Friday, 16 December 2011

Bloggers Block

This is a bit of a ramble as I can't think of anything very interesting or funny to write about but I needed to write something so I could wish everyone a Happy Christmas.

At least the weather is turning more seasonal and with the first frosts the birds are returning in force to the feeders.  From my favourite chair in the living room I look out of one window to my feeding station on the old cobnut tree.  Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Woodpeckers, Blue tits and Coal tits (plus the Sparrow Hawk) have been regular visitors all year but they have now again being joined by the Nuthatches, Long tailed tits and of course the noisy but entertaining Ring Necked Parakeets.  Interestingly the smaller birds will happily feed and perch alongside the Parakeets but will not go anywhere near the Nuthatches.  The pheasants also like to perch in the tree especially if it is frosty so I'm guessing they suffer with cold feet.

From the other window I look out over the side garden that slopes up to my bird table.  Here the quieter garden birds, like Blackbirds and Sparrows visit and I am pleased to say my friendly Robin has turned up again after being absent all summer.... just in time for a maggoty Christmas treat:)

Further afield but still visible from my chair the Buzzards and Crows like to catch the thermals above the woods and will glide around for ages, hardly moving their wings.  It is so enjoyable being able to watch the birds from the warmth of my living room but rather embarrassing when people are visiting and I realise that I don't know what they've been talking about because I've been gazing out the window instead of paying them attention.

The weather might be colder but there is still lots of conservation work to do with the Downland Project.  In fact there is always conservation work to do if anyone else fancies volunteering in the New Year :))  Since my last post we have helped put up temporary fencing on part of Banstead Down so it can be grazed by sheep, helped clear scrub and old logs from Saltbox SSSI and helped with several sheepy activities. 

I have found, over the years, that any job involving animals or children frequently takes longer than one would have first anticipated and sheep moves, however well they are planned, are no exception. The project's sheep are in general quite obliging.  However inevitably we do occasionally have a problem and that is what happened this week when we were moving 19 sheep from a field adjoining common land at Manor Park, Caterham. 

The field is down a slope and, as it had rained, the common was too wet, slippery and liable to damage to take the trailer down to the field, so we put the sheep into a small pen using portable hurdles and then, along with several other volunteers, we gradually shuffled the hurdles with sheep still enclosed up the hill towards the trailer situated in the car park at the top. All was going well until one of the pesky Beulahs spotted a little gap under a hurdle and in a flash pushed his way out.  This was a dodgy situation as the common opens on to a busy road and is used by many dog walkers. However, the project's sheep dog, Jack, soon had the escapee keen to return to his friends. The problem was, if we created a gap in the hurdles to let the escapee back in, we risked letting the other sheep out!  For a little while the escapee ran first one way round the outside of the pen and then the other while us humans tried to judge the best time to open it up.  Eventually the moment was right, we pulled two of the hurdles apart and in he popped.  I think everyone, including the sheep, breathed a sigh of relief and we carried on with our slow shuffle up the hill and into the trailer with only a few more stops to help a Jacob that repeatedly got his horns stuck in a hurdle...I'm sure he was doing on purpose...he just didn't like the Beulah getting all the attention:)

Beulah Speckled Face
Another recent move that took an unexpectedly long time was on a cold windy day when twelve of the thirty one sheep at High Elms, Bromley needed to be taken to the newly fenced area on Banstead Down. The remaining nineteen would be taken to Hutchinsons Bank a couple of days later. All the sheep needed their hooves trimmed. The plan was to catch up the sheep, separate those for Banstead, trim their hooves, load them on to the trailer and release the Hutchinson Bank ones to be done another day.  All went well and we were looking forward to an early lunch when the grazing officer was informed that the electric fencing at Banstead hadn't been completed as expected.  To cut a long story short we ended up releasing the Banstead sheep, re-catching the Hutchinson's sheep, trimming all their hooves (a back breaking job done by the grazing officer and his assistant).  Then transporting them in two loads to Hutchinsons Bank. By the time we had safely un-loaded the last lot it was just about dark and the moon was up (see pic below).  We were all cold, tired and hungry...then bizarrely someone suddenly produced a bag of doughnuts.  It was soooo yummy I've been craving doughnuts ever since:)

Not a very entertaining post so if you made it to the end, Well Done.  You can be rewarded with three very silly Christmas sheep jokes:

