Telscombe community sheep scanning promises lots of lambs

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A flock of sheep bought by Telscombe Town Council to maintain the Tye were scanned to see how many lambs might be born.

The Community Sheep Scanning took place on Thursday February 28 and visitors were welcome to attend.

Andy Smith and Brian Page with Telscoombe community flock

Andy Smith and Brian Page with Telscoombe community flock

Each ewe was carrying at least one lamb or two and they should be grazing the Tye this spring.

The event was originally due to take place on Saturday February 23, but was called off due to the freezing conditions and rescheduled.

Cllr Andy Smith, who is both a town and district councillor, said: “It has been an interesting experiment for the town council to undertake.

“With more than 150 per cent lamb production predicted today, we are on track for a great return for our local residents and we are looking forward to seeing the new lambs grazing the Tye later this year.”

Telscombe Tye, just off the A259, is an important area of sheep grazed downland within the South Downs National Park.

The residents of Telscombe Cliffs, Telscombe Village and East Saltdean purchased the Tye and the council is responsible for the day to day management and upkeep.

They are supported by the Friends of Telscombe Tye and volunteers.

A new initiative for 2012/13 was to purchase a flock of 100 ewes and graze them on this historic downland.

Residents can identify the community flock by their coloured ear tags and blue markings.

The council said the public had been broadly supportive of the scheme and feedback so far has been very positive.

The ewes and new lambs will also help provide additional income for the council to maintain the Tye without increasing Council Tax.

Regular updates about the sheep’s progress has been appearing on the town council’s website.

The community flock is being grazed with the existing flock of 252 ewes grazed under historic commoner’s rights.

Rams were put with the sheep a few weeks ago.

The town council planted wildflower seeds on the Tye a few years ago, so residents should soon be treated to a summer time display of blooms and lambs.

The Tye includes chalk grassland habitat, which is internationally protected and supports a wide range of flora and fauna, such as the rare adonis blue butterfly and Devil’s bit scabious.

Chalk grassland on the South Downs is the result of thousands of years of sheep grazing this landscape.