Graze expectations on the Downs – now bring on Shaun

Published on: 01 Jul 2015

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SHAUN the Sheep sculptures will be popping up all over Bristol during July as part of this summer’s charity Shaun in the City trail – but some of his woolly counterparts got there first.

When Bristol's Downs became a public open space in 1861, property owners nearby were given “commoners' rights” to graze livestock on Durdham Down.

Commoners have to graze sheep on the land every five or ten years to protect their rights and to ensure the Downs remain free for public leisure use.

Among those 19 commoners is Badminton School, some of whose junior school pupils turned out dressed as Little Bo Peeps to see this right being exercised.

Helen Read, from the school, said: “The last time sheep were grazed on Durdham Down was in 2010. Our girls are interested to learn more about the historic traditions of the area. We are all also delighted and very proud to be involved in a modern Bristol phenomenon by sponsoring our own Shaun the Sheep, which will be sited right next to the school on Westbury Road.

The artist and design of the Downs statue, one of 70 in the Shaun in the City trail to raise funds for Bristol Children's Hospital, remains under wraps.

Headmistress Rebecca Tear said: “We would love to share the design but we can't just yet. We're not being sheepish or woolly – it's just that this information is still under em-baa-go. We'll let you know Baa dminton's exclusive design as soon as possible; we know you will want to flock to see it!”

The Shaun in the City Bristol trail will run from July 6 until August 31. Maps will be available to help Shaun-spotters find all 70 sculptures on the trail, and further details can be found on the Shaun in the City website, www.shauninthecity.org.uk.

The Bristol Shauns, as well as 50 more that were on show in London from March until May, will go on show in 'The Great Sheep Round Up’ in Bristol from September 12 to 20 and in Covent Garden from September 24-27. All sculptures will then go to auction on October 8.

Proceeds from the London sculptures will benefit Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity, which supports children’s hospitals and hospices throughout the UK. All proceeds from the Bristol sculptures will benefit The Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal for the Children's Hospital.

Year 1 pupils from Badminton Junior School, dressed as Little Bo Peep, helped to ensure that commoners can continue to graze livestock on the Downs, and that the area remains free for public leisure use.

As a member of the Downs Committee, Henleaze Councillor Glenise Morgan had a special interest in watching the sheep grazing.

Photo: Year 1 pupils from Badminton Junior School, dressed as Little Bo Peep, helped to ensure that commoners can continue to graze livestock on the Downs, and that the area remains free for public leisure use.

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