Q...What do Jacob sheep hang on their Christmas trees?   A...Hornaments (Jacobs have horns:))
Q...What do sheep say to each other at Christmastime?    A...Merry Christmas to ewe:))
Q...What do sheep say to shepherds at Christmastime?     A...Season's Bleatings:))

Hope you all have a Lovely Reeelaaaaxing Christmas with lots of fun and laughter.  We will if we manage to get the new bath in which still sits majestically in the middle of the living room!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ins and Outs

The first 'out' was the Teaser (see previous post). He has hopefully done his job at getting the girls in 'the mood' and now it is the turn of the Rams. The breeding ewes have been separated into flocks of Jacobs and Beulahs and their handsome rams have joined if they do the job right, lambing should start about 11th April next year:)

Below is a picture of the Breeding Beulahs (whoops...just re-read sounds a bit offensive if you say it fast:)) They are being herded down a big hill to their fresh pasture, a lush field that in spring and summer is a mass of wild herbs and flowers.

A lot of our work is keeping stock securely fenced in but on a recent stock move to Cuddington near Banstead Surrey, we were putting up electric fencing to keep the sheep out. This is because part of the field is rich in Kidney Vetch which is the food plant of the larvae of the Small Blue butterfly. Small Blues are very dependent on there being a good number of Kidney Vetch flowers close by as they will rarely travel very far from their colony. They usually only lay one egg per flower as the caterpillars can be cannibalistic so they need lots of flower heads for successful breeding. When one considers it can take 2 to 5 years for a new Kidney Vetch plant to start flowering, one can understand why it is so important that the sheep are prevented from eating them.

Included in the area we fenced off from the sheep are some man made scrapes as Kidney vetch can easily be out competed by grass and other plants...

The edges of the scrape are already covered with new Kidney Vetch plants...

In another sheep move to an area in Woldingham, Surrey we have been putting up electric fencing to keep the sheep in. This is a very small piece of important chalk grassland on a steep hill making it difficult to fence especially in the pouring rain. It is a nice little area which is also a good place for reptiles with a reasonable population of adders.

Before these recent moves the Herdwick sheep had been grazing an area called Chapel Bank, near the town of New Addington, Surrey, that had previously been a rather popular place for dumping rubbish. Before the sheep were put on the site we removed lots of rubbish but must have missed a bit as when these Herdwicks had their feet trimmed before going to their new conservation grazing site...

...we came across one wearing a rather unusual bracelet on its sheepy wrist. Somehow he had managed to get this ring of black plastic over his hoof...

We weren't sure if he thought himself very trendy with his man jewellery or if he was plain upset and embarrassed because the other sheep had been calling him girly names like Eunice (Ewe..nice) and Julia (J..ewe..lia)...sorry but I thought it was funny:))))))))

Today there was again a beautiful sunny start to the autumnal day, just too good to stay in. So armed with camera and binoculars I climbed over the field fence behind us and was immediately immersed in the absolute beauty of the countryside; the golden trees shone out through the lifting mist, a group of five crows flew lazily around and across the valley the Buzzards and Pheasants were calling. Blanketing the fields were masses of spider webs covered in millions of dewdrops with the sun glinting off of them. It was just sooooooo beautiful. On these sort of days I would like to just keep on walking and never go home.

Unfortunately we still have masses of work to do at home (the new bathroom suite is still in the living room as my husband ended up having to replace part of the ceiling and he still has to replace the rotten joist where the bath will go and only 5 weeks until the family descends on us for Christmas!) so we had to make it a fairly short walk just down to the Saltbox SSSI.

I was just climbing back into the garden, which is precarious as it involves climbing up a wobbly step ladder, then carefully stepping over the barbed wire fence, on to a wobbly bench. Just at the moment I was negotiating the barbed wire, something in the woodpile next to the fence moved which made me jump and I nearly ended up impaled on a spike. The culprit was my tame pheasant waiting for some breakfast... she is such a lovely bird and I immediately felt better to be home again, especially as, by that time, the valley was echoing with the sounds of gun shots as the mentally insane got going in their Sunday ritual of destroying wouldn't be so bad if they shot them dead but we have often found them injured and unable to move just left to suffer a long lingering death over several days:(

How could anyone shoot a beautiful bird like this for fun!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Teaser

I love the Autmun but am I the only one as everyone seems so glum that the summer is over? To me Autumn is a lovely peaceful season as if nature, after its frenzy of summer growth, followed by the spreading of its precious seeds, nuts and berries, is happy at a good job done and ready to take a well earned rest. One of my favourite quotes is, 'Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.' by William Cullen Bryant.

