It may sound baarmy, but sheep have been central to the historic development of the Brecks landscape. Yet their crucial role is scarcely known and appreciated by the public and has not been effectively documented. Many aspects of this traditional form of land management have disappeared in the past half century.
In order to manage present-day heaths and pass on traditional skills and customs, there is a need for knowledge and understanding of past practices and modern applications.
Led by The Breckland Society, this project will research and record the historic presence and role of sheep in the landscape of the Brecks. It will include sheep breeds (Norfolk Horn) and the wool and meat and their markets; shepherds and sheep husbandry; shepherds clothing and crooks; shepherds huts and hurdles; the language and terminology associated with sheep farming; the fold course system; droveways and enclosures and the sharing of the warren lands with the rabbits.
The project will include workshops on shepherding crafts to help foster traditional skills. A grazing practitioners’ day will be held to share experience on contemporary habitat management involving sheep.
There will also be training opportunities for volunteers in areas including oral history, archaeological and surveying fieldwork, archival research skills, and associated crafts. An illustrated report, leaflet and dedicated web pages will be produced, as well as a visual and oral history archive.
The project has just started - more news soon!
Visit the Breckland Society's website for more details.