12:38 Monday 24 February 2014

Axe falls on lambing as bosses reveal new plans

Written byROB SMYTH

A TRADITIONAL event at an historic South Derbyshire attraction will be changed dramatically as bosses announced major alterations to its lambing season.

Lambing at the National Trust’s Calke Abbey, near Ticknall, will be very different in 2014 after it was revealed that the venue would no longer run its popular lambing tent.

The call was made after the site’s main flock of sheep were sold off, as bosses decided that ‘changing priorities’ meant that the axe had to fall on the popular annual attraction.

However, the Mail can reveal there will still be events to mark the start of lambing season, but on a much smaller scale.

Bill Cove, countryside manager at Calke, said: “Over recent years it has become clear that the commitment for our ranger team to manage a large sheep flock limits the time available for higher-priority work. We are looking forward to a different lambing event this year.

“Last year, it was decided to sell the main flock of sheep as a result of changing priorities in the work undertaken at Calke Abbey.

“A smaller flock of around 50 Portland sheep will still graze the parkland.

“Portland sheep are a rare breed and they have been at Calke since the mid-18th century and are a significant part of the heritage of the park.

“There will still be a lambing event, but it will be on a smaller scale than in previous years.”

The event is scheduled to take place over two weekends, March 29 and 30 and April 5 and 6, in the Large Kitchen Garden and at Home Farm, which is not usually accessible to the public.

At Home Farm, ewes will be lambed in the tractor shed and visitors will have the chance to learn more about the importance of the Portland flock, and see lambs frolic with their mothers in the Large Kitchen Garden.

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