This year it has been spectacular around here for Autumn colour. The picture below shows the view over the valley and Saltbox SSSI from my living room...each time I look out the colours seem to have changed a bit more. How can that not make one feel good:)

There are also so many signs of things to come next year...berries, seeds and nuts are everywhere just waiting for the right time and place to germinate. I sometimes feel the seeds and berries of Autumn are just as beautiful as the Spring flowers but even more magical because they hold so much potential.

It is also at this time of year that thoughts turn to next year's lambs. As mentioned in a previous post, the breeding ewes have been chosen and put on good pasture. The next thing is to introduce 'The Teaser'. He, basically, is a ram that has matured sexually but then had a vasectomy so although he will mount the ewes it will not result in a pregnancy. He evidently is a sheepy hunk and gets the ewes in the 'mood for love xxxx' ready for when the rams are put in.

Last week the Downland Project's, very feisty teaser, was rounded up by Jack, the project's sheep dog, and duly caught by the Grazing Officer.

To begin with The Teaser was not very happy at being removed from his male buddies and threatened to headbutt anyone that came close but once he had been taken over to the ewes field in the trailer and got the whiff of female sheep his mood changed and he bounced out of the trailer with a smile on his face.

He then positively strutted his way across the field to where the raunchy ewes were waiting to mob him with desire.

The next photos were 'X' rated...but The Teaser definitely agrees with me that Autumn is a good time of year:))

Sunday, 23 October 2011

How Not to Catch a Sheep

While I have been working on the computer my husband has been watching the Rugby World Cup Final. It has reminded me of my one failed attempt at a rugby tackle; the grazing officer and I were trying to catch one of the Herdwick sheep that needed medical attention. After it had run past me twice without me catching it, the grazing officer shouted in exasperation, " You have to rugby tackle it!" Now, one doesn't argue with the Grazing Officer when he is stressed, so off I went, mumbling grumpily under my breath, "Doesn't he realise how old I am!" and "Hasn't he noticed I'm female so have never played rugby in my life!" Anyway when the sheep raced past me for the third time I duly threw myself through the air in my best imitation of a rugby player and of course fell flat on my face:) I expected the grazing officer either to be laughing his head off or screaming that I was useless but he was already in hot pursuit of the sheep putting in his own rugby tackles. Just as we were giving up and were about to get the dog out the sheep also gave up and we caught him easily. In retrospect it must have looked very funny and I would have loved to have had it on video:)))

This week we have moved the female lambs from the farm where they were born back in March, to their first conservation grazing site. It was all very scary for them but Granny Alice (see previous post) went with them and they all stayed close, following her every move.

The site they have gone to is another Cowslip field at High Elms in Bromley, a couple of miles from where I live and close to Charles Darwin's House at Downe. High Elms Estate used to be owned by Sir John Lubbock who, as an MP in the 1800's, was instrumental in the introduction of the August Bank Holiday. The estate is now run as a nature reserve by the council. In the Spring and Summer there are lots of wild flowers with some quite rare orchids but at this time of year it is lovely to walk through the woods kicking the fallen leaves or to stroll in the more formal gardens, admiring the autumn colours of the many beautiful trees that were planted by the Lubbock family all those years ago. There is also a sensory walk, various ponds, beehives, nature cabin and cafe so well worth a visit.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sheep and Peagles

Life is somewhat stressful at the moment so any excuse to escape into the countryside is valuable. I have therefore found that I have really missed not having the ponies to stock check. We have been over to visit them a few times and they are both happy and well although getting a little tubby after eating their way through another field of over-growth but it is setting them up well for the bad winter everyone says we are going to have and by next Spring they will be beautifully slim again...hmmm...maybe I should spend the winter out in the fields with them as I need to shed a few pounds:)

I am pleased to say we have now got some sheep back in Tatsfield to stock check again as we have recently helped move a mix of 27 Beulah's and Jacobs, including some of this years lambs.
The sheep are split into two fields. One of the fields I have written about before as it used to have a lot of brambles growing in it which made it a difficult to stock check and although there was a lot of wildlife, the flowers were a little overwhelmed by the brambles. The Downlands Project put sheep on the field again last winter, then any remaining tougher growth was cut and as a result there was an amazing display of Cowslips and Violets in the Spring. It just shows how worthwhile this combination of conservation work is.

