Park Life

28 Jul 2008

In an attempt to re-establish grazing in urban parks after an absence of over 50 years, rare breeds of sheep – including Herdwicks and Southdowns – were resettled in a local park by Brighton and Hove city council in the UK last week.

The re-introduction of sheep in Wild Park is intended to replace the aggressive approach of industrial mowing and to encourage greater flower and insect diversity. It is hoped that the sheep’s individual grazing patterns will re-establish different levels of grass, providing better breeding ground for rare wildlife species.

The city council is encouraging locals to support this initiative by offering their time as volunteer shepherds. They have even organized a one-day introductory course on sheep-related welfare – like how best to help a ewe stuck in a hedge – for those who sign up.

Commenting on the project, countryside ranger Lisa Rigby said ‘We’ve been working on this for about a decade … Having successfully grazed other sites on the outskirts of Brighton, we’re now looking to up the ante’.

She added ‘You can’t underestimate the value of livestock, the feel-good factor. A lot of people will go just to see the sheep’.

A similar scheme was introduced in urban parks to cut the cost of maintenance in Turin, Italy, earlier this year. To view this article click here.

The Guardian

Victoria Blackshaw
[email protected]

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