Sheep and goats could be used to cut grass at historic castle to cut council costs

PUBLISHED: 16:52 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:59 11 September 2019

Goats and sheep could be introduced to Castle Hill. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Goats and sheep could be introduced to Castle Hill. Picture: Sonya Duncan


Sheep and goats could cut the grass at an historic castle’s remains as a council attempts to slash costs.

Aerial view of Thetford Castle Mound.  Picture: Mike Page.Aerial view of Thetford Castle Mound. Picture: Mike Page.

Thetford Council pays about £7,500 every time the grass at Thetford Castle, also known as Castle Hill, is cut.

This work is done twice a year but due to high, dense vegetation the council has been advised it needs to be done four times a year, pushing the cost up to £34,000 a year.

The reason for the high cost is due to health and safety issues with cutting the steep mound which requires handheld equipment to be used sitting down.

But the 847-year-old castle remains, in Castle Park, could see sheep, goats and even cattle introduced for three weeks twice a year.

The view from the top of the mound on Castle Hill. Picture: Sonya DuncanThe view from the top of the mound on Castle Hill. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Roz Barnett, a council spokesman, said: "The park is a chalk grassland which is very rare.

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"We have been told by Norfolk Wildlife Trust that the best way to preserve the area and encourage wildlife would be to re-introduce grazing on the land.

"We want to put it to the public first as it is a public park and they may not want the change but it has been positive so far."

The Norman castle mound is a designated site by Natural England and nature experts have recommended grazing as a way to encourage native plants and insects to thrive in the grassland.

Estimates put the grazing at a cost of about £42,000 but the council will apply for a National Lottery Heritage Grant to fund the work.

Grazing has already been introduced at Barnham Cross Common and the council said that it the area has seen a surprising decrease in anti-social behaviour, litter and fires.

Ms Barnett added: "We introduced animals at Barnham Cross and there was a bit of a concern for the animals because of the anti-social behaviour and motorbikes in the area.

"But we have seen a reduction of anti-social behaviour and littering. Residents have started litter picking more because they are thinking of the welfare of the animals."

An online survey has been created at for residents to share their thoughts or a questionnaire can be completed in Thetford Market Place.

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