rare breed sheep drown at yalding after most powerful storm to hit britain in recent years
Roundoak looses sheep on the Yalding fens after one of the most powerful storms to hit Britain in recent year’s batters part of the UK.
The Christmas and New Year period was probably the most challenging since the farm began some 8 years ago.
As most of our followers know we specialise in the breeding and sale of Hebridean sheep and Highland cows in central Kent and parts of Sussex and also have one of the largest flocks in this part of the country. The farm boasts some 70 Highland cows. Both the Hebrideans and Highlands are well noted for their hardiness and renowned for their conservation grazing. Many conservation organisations such as Medway Valley conservation trust, Kent wildlife Trust ,The loose valley amenities trust KCC country parks to name but a few, choose our stock to graze their land, because of the benefits the ground gets from these specialist animals.
The main areas that were affected by the storm were those around the river Medway. At Yalding the farm lost about 20 sheep in the flooding, which was far less than we had thought. The flock at Yalding was over 70 strong. Most of the sheep must have got away from a water surge when the River Medway burst its banks on the Yalding fens.
The farm tried effortlessly to round the flock up just before Christmas Eve when warnings were given, but without success. The rest is history, the farm tried to get to the site in the early hours of light on Christmas day and the same Boxing Day but most of Yalding was seriously under water and access was impossible from any direction. The sheep were on ground situated near the Anchor Pub.
We finally got to the site on the 27th December, it was a distressing sight, the Animals that died about 20 in number, must have been caught in a surge or torrent of water, the others fortunately managed to get away to a little bit of higher ground and survived. The surviving flock were rounded and taken back to the farm at Sutton valence.
The other problem was at Teston Country Park where a small herd of Highland cows had been grazing for the last few months. The Country Park was almost totally under water, with the exception of a small wooded area that was on high ground where the cows found sanctuary. The farm could not get to them as they were surrounded to three sides with flood water and the other side the railway line. At one point in the early hours of Christmas day the visitors centre and toilet block at the country park was almost submerged under the flood water. Fortunately the floodwater receded at Teston as quickly as it came and the cows were collected and brought back to the farm.
The other problems all farms have had to face, not just Roundoak, has been the state of the ground, it is totally waterlogged, this puts pressure on most livestock farms requiring most of the animals having to be brought inside. Although our stock are hardy and can stand most weather conditions the damage that can be done to the ground at this time can be immeasurable and affect grass production which is so vital for next years fodder stock.
So it can be said Christmas and New year at Roundoak was not the best, but when we look at some of the pictures of other affected areas, we were very lucky and our thought go out to those who were much worst affected than us.