How many hardy souls does it take round-up a herd of goats?

Eighty volunteers took to the Ventnor and Bonchurch Downs as part of this year’s National Trust-led project. 

Each year, the Trust appeals for a helping hand to herd the goat population so the herd can be tagged and checked over ahead of the winter.

The process involves creating a human chain to patrol some rugged terrain and dense undergrowth and ensure no resident goats are missed. 

National Trust Visitor Experience and Volunteering Manager Scott King said:

“Once again it was an exhausting but very worthwhile experience.

“It is crucial that the herd is managed properly but that is easier said than done as the goats are not always that keen to be handled. Coupled with the fact they live on some pretty wild terrain, herding them up can be an arduous task and we are really grateful for the volunteer help we have.

“It is hard work and people do finish the day with aches and pain but they can at least comfort themselves with the knowledge that they have made an important contribution to the local environment and animal welfare.”

Island Roads team has been involved in the herding since 2013 and this year provided the largest single group.

Sam O’Rourke, who organised the Island Roads team, said:

“Under Island Roads’ volunteering programme, staff are encouraged to take two days a year paid leave to support local good causes and the goat herding is always one of the most popular tasks.

“The National Trust is already seeking volunteers for next year’s herding and I am sure we will have another Island Roads team taking part.”