Could Genetics and GPS save our wildflower meadows?

Wildflower meadows are amongst the most threatened wildlife habitats in the country.  It is thought that only around 10,000 hectares remain – that’s a tiny 0.14% of Scotland’s total land area.

Our Flying Flock and Herd can protect these pollinator habitats – but they need your help

For over 20 years, we have successfully been using our very own sheep and cattle, known affectionately as the Flying Flock and Herd, to help restore and enhance some of Scotland’s most threatened habitats.

From wildflower meadows to lowland peatlands, our sheep and cattle munch their way through invasive species, allowing more vulnerable species to thrive. As rarer plants return, such as the vanilla scented greater butterfly orchid, the bees and other pollinators which rely upon them for food and shelter, and the birds and mammals which in turn feed upon them, can begin to thrive – ecosystems become healthy and restored.


If current trends continue, these species-rich habitats
could disappear by the end of the century.


Support our herd today

Our hardy Herd and Flock of Chevease Sheep and Highland Cattle have remained at the forefront of conservation grazing across Scotland for over twenty years.

Please donate today and help them continue their pioneering work.


GPS technology could keep our herd on the right tracks

Occasionally, we use cows to graze wildlife reserves adjacent to towns, such as the Irvine greenspace of Shewalton Wood. To manage the intricate mosaic of habitats on this wildlife reserve we must regularly move cattle around different areas of land. This traditionally relies upon the costly erection and maintenance of multiple fence lines, which comes at a financial and environmental expense. No-fence technology could offer a solution.

Collars fitted with satellite technology (GPS) can be carefully programmed (and re-programmed) to map out desired zones within a large enclosure – controlling the grazing, keeping cattle safe from roads and ditches, and avoiding sensitive areas (such as young saplings). The collars sound an audible warning should a cow approach the edge of the current grazing zone and – if they ignore this alert – they receive a “pulse” equivalent to the shock of a traditional electric fence.

Already widely used in Norway, the “no fence method” is becoming increasingly popular in the UK and offers the potential to fine-tune grazing whilst also saving on fencing and reducing our carbon footprint. Visitors could even scan a QR code to learn where the cattle are at any given time, enabling them to enjoy this urban greenspace without disturbing the herd. To conduct a pilot of this technology and understand how well it works for visitors to the wildlife reserve we need your help.


Our flying flock and herd have come a long way since they launched as Scotland’s very first conservation grazers in 2002.

Help Scotland's wildflower meadows

97% of these species-rich grasslands have disappeared in the last 50 years. Please donate today and help us protect what remains.

A healthy gene pool is critical

Shetland cattle are a rare breed, and over the last ten years we have been increasingly conscientious about the genetics in our herd.

We bred our current bull, Fleecefaulds Hägar, to ensure  strong genes would be prevalent in future years. Hägar sports an incredibly rare colouring (or brindle) – he is listed in the Shetland Cattle Herd Book and every calf he sires can be traced back to him. Hägar is approaching the end of his reproductive years and, given his breeding success to date, we can’t mix his genes any further within the herd at the moment. To plan for the future, our team now hope to send Hägar to an expert centre to collect, freeze and safely store a sample of his semen so that it will be available for artificial insemination when the time is right.

This specialist work requires expert input which comes at a cost, but it’s critical we raise funds to keep future herds healthy.

New and innovative solutions could reshape the future – but we can’t achieve it without your support.



Help us protect wildflower meadows, and the wildlife that rely upon them, for the future.

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