Keeping the sheep at bay

Sheep are pretty clever. At least, some of the time. Keeping them within a certain area can sometimes be harder then you would think. Sheep filled with (shear) determination and ideas of escape can usually turn on their supersheep strength at will, along with their pogo stick legs, to bounce off, over, on and through boundary walls and fences.

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Sheep tricks

Recently, we have been having issues with sheep escaping on a particular boundary wall at Roseberry Topping. So the team have been out to try and solve the problem.

The wall in question is on Newton Moor, and runs parallel with the Cleveland Way National Trail. From it, you get some pretty impressive views of the surrounding area, including Roseberry Topping itself.

A super view!

A super view!

Newton Moor also comes into its own at this time of year – the heather bloom turns the landscape awash with purple and the panoramic views are spectacular.


Not a bad place to work!

To begin with, we made a start on patching up the wall in places where it had collapsed. With the help of the North York Moors National Park HOBS group and our own handy volunteers we soon got the wall in a much better condition.

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Our super vols after patching up a bit of wall. Only Alan dare be on the same side as the sheep.

Repair to the dry-stone wall alone was not enough though. Even after repairing the worst of the damage, at much of its length the wall is lower in height than is generally ideal. As I mentioned before, sheep have a knack at escaping and with the stones in the wall also providing a convenient footing when needed, sheep can scramble and then launch themselves into the air, sometimes causing the wall to collapse in the process. It’s a pretty amazing sight, but one we’re definitely trying to discourage…

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A member of the Wool Tang Clan, eyeing an escape.

So, to finish the objective of sheep-proofing the boundary, we then decided to install a half-netting fence alongside the wall to act as an extra deterrent whilst also adding some additional height. A wall and a fence, a-ha! – surely there’s no sheep brave enough to tackle that?

Again, with the help of our volunteers we soon had the fence installed.

We’re confident this’ll do the trick and solve our problems. However, never underestimate sheep. This story may contin-ewe…

Jonny: What happens if a sheep gets stuck in the fence?                                                                 Chris: Another sheep will say “I will get ewe out”. © Mick Garratt

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Chris | National Trust

Chris | National Trust

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