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Return of the urban sheep

PUBLISHED: 12:41 24 July 2008 | UPDATED: 08:26 28 March 2014

Brighton and Hove district council are reintroducing grazing to its urban parks.

'It's not often you go from your day job to turning a sheep over and inspecting its hooves," says Brigitta Richards. A nursery nurse, Richards is one of a growing number of volunteer shepherds recruited by Brighton and Hove city council as part of an initiative to reintroduce grazing to its urban parks, after an absence of more than 50 years says The Guardian.

While encountering sheep is nothing out of the ordinary for country dwellers, it may prove more of a shock to city folk taking a stroll. But introducing hardy rare breeds such as herdwicks and southdowns to Wild Park, which is flanked by large council estates, this winter may encourage greater flower and insect diversity. The idea is that the sheep's idiosyncratic grazing patterns - some nibble bushes while others prefer chomping coarse terrain - will re-establish different levels of grass (good breeding ground for rare species), gradually replacing the aggressive approach of industrial mowing.

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