Cows are being brought in to create a "pastoral ambience" in a park and help conserve wildlife.

But not everyone is happy about the plan to introduce the cattle at Nork Park, Nork.

The move has provoked concern they will trample wildflowers, leave a trail of cow pats and stop people and dogs from roaming free.

Reigate and Banstead Council’s contractors were expected to finish putting up fences and gates at the park’s lower paddock by the end of last month in preparation for the cows.

Half a dozen cows - docile breeds such as Sussex or Hereford Cross - will be put in the enclosure for about six weeks a year part of it in the summer and then again in winter.

Robin Davis, the council's parks and countryside manager, said: "The practice of using grazing in this way actually supports wildlife, and that is why we are doing it.

"Many species that benefited from farming in the past suffered as farming practices changed and habitats were lost."

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He said the hayfield will remain public open space but users should act responsibly and make sure dogs behave.

He said: "We consider that the grazing will increase the interest of the park for everybody and will reintroduce the pastoral ambience of years gone by."

But Linda Warr, who used to live in Nork Way and still walks her dog in the park, said: "With no consultation, the fences are going up again and cattle are to be re-introduced for spurious ‘conservation’ reasons.

"This has happened on many previously open spaces. But cattle do not conserve wildflowers. They eat them, trample them and mess on them.

"There is certainly no ‘Poo Fairy’ for cows - so we can look forward to smelly pats and the attendant flies. Such fun!"

Back in the late 1980s Mrs Warr took part in a community campaign to save a farm, with an award-winning herd of white goats, at the park.

She said: "Many years ago, despite vigorous local protest, Mr Smith the farmer was thrown out of Banstead's Nork Park.

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"One of the reasons given was that the area had been left to the council by the Colman family (of Mustard fame) for the use of local people.

"So, clearly, the area should not be subject to fences and farm animals. People have enjoyed the freedom to roam for decades now - with their children and dogs."

The Wildlife Trusts advocate using cattle as "living lawnmowers" because they often eat more dominant plant species which gives other species a chance and increases biodiversity.

The charity says trampling can be beneficial in moderation by creating open ground for seedlings and wildlife while dung creates a whole ecosystem in itself.

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