As result of our last article, we’ve had some enquiries about where ARE the sheep these days. This article, from 2011, may throw a bit of light on it, but not enough…

We took the above photograph at Avebury at the weekend having been struck by the number of visitors expressing puzzlement over why sheep were allowed where others weren’t.

We know that grazing is beneficial and that, as the National Trust says on its website, “Managing this fragile archaeological environment is a constant balancing act. Regular work includes monitoring sheep and cattle grazing, erosion control, scrub management and protecting buried remains from burrowing animals” but a word of explanation on their information boards would be helpful.

The same applies to English Heritage at Silbury. A few years ago a fortune was spent on new fencing and specially selected sheep were put on there. However, it looked to us that contrary to assurances they were creating a lot of damage and forming lots of new pathways (and that might well have been seen as a justification by some people to go on the Hill themselves). However, the tactics weren’t fully explained at the time and now the sheep seem to be missing and the fences aren’t being maintained.

At both venues, a few words of explanation on the notice boards would be helpful. This is after all the Big Society!


January 2020

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