Cromer's goats return to cliffside spot for the summer

Bagot goats on Cromer cliffside

A herd of bagot goats have been grazing the grass above Cromer beach every summer since 2016. - Credit: North Norfolk District Council

A herd of goats have returned to their summer job of grazing the grassy slopes which overlook Cromer beach.

In previous years, the bagot goats have wintered in Salthouse, where they maintain the vegetation - a task which would be difficult and expensive to do by machine. 

Since last year, they have taken their skills on tour around Norfolk, where they have visited various farmlands and estates where the goats are able to encourage ecological balance without destroying the local fauna through over-consumption.

Councillor Nigel Lloyd, portfolio holder for environmental services, climate change and environment, said: “We’re delighted to see the goats return to Cromer for their important summer job - just in time for the arrival of visitors and tourists to the town.

Bagot goats on Cromer cliffside

A herd of bagot goats maintain the vegetation on Cromer cliffside during the summer months. - Credit: North Norfolk District Council

"Throughout winter, they have been bringing their unique conservation skills to land around Norfolk, helping maintain landscapes in natural ways that’s a technical challenge for humans, but so natural and instinctive to them.

“It's great to see they were greeted by an audience, their return -like every year- is long awaited by both our residents and visitors and the cliffs themselves.”

The bagot is believed to be Britain’s oldest breed of goat and unlike most other breeds - that favour mountains and uplands - it developed in the English lowlands.

Bagots are very hardy and easy to tame and have been hugely popular with residents and visitors.

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They have even promoted their own range of 'goats on a slope' branded merchandise which includes tea towels, mugs and key rings, which can be bought from the North Norfolk Visitor Centre off Louden Road.  

When the council began the programme there were just eight goats to carry out the task of keeping the cliff habitat under control.

Bagot goats on Cromer cliffside

Bagots, pictured here on the cliff above Cromer beach, are believed to be Britain’s oldest breed of goat. - Credit: North Norfolk District Council

Two came from Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure Park at Lenwade and six of the goats were 'recruited' from Levens Hall in Cumbria.

Now, the herd has grown to more than 30, with 12 returning to the cliffs this year.

It is estimated they save around £15,000 a year. The goats have their own merchandise, which helps to fund their upkeep and make the project self-sustainable.