Saturday, 11 February 2017

Sheep checks and the Wilderhope Yew tree

Yesterday we loaded up the Landrover with the tools needed for the day and then drove down to Ballstone quarry and Ippikin's meadow to feed and count the sheep. Our hebridean sheep are part of the RSPCA freedom foods scheme which means they have the highest standard of welfare. We check on them every day and as it is particularly cold at the moment we give them some sheep nuts, which they love! 
As soon as the sheep hear us calling and see the bucket they come running over
Our sheep never enter the foodchain, they are purely used for conservation grazing and therefore get to live out their whole lives happily grazing our meadows for us.
Placement student Emily feeding the sheep at Ippikin's meadow
We then headed to Wilderhope to remove the lower branches on a Yew tree in the grounds of the manor. This was to enable the tenant farmer to graze cows underneath where it had become overgrown. Yew trees are poisonous to livestock so it had to be trimmed so that they couldn't reach it. 
Left: From far away it looks like one tree, but it is actually two very large old trees close together
Middle: The view of the tree from the manor patio
Right: The litter underneath the tree
But before we could start we had to do a quick litter pick underneath. After filling a few bags worth of recyclables and litter it was time to select the branches to be removed. By using a harness for safety, the branches were cut one by one until they could no longer be reached from below.
The stone wall provides a good step to reach slightly higher into the canopy.

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