Spirited bunch of Bagot goat kids get ready for summer by the sea on Norfolk cliffs
PUBLISHED: 18:38 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:22 26 March 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
They originally came to these shores with crusaders returning from conquests in the Middle East.
And the Bagot goats that have become a regular feature on Cromer’s cliffs over the summer months have conquered plenty of hearts.
This year’s flock will be bigger than ever following the birth of 12 kids - six billies and six nannies - at their current home of Wiveton Hall.
Mark Frosdick, animal control officer at North Norfolk District Council, which bought the flock for breeding last April, said the goats had become hit among visitors to Cromer, and specially-made ‘Goats on a slope’ tea towels and other merchandise promoting them had sold around the world.
Mr Frosdick said: “They’ve got to be some of the most photographed goats in the world.
“At feeding time, you get crowds of up to 20 people turn up and all want to chat about the goats.
“People are very surprised when the look over the cliff edge and see them grazing there.”
Bagots were first brought to Britain in the 1380s and given by King Richard II to Johnn Bagot, from a noble family in Staffordshire.
As recently as 2010 the Rare Breeds Survival Trust listed the breed as ‘critically endangered’. Although there are still only several hundred breeding nannies in the UK they are now considered ‘vulnerable’.
A flock was first to Cromer in the summer 2016 to counter a rat infestation on the cliffs - the goats eat the same food and vegetation the rats were using.
Mr Frosdick said: “People were sitting there eating their fish and chips and rats were running around their feet.”
They became such a firm favourite and proved so useful in habitat management in Cromer and at Salthouse Marshes, where they winter, the council decided to breed their own.
After a month or two more at Wiveton Hall - where they are shortly to graze in front of the property’s cafe - they will return to Cromer’s cliffs.
Mr Frosdick said the kids - which were already starting to develop the beginnings of horns - were a spirited bunch.
He said: “They do have a bit of rough and tumble. They’ve got hard heads, so they don’t actually do each other any harm.”