Sheep return to Peaslands Knapp after decades

PUBLISHED: 15:22 18 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:22 18 October 2013

SHEEP are returning to Sidmouth's Peaslands Knapp after decades without grazing there. The meadow lies behind Peaslands Road in the heart of the town and is owned by the Sid Vale Association.

It is rich in wildflowers, covered with anthills and needs to be cut or grazed to prevent it turning into bramble, scrub and eventually woodland.

It is such a steeply sloping meadow that it would never have been cut for hay or ploughed - so it must always have been pasture for grazing.

Kate Tobin, one of the volunteers looking after the reserve, said: “We don’t know how long it is since the meadow was last grazed and would love to hear from anyone who remembers seeing livestock there.”

Riverwood Farm has agreed to bring four of its Devon Longwool sheep from its Talaton farm to the meadow from this week to mid November.

“The sheep are very sedate, but to allow them to settle into their new temporary home with the minimum of disruption, visitors are asked not to enter the meadow while they are there,” added Kate.

“Of course, dogs are not allowed in the meadow at any time. Sheep worrying is a criminal offence, so the Sid Vale Association are asking everyone walking at the Knapp to keep dogs on leads or under very close control in case they try to get in with the sheep.”

Volunteers will be checking the sheep, fences and water several times a day and a number of houses around the top of Peaslands Road should have a good view of them throughout the day.

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