New grazing manager for Ashdown Forest

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THE Ashdown Forest Conservators have appointed a new grazing officer.

After three years as shepherd on the Forest, Louise Amos and her dogs moved to a new job on a Cambridgeshire farm.

Now Caroline Fitzgerald moves to the Forest from working on heathland restoration projects in Suffolk, Yorkshire and more recently Sussex for the Weald Heathland Initiative and the RSPB.

Caroline has her own flock of Hebridean sheep and sits on the committee of the Hebridean Sheep Society.

She’s keen to hear from anyone who would like to get involved with helping to manage the sheep, particularly some ‘lookerers’ for whom she would provide training.

Hebridean meat is renowned for its flavour and Caroline is selling freezer boxes of Hebridean hogget lamb, proceeds from which go towards managing the Forest.

Conservators point out not long ago there would have been no resources for their own livestock. But now, four years after the introduction of Higher Level Stewardship on the Forest there are more than 300 Hebridean sheep. They graze on heaths that have seen no Commoners’ livestock for decades, endear themselves to visitors and attend local events and fetes at the Forest Centre where they are stars of the show.