land.

Mr Darling, who is passionate about rare and heritage livestock breeds, said: 'I was pleased to loan some of my Highland cows to UEA. They are also extremely hardy, and do not require accommodation at night or in bad weather.'

If the first trial is successful, cattle will return to the university next year, possibly in even greater numbers.

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