Interestingly I have just found out that Cowslips are also called Peagles. I have no idea why or what the meaning of Peagles is...I thought it was what they called dogs that were a cross between Beagles and Pekingese:)

The fields that we graze in Tatsfield are in a lovely position on the side of the North Downs with far reaching views. They are also surrounded by some beautiful woodland so we often extend our stock checking with a walk in the woods.

I love trees and as a child could never resist climbing them...the bigger the better...I was a wild child of the 60's in the most literal sense as, if I wasn't riding a horse or playing in a nearby stream, I would be sitting in the largest apple tree at the end of our garden. It was a difficult tree to climb as it involved leaping for the lowest branch then turning upside down so that I could use a leg to lever me up but it was a great place to watch wildlife.

These are two of the lovely trees at Tatsfield. Sadly I am well past being able to climb them but that lovely green canopy still looks very inviting.

Last week I also helped to sort the remaining sheep at the farm ready for them to be taken out to their various conservation grazing sites for the winter. I am very pleased to say a favourite Jacob of mine, who I call Alice, passed her sheepy MOT even though she is getting on a bit. She has a lovely temperament and although she has never managed to have her own lambs she has been useful acting as Granny to the female lambs in the months following separation from their mothers. She is a good, calming influence and role model and will happily put up with juveniles following her around.

I have to admit I had quite a few sheepy conversations with her last year when I was stock checking her flock...I wonder what she was saying back to me when I took this picture, probably, " Silly human," although with that expression it could have been something far worse..maybe she is not such a good influence!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Boring, Boring, Boring

I like to live harmoniously with animals whether wild or domesticated and over the years I have found it essential to stay calm when handling or training them as they pick up on stress, tension, fear and irritation sooo fast causing them to become over-anxious and hard to manage.

Unfortunately not everyone sees it like that and I have seen people who, having themselves created this reaction in animals, to see it as deliberate disobedience whereupon they have become angry and aggressive with the animal. It is then a viscous circle until the animal ends up being labeled unmanageable and is often destroyed. Very sad and unnecessary and makes me VERY annoyed.

One of the biggest ways animals can pick up on emotions is by the way we breathe...when we are tense we take shorter breaths. I used to find it very hard to slow my breathing down and relax until, at a Kelly Marks (Intelligent Horsemanship) demonstration she mentioned a pupil of hers with the same problem who overcame it by saying to herself, on one long outward breath, "Boring..boring..boring." It works brilliantly every time and I've used it lots of other situations too like dealing with difficult people who are stressing me:) Try it.

In general I don't like to tame wild animals as I feel they are safer keeping away from humans, however, I make the exception for the pheasants that visit the garden as by feeding them they stay over my side of the valley where no shoots take place. My little group of friendly pheasants now stay close to the garden all the time which is just as well as pheasant shooting starts on 1st October:( One funny little female pheasant has become extra friendly and given the choice prefers to eat out of my hand rather than eat the same food off of the ground. She really seems to enjoy the interaction.

I do of course put food out for all the birds, however, we have recently had a Sparrowhawk that has taken to resting in our tree, right by the bird feeder, so I have felt it unsafe to refill it for a while. It has been interesting to see how close I can get to the hawk by moving slowly and using the 'boring' technique..only just close enough to take this photo so far.

Another recent occasion when I have needed to use the 'boring' technique was while getting the Downland Project's two Dartmoor ponies used to being handled again and having their feet picked up ready for a visit by the farrier prior to a move to another conservation grazing site. The ponies have minimal handling so that they will stay away from humans as some sites have footpaths running through them. This makes it safer for them and for the public (although some idiots still try to feed them despite the notices telling them not to...grrrr)

The picture below is of Rufus having his feet done back in April. He behaved perfectly then but when the farrier visited this time Rufus managed to plant a sharp kick on the farrier's leg..whoops.. I obviously wasn't thinking bored thoughts...sorry farrier:)

Thankfully the ponies behaved very well when they were moved, a great improvement from the first time which apparently took 3 hours! I wasn't there for that (thank goodness) and since then the grazing officer has spent a long time patiently getting them to feel happy about the trailer which has obviously paid off.

I will miss our visits to check the ponies even though they used to frequently find it funny to do a runner just as we were trying to look them over...

