BCP Council are erecting new fences along the Eastcliff in preparation for next Spring, when a herd of native goats will be taking up residence and grazing on the cliffside following a successful pilot with a breed of British Primitive goats at Honeycombe Chine in Boscombe.
These goats form part of a 10-year Environmental Stewardship agreement that the council entered into with Natural England (the Government’s Nature Advisory Body) following a 2012 conservation management plan drawn up by the council. The plan focuses on the preservation and protection of the cliffs, with Natural England providing the funding needed to restore the cliffs natural features.
The cliffs provide a valuable habitat for an amazing variety of animals and plants some of which are very rare, but unfortunately large areas have become dominated by invasive, non-native vegetation to the detriment of natural habitats. Grazing with goats is a very effective, safe and sustainable way of managing the land.
A BCP Council Spokesperson commented:
“Our Countryside team are currently fencing several compartments along the Eastcliff which will house around 10-20 new goats of a hardy, native breed that are adapted to survive comfortably on rough terrain and in inclement weather conditions.
“We are working hard on minimising the visual impact of the fences but believe the presence of the goats and the interest they generate – as well as the long-term biodiversity benefits resulting from their grazing – will make this all worthwhile. Over time, the goats will also reduce the amount of thick vegetation on the cliffs, restoring lost views.”
The scheme will enable the restoration of the natural features of the cliffs, which are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as part of BCP Council’s commitment to enhancing the wildlife diversity of the conurbation.