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Flocking to Horton Road
Sheep
Looking sheepish
Last updated: 22 January 2005 1501 GMT
lineA Gloucester cemetery has recruited a team of four-legged maintenance specialists (aka sheep) to maintain its grass.
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Audio Ed Beard visits the sheep at Horton Road cemetary

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Visitors to Gloucester's Horton Road cemetery in the next few weeks may be surprised to see an unusual maintenance team at work.

The management team have swapped mowers for grazers and introduced a team of four sheep to keep the area trimmed.

The cemetery is a peaceful green space in the middle of the busy city, between Kingholm and Barton Street.

"It's a delightful little spot," said Derek Brown, Countryside Unit Manager for Gloucester City Council, "and it seems so appropriate having it managed by quiet, gentle sheep...rather than machines and noisy petrol-driven things."

Greedy

The woolly greenskeepers, which are all rare breed specimens, have been unimpressed by the human traffic passing through their new home.

"If they've had an awful lot to eat - and it looks, by the size of them, like they've been tucking into this quite nicely - then they're not really terribly interested in us at all," said Derek.

The sheep have been at the cemetery for about a month, and will remain there for another 4-5 weeks, until the wild flowers begin to emerge.

Derek has been charged with finding pastures new for the transient mini-flock.

"We've got nothing lined up at the moment," he said.

"If anybody's got a plot of waste ground they'd like tidied up and they'd like to look after them for a few weeks, get them touch with us at the Countryside Unit at Robinswood Hill and we'll go and have a look."

No grass please - we're sheep

Despite popular preconceptions, the sheep could be as happy in a weed-ridden patch of scrub as a verdant field.

"They actually do not like grass," said Derek, "they'll eat grass if there's all there is but they'd be pretty miffed."

He added that anyone interested in hosting the foursome would need sheep-proof fencing and a water supply.

AUDIO
Ed Beard visits the sheep at Horton Road cemetery

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