Sheep and goats could be used to cut grass at historic castle to cut council costs
PUBLISHED: 16:52 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:59 11 September 2019
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Sheep and goats could cut the grass at an historic castle’s remains as a council attempts to slash costs.
Thetford 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.
The reason for the high cost is due to health and safety issues with cutting the steep mound which requires handheld equipment to be used sitting down.
But the 847-year-old castle remains, in Castle Park, could see sheep, goats and even cattle introduced for three weeks twice a year.
Roz Barnett, a council spokesman, said: "The park is a chalk grassland which is very rare.
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"We have been told by Norfolk Wildlife Trust that the best way to preserve the area and encourage wildlife would be to re-introduce grazing on the land.
"We want to put it to the public first as it is a public park and they may not want the change but it has been positive so far."
The Norman castle mound is a designated site by Natural England and nature experts have recommended grazing as a way to encourage native plants and insects to thrive in the grassland.
Estimates put the grazing at a cost of about £42,000 but the council will apply for a National Lottery Heritage Grant to fund the work.
Grazing has already been introduced at Barnham Cross Common and the council said that it the area has seen a surprising decrease in anti-social behaviour, litter and fires.
Ms Barnett added: "We introduced animals at Barnham Cross and there was a bit of a concern for the animals because of the anti-social behaviour and motorbikes in the area.
"But we have seen a reduction of anti-social behaviour and littering. Residents have started litter picking more because they are thinking of the welfare of the animals."