Sheep have been introduced at Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds to help keep the grass down
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Rangers at Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds can now add ‘shepherd’ onto their job description due to the introduction of a flock of sheep.
It has been 13 years since there were sheep in the park, but three Manx and three Hebridean males are now at home in the landscape.
John Smithson, parks operations manager for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said the flock was the best way to manage the grasslands at the park and the sheep would also enhance the visitor experience.
The public have very much been involved in the project, raising the £480 needed to pay for the sheep through the donation of second-hand books over a two-year period.
Mr Smithson said it was “managing the meadows in a sustainable way”.
He added: “They are just complimentary to the landscape. We have got these meadows and if sheep are grazing there it seems right. It’s that quintessential countryside view.”
The rangers were sent on a course to learn how to handle and manage the sheep, including cutting toenails and being able to spot diseases.
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Mr Smithson said: “When we first sat down and talked about what it means to have your own flock of sheep, we discussed the required input; what’s the commitment in terms of time?
“They have to be checked first thing in the morning and just before dusk. We had to make sure we had the resource to commit to that. Animal welfare is really important to us.”
The sheep, from the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire, arrived last week and are in a fenced-off paddock near the maze.