Flock of sheep returns to Tintagel Castle after nearly 100 years
Sheep are grazing the ramparts of an ancient Cornish landmark for the first time in almost a century.
The small flock has been let loose on 18 acres of grassland inside Tintagel Castle in the hope that their voracious appetites will help to manage the area for wildflowers. It is hoped that rough grass formerly managed by outside contractors using strimmers will in future be trimmed by the 26 living lawnmowers.
Property manager Matt Ward, who is in charge of caring for the site, explained that sheep have not been kept on the headland since the First World War.
"The castle is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and we are hoping that by reintroducing sheep it will help promote the growth of native wildflowers," he said. "Similar trials elsewhere on the north coast, involving cliff-top grazing, have proved extremely successful, with wildflower numbers multiplying from the hundreds to the thousands in some cases."
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The mixed flock was driven along a winding path up to the castle by local farmer, Tawn Dangar, who already grazes sheep on nearby headlands. The animals will remain there until mid-April – when wild flora starts to come into bloom – and return in mid-August.
Tintagel Castle, which ranks fourth among English Heritage-controlled properties in terms of popularity, attracts some 2,500 people a day during the summer. Established as a trading port with links to the Mediterranean during the 5th and 6th centuries, it is today associated mostly with King Arthur, despite there being little factual evidence for any link.
Open on Saturdays and Sundays only until March 28, the site can be visited daily during the summer months. For more information, call 01840 770328.