An a-llama-rming site in the countryside
By David GreenFANCY a trek through the countryside leading a llama?Well, the opportunity is shortly to arrive – courtesy of a Walpole couple who have acquired six of the placid beasts and are about to set them to work.
By David Green
FANCY a trek through the countryside leading a llama?
Well, the opportunity is shortly to arrive – courtesy of a Walpole couple who have acquired six of the placid beasts and are about to set them to work.
Their idea is that the llamas – traditional pack animals – will carry the picnic goods and that clients will lead them along trails of between four and six miles along minor roads and bridleways, stopping on the route for refreshments or just a rest.
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Sheila Lewis, who will run the new business with her husband, Jon, a former pig farmer, said: "We are currently training the animals up, they just love getting out for a good walk."
The couple live in Walpole, but the business will be run from Bramfield, where the llamas are pastured on rented land.
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"Llamas are becoming very popular in this country. They are sometimes used as guard animals to keep foxes away from sheep or free range chickens," said Mrs Lewis.
"But they are a herd animal and they need company of some sort, either with horses or with some of their own kind."
She and her husband bought their first llama in June last year and have since purchased another five, some of them from the country's top breeder in Devon.
"I've always liked llamas since I saw some in Gloucester about 15 years ago. Last year I saw an article in an NFU publication about keeping the animals and we decided to go ahead and get some ourselves. There are already four or five trekking businesses operating in this country," added Mrs Lewis.
The couple kept goats until three years ago and said they were delighted to have livestock once more.
"Llamas are very placid and patient and wonderfully inquisitive – they are brilliant animals to look after," added Mrs Lewis.
The trekking business is due to start on April 3 with a variety of inland and coastal routes on offer, some starting from Bramfield.
Some routes will involve taking the llamas by horsebox to the starting point and the Southwold area is among the possible destinations. For more information, contact 01986 784286.