Adding sheep and goats to historic site will create ‘new tourist attraction’

Goats and sheep could be introduced to Castle Hill. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Goats and sheep could be introduced to Castle Hill. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Having sheep and goats return to a town’s heritage site will make it a major tourist attraction, a councillor has said.

Theford councillors Roy Brame, Terry Jermy and Jane James. Picture: Archant

Theford councillors Roy Brame, Terry Jermy and Jane James. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Thetford Town Council has asked residents if they would like to see grazing return to the 847-year-old remains of Castle Hill in an attempt to cut costs.

The council pays about £7,500 every time the grass at Thetford Castle, also known as Castle Hill, is cut.

This work is done twice a year but due to high, dense vegetation the council has been advised it needs to be done four times a year, pushing the cost up to £34,000 a year.

Councillor Jane James said: "It's an interesting opportunity in that we can reduce the impact of pesticides and the aggressive impact of cutting as it's a special site.

Sheep could be introduced to Castle Hill. Picture: Neil Perry

Sheep could be introduced to Castle Hill. Picture: Neil Perry - Credit: Archant


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"In a way it's like we are going full circle in terms of letting vegetation grow but it's not going to be all day, all year.

"The only concerns are about access to the mound as people do like to explore. We'll still have that access but it's something we have to see over time."

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The council has asked residents to take part in an online survey to raise their thoughts.

Councillor Terry Jermy said the public's view will decide the council's next steps.

He said: "I don't have any issues with the principle but it's crucial the public are engaged and consulted and points taken on board.

"The Castle Hill motte and surrounding land is historically significant and people want to be able to access it and the council should be facilitating and encouraging this and there is a risk that people would be deterred with the introduction of grazing animals."

Roy Brame, who represents the Castle area of Thetford, said it would create a tourist attraction for the town.

"To be honest it's taking it back to what it was," he said.

"It's a lovely park and improvements have come from putting animals at Barnham Common, so I look forward to taking Castle Park back to how it used to be.

"I think it will give people something to see, let's make Thetford the tourist attraction it should be."

To take part in the survey go to www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/8T3CCCL or a questionnaire can be completed in Thetford Market Place.

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