Eating their way to conservation

Sheep grazing on Longhorsley Moor. Picture by Stephen Comber
Sheep grazing on Longhorsley Moor. Picture by Stephen Comber

If you’re passing Longhorsley Moor this summer, keep your eyes peeled for sheep and ponies on the site.

For the foreseeable future, four Exmoor ponies from the Moorland Mounsie Trust and 26 Soay sheep will be grazing on the land as part of a programme to supplement the culling of the birch scrub there.

This latest venture is part of a long relationship between Longhorsley Parish Council and the Flexigraze conservation-grazing scheme, which is a partner of Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

There are approximately 25 hectares of lowland heathland in Northumberland, which represents less than 0.05 per cent of the UK total.

The only extensive example of this habitat in the county is found at Longhorsley Moor, hence the need for conservation grazing rather than traditional methods of birch control.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust is the largest environmental charity in the region working to safeguard native wildlife. It has campaigned for nature conservation for more than 40 years. It aims to inform, educate and involve people in protecting their environment in favour of wildlife and conservation.