More Billy Goats arrive on Bristol’s Durdham Downs

Exciting news: four new goats have joined the two goats already on Bristol Downs. The rare-breed goats live on Goats’ Gulley and play a vital contribution to the gulley’s eco-system through their grazing on the ivy and bramble there, enabling rare plants to flourish instead.

However, visitors are being urged to play their part in protecting the goats, with Gorge users being asked to stay on the main paths, keep their dogs under control or away from the area, and to also avoid approaching or trying to feed the goats.

The Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project is behind the initiative to restore wildflower-rich grasslands in the Avon Gorge.

The year-old Bagot goats arrived earlier this month from the Bristol-based ‘Street Goat’ project, which also runs herd conservation projects with the city council and South Gloucestershire authorities in other areas of the city.

The herd are checked every day by Bristol City Council’s Downs team, and at weekends by volunteers from the Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge, plus Bristol Zoo Gardens also offering additional veterinary advice and care if required.

Bristol City Council’s Downs supervisor, Ben Skuse, explains: “The new goats have settled in very well. From the moment they arrived, they began eating the invasive scrub. The brown and white Bagots are smaller than the all-white Kashmir goats but they are only one year old so they will grow a little bigger, with their horns growing longer and thicker too.

“We understand that they look very cute but they have a vital conservation job to do, so please don’t approach them or feed them. It is also important to keep dogs on leads or preferably don’t take dogs into the enclosure at all. They have plenty of natural food and if you feed them they may become sick.

“The more scrub and bramble they eat, the more space they make for rare plants like the Bristol onion and Bristol rock-cress to flourish so we are asking any visitors to stay on the main paths throughout the Gully and not to stray up and down the steep slopes, which causes erosion and will disturb the goats and other wildlife.”

If you would like to find out more about Goats’ Gulley please see this post.