Latest Sheep Update, March 2018
Our sheep farmer, Mr Creed from Kelston, continues to provide us with regular flocks of sheep to munch down the grass in the field and give us much visual pleasure. At times over the last year we have had as many as 36 sheep and lambs to enjoy.
James has responded to three welfare issues during 2017. Following the unexpected birth of two lambs early one morning, an alert resident in the Crescent rang me (01225 428142). Mr Creed’s prompt arrival enabled them to survive, since the mother seemed unable to feed them; they were taken back to the farm, and initially bottle-fed. Subsequently, two cases of fly-strike needed medical attention and transport back to the farm.
It is not yet time for any sheep/lambs to come to the field, since the grass is not yet long enough, and Mr Creed favours late sheep mating with consequent late lambing in better weather. We also have to wait for the lambs to grow big enough not to slip through the railings. Andrew Fraser has kindly continued to regularly scythe down the nettles in the traditional way to stop them from seeding. The LCA Committee feels that use of weedkiller on the nettles is unacceptable.
We lost a chestnut tree by All Saints Road, which collapsed into the field causing minor damage to the fence. B&NES legally owns the trees in the field, and they removed all the debris. Meanwhile we await action on the damaged hollow tree adjoining the Dingle path.
The daffodils planted facing Lansdown Place East are currently putting on an impressive show, heralding the start of a new year of life in our field.
Latest Sheep Update, March 2017
The past year in the Field has followed its usual routine, with different groups of sheep arriving to munch away at lush pasture, and then departing back to the farm when the grass has been eaten down.
Our sheep farmer Mr Creed is a dutiful shepherd to his flocks, and regularly checks on them, but occasionally a sheep becomes lame or has sudden medical problems. James Whatmore is the first person to contact in the event of a problem:
James Whatmore (Sheep and Field) | Email
He can then check at first hand, and only ring Mr Creed if there really is a problem.
We lost an old horse chestnut tree during the autumn, on the All Saints edge of the field; the trunk had seriously rotted. It fell into the field rather than the road, and the Council (which owns the trees) dealt with its removal. We shall plant a replacement this autumn.
Mr Creed times sheep mating later than many sheep farmers, so that his sheep produce lambs later in the Spring, to benefit from better weather and more nutritious grass. Lambs cannot come to our field until they are big enough not to squeeze through the railings and get into the road, so we have a few weeks still to wait until their bleating indicates that they have arrived!
James Whatmore (Sheep and Field) | Email
Latest Sheep Update, February 2016
During summer and autumn 2015 the sheep did an excellent job in munching the grass nice and low for the winter. However the recent mild wet conditions have seen considerable grass growth, and even now the pasture would be fine for sheep. Mr Creed, our sheep farmer from Kelston, prefers to mate his sheep relatively late so that lambs are born after the worst of the winter is over. He also needs to wait until the lambs are of sufficient size and hardiness not to walk through the railings into Lansdown Crescent and face danger from passing traffic. We therefore will not be seeing sheep in our field just yet, but obviously look forward to their arrival.
The strip of garden under our stewardship opposite Lansdown Place East is starting to wake from its winter slumber. Already the celandines are out, giving some welcome colour, and the daffodils are about to bloom. Later in the year we shall have nasturtiums, more foxgloves, and hopefully poppies to see as we pass by.
Latest Sheep Update, 27 October 2014
As you are all aware, the sheep have done a wonderful job in munching down the dead grass as well as the new shoots in the field. Some weeks ago, we scythed down the nettles and after a day or so the sheep ate all of them as well. The field is now neat and tidy for the Winter, and the sheep will shortly be moving back to Mr Creed's farm in Kelston to fresh pasture.
The garden area opposite Lansdown Place East has been planted out with foxgloves, nettle-leaved bellflower, self-heal and the pre-existing celandines are already starting to show through the ground. A quantity of wild poppy seed has been scattered, so hopefully we should have a good display after the daffodils next year.
Latest Sheep Update, 25 August 2014
You will have noticed that sheep have now returned to the field. These are the same ewes that were here with lambs earlier in the year, but the lambs are now fully weaned and independent of their mothers. Both sheep and lambs needed to leave the field as the quality of grass declined and became inadequate to produce high quality milk for the lambs.
Mr Creed, the sheep farmer, tells me that the ewes had to wait for a visit from the shearer, and they have lost their formerly shaggy fleeces. With no milk to produce, the ewes are here for some time to munch down the stringy grass, to leave the field neat and tidy for the winter.
Once the field is munched down, they will need to be moved away to another field on Mr Creed's farm in Kelston. They may be replaced by the three rams we saw last Autumn.
Latest Sheep Update, 29 June 2014
The sheep are currently away for shearing and will return in a few days, accompanied by additional lambs.