This mallard is one of many swimming along the marsh section of the River Stour.
WHAT’S ON THE WILDEN MARSH CONSERVATION CATTLE LOCKDOWN MENU TODAY THEN? Well, anything green that looks like it might be nutritious is the answer to this question! Bright green plants are preferred and first to be investigated and sampled, like thistles, comfrey, bramble leaves, rush and, to give it all a bit of punch to a spartan menu, ivy!
The herd is free to roam and browse the whole north marsh until I take it down to the middle and southern marshes at the end of January. The cattle walk around the various north marsh compartments with me. Brutus silently creeps as close as he can when I turn my back on him. If he can get close enough without my noticing, he will give me a gentle nudge with his nose – it doesn’t always feel gentle, though.
Wilden Marsh great reedmace, also know known as ‘Bulrush’, is a familiar plant of freshwater margins, such as the edges of ponds, lakes, ditches and rivers. Its impressive stance – with long leaves and tall stems – makes it stand out from other wetlands plants. Its sausage-like flower heads are unmistakable; these appear from June to August, but the plant persists through the winter, often dying back to a brownish colour from its usual green.
Edible parts of reedmace are roots – raw or cooked. They can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and then boiled to yield a sweet syrup. The roots can also be dried and ground into a powder, this powder is rich in protein and can be mixed with wheat flour and then used for making bread, biscuits, muffins etc.