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Feral goats are treated by Lynton and Lynmouth town councillors

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

NO KIDDING: Goat herding takes place in the Valley of Rocks, Lynton. Pictures: Rupert Kirby

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A HERD of feral goats on Exmoor have been rounded up for their latest set of bi-annual health checks.

Last Wednesday a group of people including Market Vets from South Molton, an organisation called Friends of the Goats and some Lynton and Lynmouth town councillors herded the goats into a pen to be treated.

Forty-four goats in total were given treatments for worms, parasites and ticks as part of the checks which have been going on in the Valley of the Rocks for the past three years.

The herd has been reduced from around 200 but Lynton and Lynmouth town councillor Bernard Peacock, who took part in the herding along with councillor Elizabeth Rodway, said there were still issues with billy goats coming into Lynton and causing mischief.

He said: "We get goats coming into the village and raiding people's gardens. I think we have got a group of about 11 billies."

He added that since the herd has been reduced the goats are easier to treat and they are all tagged in a similar way to sheep to make them easier to track.

"There is a history of the goats out there not being well managed," he said. "We rounded up 44. They were all in good nick.

"They do get an awful lot of ticks and worms and lice on their bodies."

Bernard added that it was important to treat the goats, particularly as the issue of animal welfare was more to the fore these days.

The presence of goats in the Valley of Rocks was recorded in the Domesday Book with 75 living in the Manor of Lyntonia. Their history in more recent times has been quite chequered. In the mid-19th century steps were taken to remove them completely as they killed so many sheep by butting them over the cliffs.

They were reintroduced in 1897 by Sir Thomas and Lady Hewitt. These were domestic goats believed to have come from Sandringham but they died out in the 1960s. The present herd is the original breed, originating from the Cheviot Hills of Northumberland. They were introduced in 1976. For more information visit www.lyntongoats.org.uk/goatsoflynton.php

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