Pig Power Returns to Help Restore Heathland

Pig power is being called on again this year to help restore heathland at a popular Leicestershire beauty spot.

Eight Welsh Pigs are being drafted in to help with an environmental project at Beacon Hill Country Park.

Leicestershire County Council has employed the pigs to help clear unwanted species such as bracken, sycamore and birch scrub.

By doing what they love best – eating, rummaging and turning over the soil – the real life rotavators will leave clumps of gorse, which is one of the most valuable heathland plants in the park.

The pigs have been borrowed from Brooksby Melton College (BMC) and it is anticipated they will help clear around an acre of land.

Byron Rhodes, County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for country parks, said: “We are delighted to have these curly tailed helpers join our ranks this summer.
It is the fourth year on the trot that Brooksby Melton College has helped us in the way.
The work the pigs do helps to disturb the ground giving chance for the dormant seeds of heather, bilberry and gorse to germinate.”

Nick Marriott, Farm Manager at BMC, said: “It’s great for us to contribute to such an extensive and important project.”

The pigs join Beacon Hill’s unusual landscape management team which includes a mixture of English Longhorn cattle, Highland Cattle and Manx Loaghtan sheep which keep down invasive species and keep up grazing pressure for the site. There are also five alpacas which help protect the sheep from dog attacks.

The pigs are just below the summit which can be accessed via the top entrance of Beacon Hill, north west of the summit, close to where the National Forest Wood Fair will be held on Monday 26th August.

For more information about Beacon Hill Country Park visit: www.leics.gov.uk/countryparks and www.facebook.com/beaconhillcountrypark

For more on Brooksby Melton College visit: www.brooksbymelton.ac.uk