A flock of 24 Swaledale sheep, part of Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s ‘Flexigraze’ conservation grazing scheme, have arrived on Holy Island for the winter and are settling in well near Snook House.
Michaelmas Daisy and other plants, such as Pirri-pirri bur, are invasive non-native species. They compete with native species such as Lindisfarne NNR’s beautiful orchids, so sheep and cattle perform an important role of grazing the dunes and slacks to allow these sensitive plants to flourish.
Rabbits historically kept the invasive plants in check, but the rabbit population of Holy Island has crashed in recent years, so they bring in livestock instead.
The sheep will be checked daily until they leave the Reserve next March, to ensure they have enough water and have not found a way out of their pen! The flock will be moved around the dunes to target the most extensive areas of invasive plants.