Cromer's Bagot goats enjoying a winter break - but they will be baaaaaaaack next year
Cromer's Bagot goats are enjoying a change of scenery over the winter after their sterling work this year.
The herd of goats was released back onto Melbourne Hill in May and spent their summer holidays on the cliff face, eating the foliage which overgrows there.
But the nine nannies and three nanny kids are now grazing at Salthouse Heath and 15 billies are at Kelling Heath, both in north Norfolk.
The billies will soon be heading further afield, with Norfolk Wildlife Trust taking them for a winter break near Thetford.
As well as being the stars of thousands of photos, videos and selfies this year, the goats – who first arrived in Cromer in 2016 – have saved North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and local taxpayers more than £10,000 thanks to their habitat management on the cliff this year.
In the past, the cliff area has become overgrown, leading to a problem with litter becoming embedded and snagged in bushes. The goats graze on rough materials rather than grass, and that helps keep plant growth across the area under control.
Mark Frosdick, an animal control assistant at NNDC, was the brains behind the idea of using the goats to keep the cliff clear of overgrowth and rubbish.
He said: “The goats have been a brilliant success and have carried out a very useful job. They have saved taxpayers thousands of pounds, as well as proving an attraction for visitors.
“The Bagot is a rare breed, so it’s great that we are also helping to keep them alive and well.”
This year saw the launch of some merchandise to promote the Bagots, with the artwork by Ian Richardson, another member of staff at the council.
More than 1,500 mugs, tea-towels, ceramic fridge magnets, mounted prints, postcards, key rings, bags and coasters have been sold, with the income more than offsetting the cost of vets’ bills and feed for the goats.
Mr Richardson said: “Depending on the weather, the Bagots – possibly including some young kids – will be returning to Cromer sometime in the spring or early summer next year.”