Island Roads volunteers join Ventnor herding event

A team of ten volunteers from Island Roads were among 80 hardy souls who took part in an annual wildlife management project run by the National Trust.

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

The herding process involves creating a human chain to patrol some rugged terrain and dense undergrowth and ensure no resident goats are missed – and that requires many willing hands.

Island Roads team has been involved in the herding since 2013 and this year provided the largest single group. Other companies involved included the Island’s AONB project and the Environment Agency.

One of the goats

Scott King, National Trust visitor experience and volunteering manager, 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 herding team

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.

Scott added: The Isle of Wight National Trust have been supported by Island Roads volunteers for a number of years now and in addition to being incredibly helpful in contributing towards our conservation work, we have always had a great deal of fun and established a great relationship.

Next years herding even takes place on October 17, 2019.