A flock of sheep will be introduced to Green Ridge for the first time in many years this month to help keep the grassland neat and tidy.
Next Tuesday (April 20), Brighton and Hove mayor Ann Norman will see the flock safely onto the site.
This is the latest location in the city to be populated by sheep by Brighton and Hove City Council, which has also just started recruiting volunteer urban shepherds to look after them.
Bringing the sheep to Green Ridge will help improve the condition of the grassland so that the flowers and insects that depend on them can flourish.
Hugo Blomfield, Countryside Manager for the council, said: “A map of West Blatchington Estate from 1829 shows Green Ridge to be a corner of ‘north down pasture’.
“Bringing the sheep back to Green Ridge will help improve the condition of the grassland so that the flowers and butterflies that depend on them can once again flourish.”
Sheep used are from a local farm and they graze at various locations around the city including Sheepcote Valley and Wild Park.
The council has worked closely with Keep the Ridge Green community group and involved local Westdene school children with the plans.
A lot of planning has gone into the introduction of the sheep to avoid conflict with dog walkers. There will be signs approaching the area where the sheep will be grazing and they will be kept in by an electric fence (which will also help to stop any stray dog getting too close). The signs include emergency numbers for the shepherd.
The volunteer urban shepherds, or lookerers, along with the Cityparks rangers, have been trained to carry out regular checks on the sheep. The council currently has enough lookerers to help look after the sheep at Green Ridge this year, but if you are interested in helping in the future (or at another site) please visit the website for more details.
Green Ridge is mainly open grassland dominated by Patcham windmill, with a large area of woodland called Coney Wood, an ancient hedge and a dew pond.
It is in the new South Downs National Park and is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance.
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