THREE HUNDRED sheep make their home on a wind-swept clifftop in north Wales – but a new arrival has left the headland’s rams feeling sheepish.
20-month-old Gavin was bought by Great Orme farmer Dan Jones and charity Plantlife in November to breed with his 70 Herdwick-breed sheep.
The one-horned ram arrived on the Great Orme, a coastal headland near Llandudno, from TV-presenter Adam Henson’s Cotswold farm.
Farmer Dan Jones said: “Gavin’s a typical male. He stands his ground – the boss of his field. Since he arrived on the farm he’s been with his ladies.”
Gavin is one of a flock of sheep helping to maintain rare wildlife habitats on Parc Farm, which was bought by the National Trust in 2015. The flock has been purchased by Plantlife, the plant conservation charity.
Dan Jones is working with the National Trust and Plantlife, which has bought the sheep flock, to get vegetation levels on the Great Orme right for rare plants like the Orme berry, which is found nowhere else on earth.
Dan added: “In the next few weeks Gavin will go into a new field with our other rams. We’ll have to keep an eye on them, as they tend to fight.
“Gavin might show the others who’s boss – or he might end up losing the other horn.”
The farm’s flock of 290 Lleyn ewes and 70 Herdwicks are being released onto the wider coastal headland this month.
In the past the areas of the headland had been undergrazed, leaving plants like the Great Orme berry that live on the cliff-tops at risk of being choked by scrub and vigorous grasses.
The sheep will graze this headland, helping to create the space for more delicate plants and flowers to grow.
To begin with Dan will be introducing sheep onto the headland on a close-shepherded basis, bringing them back in at night, and then eventually leaving them out overnight.
Dr Trevor Dines, botanical specialist at Plantlife, said: “This is a really exciting moment. For years the wild flowers and other wildlife of the Great Orme have suffered.
“Without the correct level of grazing, vigorous grasses and shrubs have come to dominate and literally push aside and smother more delicate flowers like spiked speedwell and hoary rockrose for which the Great Orme is so special. I can’t wait to see the sheep get to work and make space for more wildflowers to thrive.”