Islanders help boost Jersey’s grazing restoration project

P1630692By Liz Corry

They say the grass is always greener on the other side. Well now the sheep at Sorel can find out first-hand.

Ecoscape and the Back to Work scheme at Sorel. Photo by Liz Corry

Thanks to the skill and hard work of the guys on the Back to Work scheme and Ecoscape, the sheep now have access to extra grazing land at Sorel.

A fence has been erected around the field adjacent to the chough release-aviary allowing for the shepherd to improve the management of his flock. It is a relatively small area, but it will make a huge difference.

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P1620359 P1620334Once the fence was up and tools cleared away, the shepherds then had the seemingly mammoth task of herding the sheep from the cliffs and picking out which sheep would go in the new site. Luckily for them Mist the sheep dog, made the job a lot easier.

Aaron the shepherd stood at the top of the ridge calls to Mist, his dog, below to push the sheep up the ridge and onto the headland. Photo by Liz Corry

The shepherding team showing off their skills. Photo by Liz Corry.

Up until the beginning of the 20th Century, the coastal headlands were an important part of the rural economy. Cattle, ponies and sheep would have grazed upon these areas and gorse and bracken would have been collected for fuel and bedding respectively. The disappearance of such practices allowed bracken and scrub to encroach, in turn leading to the disappearance of many coastal and heathland species. The red-billed chough is a prime example of such a species relying on the sheep to improve habitat as well as providing their wool for nest building.

P1630835 P1630837The Back to Work scheme, set up by the Social Security Department and Department of the Environment, helps unemployed people in Jersey to gain skills and experience to attain permanent employment while carrying out dedicated projects enhancing Jersey’s biodiversity.

Ecoscape, a local contractor with a wealth of environmental experience, provide guidance and training to participants on the scheme. Its hard work at times, but the skills acquired and sense of achievement with the end result can be very rewarding.

A video produced by ALC gives you an insight into what was involved over the five days the team worked at Sorel. You can also view it via Ecoscape’s Facebook page.

3 thoughts on “Islanders help boost Jersey’s grazing restoration project

  1. This project is going from strength to strength due entirely to so many excellent partnerships. As an environmental flag-ship example, it will take some beating. Congratulations to everyone so far involved.

  2. Very impressed with ‘ Back to Work’ scheme efforts around the aviary, that’s some smart fencing guys. Conservation fields looking good too, a Charm of 200 Goldfinches up there recently.

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