Why volunteers are important

Sheep and ponies graze a number of important conservation and ancient chalk downland areas in the city. We have volunteers, known as lookerers, who help keep an eye on our livestock.

Most of our downland sites are on the edge of the city so we need to make more regular checks. If the grazier had to make all of these checks it would take up a large amount of time. It would make grazing many small sites impractical.

What lookerers do

Lookerers need to be able to:

  • go to a lookering course so you know what to do
  • check the livestock and make a report
  • spare one hour a week while the livestock are on site
  • get around on quite steep uneven slopes, where the livestock graze
  • have a mobile phone, so you can receive any updates on the livestock, text in your report and contact us in case of emergency

Take part in training

We provide volunteers with a free, one day training course held at Stanmer Park. The course covers both theory and practical training.

Theory

You'll learn about:

  • conservation grazing: why we graze
  • the grazing year: what happens when
  • common livestock ailments: what might happen
  • livestock and the law

Practical

You learn how to:

  • handle a sheep, this is useful but not essential to be a lookerer
  • install and maintain electric livestock netting, because part of the daily check is to make sure fencing is secure

Once you're trained as a lookerer, you'll be asked when you're available for when the livestock are on site.

You're then allocated times on a rota when you'll be responsible for checking the site. Each check should take no more than an hour and does not have to be at an exact time, usually morning or afternoon is specified.