Jersey Heritage has restored a meadow at Hamptonne Country Life Museum to its traditional use with the support of two community partnerships.
Sheep have returned to graze in the meadow after it was fenced off to keep the animals safe and secure. This was possible thanks to Jersey Water, who sponsored the large amount of fencing required, and the Probation Service Community Service scheme, whose clients carried out the work involved.
A flock of nine sheep from farmer Jeremy Hughes has arrived at Hamptonne and will be joined in the meadow by new-born lambs and their mothers in the coming weeks. The sheep add to the calves, piglets and chickens usually seen by visitors to the rural museum in St Lawrence. Wool from the sheep will also be spun by Living History characters as they entertain visitors, helping to recreate what would have happened on the farm in the past.
Tom Kennedy, Jersey Heritage’s Site Garden at Hamptonne, explained that for many years the meadow had been plagued by invasive plants and controlling them was extremely labour-intensive. He said: “Every year, hundreds of hours are spent pulling up the plants by hand. This year, we’ve added a small flock of sheep to the meadow, which provides an environmentally-friendly solution to the problem. As well as keeping the meadow in good order, the sheep also mean a return to the practises that would have been carried out by our rural communities in the past. We are extremely grateful to Jersey Water and the Community Service scheme, as well as Jeremy Hughes, for enabling us to make this lovely addition to our storytelling at Hamptonne. We’re sure our visitors, especially children, are going to thoroughly enjoy seeing the sheep and spring lambs in the meadow.”
Mark Bowden, Asset Manager at Jersey Water, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Jersey Heritage in their project for the meadow at Hamptonne. Our two organisations share a purpose to look after the Island’s heritage and protect the landscapes we all love. At Jersey Water, we are committed to delivering a reliable supply of high-quality water to our customers now and in the future. Water is at the heart of Island life, not only are we reliant on the environment for the provision of water, how we operate has a direct impact on nature and the world around us. How others operate in our surrounding water catchments can also directly impact our precious water supply so we are happy to support this example of low-density sheep grazing which strikes the right balance between nature and water quality. We’re passionate about working together to have a positive impact on our Island and the community we serve.”
The Community Service scheme’s help with the Hamptonne fencing project is part of a wider programme involving Jersey Heritage’s historic sites. Ian Daly, Jersey Heritage’s Head of Facilities & Security, explained that the service’s clients carried out a huge amount of general maintenance work for the charity.
He said: “The help we have received from the service has been invaluable and since we began this partnership a couple of seasons ago, they have contributed more than 1,000 hours of help at our sites. The ongoing pandemic has had a huge impact on our income over the past year and this has had a knock-on effect on our ability to fund maintenance work at the sites. We cannot overstate the value of this partnership and the mutual benefit gained by both organisations.”
Andy Le Marrec, the Probation and Community Service Manager, said: “Community Service clients have welcomed the opportunity to make a contribution to the historic Jersey Heritage sites, which provide wonderful surroundings for them to carry out their service to the community. It is valuable work which the clients recognise, knowing that they are making a much-needed contribution to an important charity that helps to protect the Island's heritage.
“The Probation Service is delighted to be able to continue our successful partnership with Jersey Heritage and welcomes the opportunity to work at such prestigious sites. We are grateful for the confidence shown in the community service scheme and the recognition of the work our clients perform.”