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Grazing cows return to Giant's Causeway bay after 40 years

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Sandra Hunter and some of her Dexter cattle with Dr Cliff Henry, National Trust area ranger

Sandra Hunter and some of her Dexter cattle with Dr Cliff Henry, National Trust area ranger

Sandra Hunter and some of her Dexter cattle with Dr Cliff Henry, National Trust area ranger

Conservationists are planning to return grazing livestock to a Co Antrim bay after almost half a century.

Portnaboe, meaning bay of the cow or cows, sits just below the Giant's Causeway visitors' centre.

Sheep were the last animals to have grazed this area over 40 years ago, and since then bramble and bracken has spread over the bay.

Ecologists believe the vegetation is having a negative impact on many of the wildflowers and insects that live there.

The National Trust has been working on removing bracken and bramble in the bay for several years but the conservation team believe livestock grazing would help promote biodiversity.

Local farmer Sandra Hunter will provide the grazing cattle.

She said: "I would be delighted to see a return of cattle to Portnaboe, my family have grazed livestock in the bays around the causeway in the past."

The project is led by North Coast area ranger Dr Cliff Henry.

He said: "The bays around here would certainly have been grazed in the past, but with so many tourists visiting the site this just hasn't happened for a very long time."

Belfast Telegraph