Cattle granted right to roam by mayor

A HERD of cattle waited eagerly for the mayor of a Suffolk town to declare their summer grazing grounds fit for consumption on Friday morning.

Adrian Osborne, Sudbury’s Mayor, led a group of town dignitaries to the common lands next to the Mill Hotel to conduct a ceremony celebrating more than 800 years of history in the town.

Cattle have been grazing on the picturesque land by the River Stour since the reign of King Richard I, after livestock rights were given to St John’s Hospital in the late 12th Century.

Dressed in full regalia, Mr Osborne was joined by mace- and staff-bearers, alongside six volunteer rangers who care for the common lands, and representatives of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which finance both the volunteer scheme and ceremony.

Adrian Walters, from the Sudbury Common Lands Charity, said: “It was a wonderful event which is great to see happen here, especially with the connection dating back more than 800 years.”


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Grazing on the land began when Amicia de Clare granted rights to graze four cattle and 20 sheep on the pastures.

After Mr Osborne declared the land fit for grazing the first eight head of cattle were released through the Mill gate. Within the next month more than 150 head of cattle will be free to roam there.

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Following the ceremony the Sudbury Common Lands Charity launched its latest book – An Appreciation of Sudbury’s unique Riverside – which describes the history, geology, nature and life along the River Stour as is passes through Sudbury. The book is available in Sudbury at the Tourist Information Office, Kestrel Bookshop and Waitrose.

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