I will also miss their company when we are over at Saltbox pulling ragwort, checking the reptile refuges or photographing things as then they become very nosey wanting to know what we are up to. We can't even take a rest without them inspecting us. This is Rufus investigating my husband's big boots which usually smell strongly of sheep:)

And this is Tavey making sure that he is the only good looking chap in my photograph..after all he is rather handsome and he knows it:)

Hope they will be happy at their new site.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Obliging Sheep

I am beginning to get really very fond of sheep. At the weekend my husband and I were helping with the annual Countryside Day. Our job was to promote the project's new sponsorship scheme for our conservation grazing animals and to answer questions about the grazing side of the project. To help with this we had the project's 19 Herdwick sheep. The wind blew the tents around right by them, people walked past them with dogs and children lent over to pet them but they remained calm and composed for the whole day and I think that is quite amazing.

There are around 900 different breeds of sheep in the world and each has different qualities. The Herdwicks, originating from Cumbria, are extremely hardy with coarse, dense fleeces high in kemp and lanolin to keep them dry and warm. They do well on poor quality forage and will happily eat regrowth of scrub, coarse grasses, coarse herbs and other invasive weeds so are useful in conservation grazing. Recently our Herdwicks were put in to graze a small orchard that was full of stinging nettles, brambles, Rosebay Willowherb etc. As the picture below shows, when they first went in we could hardly see them as the weeds towered above them.....

...but within a few days they had just about cleared the site (pic below) and were moved on to another overgrown orchard.

Nearly perfect little grazers, although, I did notice a bit of scrumping going on...but who could blame them:))

At the first orchard, just as we were about to have our lunch after having settled the sheep in, we noticed a rather battered Red Admiral butterfly laying on the ground by the gate, an obvious casualty of a lot of sheepy hooves. My husband carefully picked it up, straightened its wings out with a bit of grass and put it on a leaf to recover. Another volunteer mixed up a sugar solution and dropped it down on the leaf and the butterfly was soon tucking in..

Within a short time it was feeling much better and started sunning itself..Ahhhhh

My grandson has just walked in and on seeing I was writing about sheep (again!) started reeling off some sheep jokes...

Q: What did the cloned sheep say to the other sheep? A: I am ewe.

Q: Where do sheep get their hair cut? A: At the Baa-Baa's shop.

Q: How do sheep know the price of apples? A: By reading the Baaa-code.

I can sense a big groan from everyone but I found them quite amusing:))

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Ragwort Pulling

One advantage of having a parent with Alzheimers is that they like to reminisce so I am getting to hear a lot of tales about my Great Grandfather. He was a royal game keeper and lived in a cottage in Great Windsor Park. Although a game keeper, he also had a great affinity with all animals and wildlife, and for this reason I have always been told that I take after him. I am not sure he enjoyed his job as apparently didn't like the birds being shot and frequently complained to my mother about the 'toffs that killed his birds for fun.' He would also make up many tales to do with the countryside; when my mother was small and frightened by the noise of the rutting deer, he said that they were, 'just having a lovely party,' and to stop her from trampling on the crops in corn fields, he told her that if she did the, 'black spots of the Fluellen flower would jump out and stick to her!' For this reason I was particularly pleased to come across some Round Leaved Fluellen while Ragwort pulling on Saltbox SSSI as I had never seen it before..I can now see why my mother was always so particular about not trampling on even one blade of corn and it also might account for why, when I annoyed my big brother, he would threaten to 'put the black spot on me' which would result in running in terror and hiding under my bed:)

There has been a lot of Ragwort around this year and because it is very toxic to grazing animals, much of the summer has been spent removing it. It is back breaking work but has some advantages too as one notices things previously overlooked. Again on Saltbox SSSI we recently came across this lovely white Scabious amongst all the usual pale lilac ones...

...and a couple of weeks previously (same site and still Ragworting) we found several clumps of white Marjoram amongst the usual purple Marjoram.

Around the same time I also found, what I am guessing, was an albino slow worm under one of the reptile refuges we have there. It was a very pale, creamy, grey and totally devoid of stripes (annoyingly I didn't have my camera with me). It reminded me that we used to have an albino badger that regularly visited our garden, one of several that frequented the area, especially around Saltbox. It wasn't completely white but a very light cream colour. Unfortunately, since our neighbours got three Rottweilers and a Jack Russel Terrier, the badgers no longer visit us so I don't know if this strain still exist amongst our local badger population.

