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Cows are set to be released onto Minchinhampton and Rodborough Common next week.

Each year, Marking Day on May 13 marks the date on or after which graziers can release their livestock to roam the ancient grasslands for the summer. The free-roaming cattle are essential to keep the grasslands rich in nature.

Marking Day takes its name from the historic practise of bringing cows from their home farms to a pound at the Old Lodge to be “marked” – so they could be identified later – before they were freed. Though marking now takes place elsewhere, the date is still marked in the minds of all the graziers.

Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons comprise more than 700 acres of open space, and are recognised as of national and European importance for their limestone grassland. The National Trust has owned and maintained Minchinhampton Common since 1913 and Rodborough Common since 1937 and has an obligation to protect the landscape, ecology and archaeology of the area.

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