Rare breed sheep to mow grass at Bateman’s in Burwash

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A GROUP of Manx Loaghtan sheep have arrived on the National Trust’s Bateman’s estate in Burwash to help manage a new hay meadow. The sheep will graze an area known as the Donkey Field, opposite Rudyard Kipling’s former home.

Estate warden Kevan Gibbons said: “For the first time in many years we took a hay crop off the field in August. The sheep now have the job of keeping the grass down over the winter and treading in wildflower seeds we’ve recently sown. They will also open up gaps in the soil so other seeds can settle and germinate.”

The Manx Loaghtan was under threat of extinction in the 1950s but through breeding programmes on the Isle of Man and elsewhere the population has grown to a healthier level.

Kevan added: “It’s fantastic to be able to work with these primitive breed sheep. Not only are they useful to us but we’re helping with their conservation too”.

Meanwhile it’s been all hands on deck as staff began decorating the house with Tora Leadbetter, five, daughter of Bateman’s visitor reception manager Andy Leadbetter from Burwash providing enthusiastic help.