Saturday, 27 August 2011


This post is a bit of an experiment to see if I have managed to sort out a problem. For sometime now when I have gone to 'Publish Post' a message has appeared saying 'Java script void.' I had just found a few things to try to correct it when Virgin Media messed up our Internet connection and has taken nearly a month to repair it..all very frustrating:((
Anyway hopefully it will all be ok now but for anyone with similar posting problems, I think it originated from updating to Internet Explorer 9 so I have now reverted back to IE 8. I have just found that didn't work so I have now tried going through a different browser (Firefox) and I think that has done the job:)
I suppose I should also test posting an image so here are a couple...the first is of the sheep shearer in action, back in June, with one of the Project's Beulah Speckled Face ewes, followed by a Jacob ewe, looking some what surprised, just after having had her woolly coat removed. Behind the Jacob are the lambs, who, as they aren't shorn, are separated from their mothers until the deed has been done. The noise of them calling to each other was deafening, so much so that my husband, who suffers with tinnitus, was walking around with bits of tissue sticking out of his ears:)
My next problems to sort out are why I can't double space between paragraphs (hence the silly stars) and why I can't highlight things to delete or move them. If anyone has any answers please let me know.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Wonderful Wildlife

We recently attended a conference on chalk grassland. One of the speakers, Bill Oddie no less, answered the question, 'Why is wildlife important?' by saying that, above all, it gives pleasure. Just lately that pleasure has taken on a bigger role for me as it is helping me through what is a rather difficult time. My dear old mum has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I feel so sad that this special person has to end her days slowly forgetting everything that is important to her. However whenever I go out for a good trudge in valley or even just a stroll round the garden my mood is always lifted by the wonderful wildlife. Here are just some of the things that cheered me up today...
Bee on the Iris at the edge of one of my ponds
Man Orchid (one of 20 in the Pony's field)
Pyramid Orchids in the valley behind us
Unusual Pyramid Orchid (I think) is definitely not a common spotted
Yellow Rattle (v. prolific this year)
Scabious and one of many butterflies
Bee after the rain
and lastly my friendly pheasant with her baby visiting the garden
If only my mum could manage a walk round the countryside...I just know it would cheer her up as well.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Conservation Grazing Lambs

Our new generation of conservation grazing lambs are now all born and running around the field enjoying the sunshine. It has been an exhausting but wonderful experience. We were advised not to give the lambs names but because some stick out in my mind, I have been unable to resist naming them. Here are a few of those lambs:

Jelly Bean

Little Jelly Bean got a bit stuck whilst being born, with his head out but his legs back. This requires urgent intervention as the lambs head can swell rapidly. Luckily the Grazing Officer was on hand to push him back into the ewe, re-arrange his legs and pull him back out. It saved his life but left him so wobbly he couldn't stand up for a couple of days and couldn't suckle. When I arrived in the morning I was shown how to milk the ewe and then tube feed Jelly Bean. We tried very hard to get him to suckle but he just couldn't manage it so I repeated what I had been shown earlier on and thankfully got the tube down the right passage to his stomach (and not into his lungs!) and the feed went well..Phew..I was sooo relieved. Over the next few days he gradually gained strength and as the second picture shows he is now feeding and growing well:))


This little guy just loved standing on his mother's back sucking her ear. The mum was very tolerant but every now and again she would stand up and send him flying.


This chap started life well and was soon out in the field with his sister. Unfortunately they then became rather too adventurous and managed to get under the sheep netting into a field of horses where he got kicked and knocked out (hence K.O.). He was totally unconscious for quite a long time and we were all amazed he survived with only a slightly miss-shaped jaw.

Baldy Bot

We are not quite certain what happened to this little one. One morning he was found with a bald bottom. The vet thought it was probably a crow stealing lambs wool for its nest. Luckily the fleece soon grew again so it is not suffering with sunburn in this lovely weather.


Corky was so called because she didn't have her lambs until 2 weeks after all the others had lambed. Day after day she sat in her favourite shady spot under the Hawthorn tree and day after day the lambing team took turns to watch her for signs of lambing. When she did eventually give birth to her twins it was conveniently on a busy day on the farm when the whole lambing team were there taking part in a volunteering activity.

We had just put her and her newborn lambs into a mothering up pen when the manager of the project arrived with a representative form Surrey County Council who was doing a Public Value Review. We all felt very proud as we showed off the new arrivals and hopefully it will help her realise how important the farm is for the Old Surrey Downs Grazing Project.