Worcester City Council will employ some unusual helpers in an annual conservation exercise when it unleashes a herd of cows on a patch of grassland.

The 20-strong herd of hand reared cattle will be released on Ronkswood Hill Meadows on Thursday to help preserve grassland and wild flowers at the site.

The initiative is designed to act as a natural and cost-effective way of keeping the grass short enough to allow the vast array of wildflowers in the area to get enough sunlight to grow and hopefully thrive.

Warwick Neale, parks green network officer at Worcester City Council, said: "Cattle are part of nature's management plan and help to maintain the balance of plantlife and wildlife.

"This is the eighth year in succession we have brought cattle to this inner city site. We introduce the cattle for around six months in a bid to regain some of the traditional benefits of natural stewardship."

The meadows are home to a wide range of wildflowers including black knapweed, cowslips and birdsfoot trefoil, but if grass grows too high, these flowers will not flourish.

The cattle will therefore play a pivotal role in boosting such flora and fauna as well as producing other positive spin-offs such as an increase in butterflies and improvements to the natural soil environment.