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Wanted! Volunteers to be part-time shepherds

Ranscombe Farm Reserve, between Cuxton and Strood, is looking for volunteers to help look after a flock of Romney Marsh sheep over the coming winter.

October 29 2013

The Ranscombe Farm sheep.  © RIchard Moyse/Plantlife

The Ranscombe Farm sheep. © RIchard Moyse/Plantlife

The sheep are essential to maintaining a large wild flower meadow on the reserve by eating down the grass and making more room for flowers to grow and multiply.

Plantlife's Ranscombe Farm is one of the most important botanical sites in the UK, and that's down to the traditional farming methods such as grazing by sheep which allow wildflowers the chance to flourish. But they need to be checked every day so they stay happy and healthy - and that's where volunteers come in.

"We are looking for people to help support our conservation work at Ranscombe by volunteering to go out and have a look at the sheep every few days" says Ranscombe Manager, Richard Moyse. "We'll provide training and all necessary support, so no experience is needed - just a bit of spare time. It's great for anyone looking for an excuse to get out amongst wildlife in the open countryside."

The sheep will be grazing Brockles Field, a 60 acre grassland meadow at the nature reserve, which is managed by the nature conservation charity, Plantlife. A generous grant of £14,090 from The Veolia Environmental Trust, made through the Landfill Communities Fund, has made it possible to get grazing under way by funding training for volunteers and by supporting the installation of a supply of drinking water for the sheep.

The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, adds, “It is good to hear that this project is progressing well and the sheep will soon be on site. We are really keen on volunteers getting involved with the projects we fund and I look forward to hearing about the important work of the shepherds that are recruited.”

Anyone interested in helping as a volunteer at Ranscombe Farm Reserve should contact the Reserve Office on 01634 292062 or email the Ranscombe team.