Sheep are part of an ecological trial on Hampstead Heath 11-18 September.
If the pilot is successful, animal grazing could be expanded to other areas of the Heath. Grazing is known to play a major role in boosting species-rich wildlife habitats and reducing the use of machinery.
Unlike mowing, grazing produces a mosaic of vegetation heights and types, improving ecological sites for species including amphibians, small mammals, invertebrates and wildflowers.
The London Natural History Society has surveyed plant life in the area to be grazed, and will do another survey after the trial to assess any changes.
Sheep were last seen pastured on Hampstead Heath in the 1950s. A small trial visit took place in August 2019.
The pilot is managed by the City of London Corporation in partnership with the Heath & Hampstead Society, Heath Hands, and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
The flock of five sheep, provided by Mudchute Farm and made up of two Oxford Down and three Norfolk Horns, will graze on the Heath Extension on the north of the Heath.
The area has a number of anthills, which are overgrown by Creeping Cinquefoil and other plants. The aim is to see if the sheep can remove this growth so that the hills are air-cooled and therefore better for the ants.
Volunteers from the Heath & Hampstead Society and Heath Hands will support the project by helping to monitor the sheep and engaging with visitors who want to know more about the pilot.
The sheep are in an enclosed field.
The location in Justhreewords is
The site is opposite Reynolds Close, Hampstead Way NW11 7EA
For further information contact Heath and Hampstead Society (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Heath Hands (email@example.com)
Watch: Sheep arrive on the Heath for the grazing trial
Video provided by the Ham & High