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Wiltshire Horn

Wiltshire Horn

Possibly introduced by the Romans, this is a native breed from Wiltshire. It is unusual among native breeds because of its ability to shed its wool in spring, alleviating the need for shearing. The rising price of wool and a move away from horned sheep resulted in a decline in popularity during the 19th and 20th centuries. The breed was saved from extinction by a small group of enthusiastic breeders who formed the Wiltshire Horn Sheep Society in 1923.  In the 1970's the breed came under the protection of the RBST because numbers were so low.

The sheep who didn't like orchids...

As well as being able to shed its own wool the Wiltshire Horn has other talents. In 2011, a flock of Wiltshire Horns were borrowed by Network Rail to graze a railway cutting that was home to wild orchids and other flora. The sheep were used to clear the scrub without harming other plants and left the orchids alone. They seem to be natural conservationists and land management specialists too.