WILD goats with a penchant for grazing have been parachuted in to help groom a beauty spot – but fear not, they will not be “headbutting whoever they want".

Cheviot goats with huge horns and gorgeous marbled coats have been spotted mooching around in Highwoods Country Park, Colchester.

The stunning herd has been enlisted to help support Colchester Council’s restoration of a wildflower meadow at Farthing Bottom Field.

The scheme is part of the authority’s Colchester Woodland and Biodiversity Project and will see the curious creatures live – and work – at the site for the next three years.


Currently, there are just four goats doing their bit to maintain the popular park, but a further six are expected to soon join them.

Steph Nissen, Colchester councillor for environment and sustainability, said: “We are committed to preserving and enhancing biodiversity, and doing more each year.

“I am extremely pleased we have been able to work with Legacy Grazing to bring this ecologically sensitive conservation project to Colchester.

“The goats’ role is conservation-grazing of the dog rose, bramble and blackthorn currently dominating the site. It’s vital in encouraging more wildflowers and diversity.

“This is just one small part of the work we are doing to safeguard and improve our environment, from mowing less to planting trees and encouraging wildflowers.”


Beverley Oxford, Colchester councillor for Highwoods, says the goats’ arrival has come as somewhat of a pleasant surprise.

She said: “We decided on this at the end of last year but, if I am honest, I didn’t know they had been put there yet, so this is quite a new development.

“This was arranged under the previous administration so I was not sure if it would still be going ahead, but I might need to head down there now to take a look.

“Cattle have been at the park before in the summer so it is not like no animals have ever been there, but at the time I did think it was a little bit odd and I was dubious.

“But I understand they are cordoned off and they will not be able to get out of the field they are in – it’s not like they can wander around headbutting whoever they want.”

Visitors to Highwoods Country Park are asked not to approach or feed the goats, and not to walk dogs through the field.