IN November 2019 a new, six-foot high fence was erected on the East Cliff, to the fury of some residents.

It was revealed the fence was put up to keep goats on the cliff face.

The furry friends would be put on the cliff to graze the invasive vegetation, as they have been at Honeycombe Chine for many years.

At the time, resident Alec Absalom said: “My questions are; did they have planning permission? Did they ask anyone other than goats?”

But what has happened since and how are the goats getting on?


Bournemouth Echo:

The goats arrived in February 2020 as part of the council’s commitment to their climate and ecological emergency.

A resident expressed their concern for the welfare of the goats after consecutive weekends of bad weather.

However, the RSPCA said the location was suitable and had no concerns and a BCP Council spokesperson said: “The welfare of all our grazing animals is of paramount importance to us and they are checked on a daily basis, with any required veterinary care administered as quickly as possible.

“We can reassure local residents that there are no welfare issues resulting from the recent bad weather. The goats are used to living outdoors in all weathers and they have plenty of natural shelter.”


Bournemouth Echo:

In July last year, three new arrivals joined Bournemouth’s new residents.

One of the goats had three kids, Tom, Dick and Harry. It was confirmed that the goats would be moved to the cliff once they became less reliant on the mother.

However, In August 2020, Dick died after suffering an injury to his leg.

A post on the dedicated Facebook page for the East Cliff Goats said: “I'm very sorry to have to tell you all that, despite a very brave fight, Dick had to be put to sleep this morning.

“Sadly it had become apparent that the damage to his back legs was far more complicated than the vet had first hoped.

“He was requiring pain medication every couple of days and although able to move around it was becoming more difficult for him each day.

“This morning he took a turn for the worse and I called the vet immediately.

“Upon examination she felt that it was time to let him go. I am absolutely devastated.”

Bournemouth Echo:


A spokesperson for BCP Council said the scheme was so successful at Honeycombe Chine that nine further compartments were funded by Natural England.

They said the positive outcomes fit in well with the ecological emergency declared.

“We have been grazing Honeycombe Chine for around 10 years with a small herd of nine British Feral goats,” they said.

“They did such a good job at managing the vegetation to maintain the desired habitat that we have recently extended the project to a further nine compartments along the cliffs. 

“These new grazing areas were funded by Natural England through a higher level stewardship agreement. 

“We also now work with a grazier who has 25 Boer goats to manage these new areas and we are very happy with the initial reduction in gorse and holm oak. 

“This is a great habitat management project and the positive outcomes for this special habitat fit in well with the ecological emergency declared by BCP Council in 2019.”


Bournemouth Echo:

Owner Mark said: “I had seven or eight goats to start with but I bought a few more and I bred a few, had a few babies which were due down on to the cliff but we’re trying to move the Billy from the girls and he doesn’t want to move.

“Some of the goats have more character than others.

“I can’t say I have got a favourite, I am fond of most of them, not unfond of any of them.

“Some can be a bit more affectionate, some run away, you get one or two who are in charge, there is no aggression, they might have a little playfight.

“There are four pregnant goats at the moment, hence having the move the Billy off them.

“He is not wanting to leave and is being very stubborn at the moment. Every time I go in, he sits down and says, ‘I am not leaving’.

“I am doing a breeding project and I know it is going to be a bit of a tourist attraction.

“Everybody that I speak to is very positive about it, they know the goats are there to graze back to allow the native species to make the cliff stronger.

“I go to the goats every day either before or after work and attend and see the goats.

“They are doing a fantastic job, the people I deal with at the council seem to be very happy with it.

“I am there to help them and I am there to assist them.”

So, we could see more goats join the herd on the cliff in the future. Do you think the scheme has been a success? Or is the fence, ow just four-feet high, an eyesore?