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A herd of 25 goats have been recruited by a museum in Gosport…
They’ve been brought in to The Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower at Priddy’s Hard to clear the site of vegetation.
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, which owns Priddy’s Hard and the Museum, has battled since last September with the ever-encroaching tide of bushes and weeds currently choking the scheduled ancient monument, one of the most important historic sites around Portsmouth Harbour.
The goats have been supplied by Longdown Activity Farm at Ashurst in the New Forest, and they’ll be kept at the museum until they munch their way through the undergrowth and the structure of the ramparts can be seen again. This is a greener alternative to heavy machinery which could easily damage the site.
The ramparts date from the early 1700s, when Charles II ordered the construction of earthworks along the Gosport shoreline to defend Portsmouth Dockyard and the harbour. In 1750 it was decided to relocate the gunpowder stores there from Portsmouth for safety reasons. Then in 1805, gunpowder stored at the Royal Naval Armaments depot at Priddy’s Hard was transported to the Trafalgar fleet which included Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory.
The Explosion Museum (open Saturdays and Sundays, 10.00 am - 4.00 pm) now tells the story of naval warfare from the days of gunpowder to modern missiles.
Chief ‘Goatherd’ Marc Farrance, Visitor Services Officer at Explosion, has been telling Heart he’s been kept busy by the new arrivals:
“I have managed to leave the goats without them following me for the time being! They seem very at home in the ramparts, where they have a huge choice of foodstuffs and are already tucking into brambles and ivy. At this rate they’ll double in size in no time.”