Gallery: Modern day shepherd moves his flock from Orford Ness to Dunwich Heath
Baa humbug! Festive flock are on the lam
A SUFFOLK shepherd has led his flock north for the winter on their own advent odyssey.
Though lacking the customary crook and smock-frock, Andrew Capell is a modern-day shepherd for the National Trust.
His hundred-strong herd of woolly conservationists have spent most of the year grazing Orford Ness nature reserve to encourage ground-nesting bird habitats.
But as Christmas approaches and the marshes dampen, it’s time to migrate north to the drier ground of Dunwich Heath.
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Mr Capell, a career shepherd who moved to Suffolk from Pembrokeshire in April, has become firmly attached to his growing flock, which numbered just 30 when first introduced to Orford Ness from Wimpole Hall Farm, in Hertfordshire, two years ago.
He said: “They do a brilliant job, and working with them is quite rewarding. We’ve got quite a few characters. One of the sheep, Wendy Woodland, has even got her own Facebook page.
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Mr Capell’s task of rounding up and penning the flock would be impossible without his canine companion Kite. At 20 months old, he’s still training to become a fully-fledged sheepdog but is full of enthusiasm for the role.
Once gathered, the sheep are ferried across the Alde and driven north in three shifts on board livestock trailer. It’s demanding work, but Mr Capell wouldn’t swap his profession. He said: “I love working with animals and the joy of being outdoors. I don’t think I could ever work in an office.”
As soon as the marshes are less waterlogged the sheep will return to pick up their grazing duties.