Sheep babysitters wanted: Volunteers needed to watch Mill Hill Nature Reserve flock

SUS-181121-141631001
SUS-181121-141631001

A flock of sheep are being employed to improve precious chalk grassland on the Mill Hill Local Nature Reserve.

The unusual looking sheep – called Jacobs – have two sets of horns and were moved onto the South Downs land north of Shoreham on Friday.

Mill Hill is one of the best spots to see butterflies in the national park thanks to the high quality of its chalk grassland, which only exists because of centuries of grazing.

Reintroducing grazing animals is essential to maintain and improve plant diversity and support the butterflies and other insects that thrive on them.

Jasmine Owen, assistant ranger at the South Downs National Park, said: “Chalk grassland is one of the most endangered habitats in the country but up to 30 different species of butterfly can be found at Mill Hill.

“We need local people’s support to help our sheep settle into their new home if we’re to keep butterflies such as silver spotted skipper, Adonis blue and wall thriving here for years to come.”

The South Downs National Park Authority is asking for volunteers to help keep an eye on the woolly residents.

Dog owners are also being asked to keep their animals under careful control as well as picking up and binning dog mess, which can carry diseases harmful to sheep.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact jasmine.owen@southdowns.gov.uk