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The National Trust is inviting the public to join in the traditional Marking Day celebration taking place on Rodborough and Minchinhampton Commons in Stroud this Saturday 13 May, with a free day of walks, talks and crafts.    

Based in the garden of the Old Lodge pub from 11am until 3pm there will be something for all ages, including a range of childrens crafts, a display about the history of the Commons, and experts on hand all day to answer your questions, supported by the National Trust, Stroud Valleys Project and Butterfly Conservation.  

Throughout the event there will be guided walks to learn about the wildlife, archaeology and how the National Trust manage the Commons for people and nature and hopefully the chance to spot some orchids along the way.  

 Marking Day takes place each year on 13 May and is 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 open and rich in nature, without their grazing the scrubby woodland would encroach over the rare flowers and plants that grow here.  

Marking Day takes its name from when the cows were brought from their home farms to a pound at the Old Lodge to be “marked” with identifying ear tags or in times gone by with a branding iron before they were freed. 

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.

© National Trust Images Chris Lacey