This flock of sheep play a key role in maintaining the habitat by controlling dominant species on an area of land at La Mielles de Morville, behind the Frances Le Sueur Centre.
Jersey is renowned throughout the world for its breed of cattle, however, in the 1600s sheep were far more important, as the Jersey folk were passionate about knitting 🧶 The industrial revolution brought the knitting industry to an abrupt end. Little evidence now remains to prove its earlier existence…
And sadly, the multi-horned Jersey sheep, have long died out.
In 2008, the National Trust for Jersey reintroduced primitive Manx Loaghtan long-horned sheep, a hardy rare breed thought to be the closest living relative of the now extinct Jersey sheep. The flock has been invaluable in addressing the widespread ecological degradation that has taken place along Jersey’s north coast.
When active land management ceased in the early 20th century on the north coast, the semi-natural open grassland and heathland habitats characteristic of traditionally farmed marginal areas began to be invaded by bracken and scrub. The invasion of bracken in particular, which has blanketed vast swathes of land along the north coast of the Island, led to a widespread decline in biodiversity.
Reinstating active management is the key to restoring species-rich semi-natural maritime grassland and heathland habitats, and the Manx Loaghtan flock contribute enormously in this respect. Through the action of trampling, the sheep help to reduce the cover of bracken, while grazing controls the growth of competitive plant species, prevents scrub invasion, and facilitates the development of diverse plant communities with varied sward structures.
Please help us to look after these sustainable conservationists; if out walking with your dog, then take the lead.