They’re white. They’re fluffy. They now call The Flower Bowl their home. Our new guests have four legs, love to graze on grass and fit perfectly into The Baa-rton Grange team. That’s right – we’ve introduced a flock of sheep to the Lancashire skyline!
On Tuesday 25th June, three Dutch Spotted ewes along with their three lambs moved into the penthouse field on the roof of The Flower Bowl. This quirky idea has been the Topping family’s vision from the start.
Managing director of The Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre and The Barton Grange Group, Guy Topping, said:
“We included the rolling grass roof in the original build so that the complex would be in keeping with the local countryside – this wouldn’t be complete without sheep!”
Guy went on to say:
“We’ve based this whole concept around the sheep. They are fully secured by a five foot fence, and the mound in the middle of the grass roof creates shelter for the sheep, depending on which side they are on. There’s a staircase at the back of the building which is how we got the sheep on the roof in the first place, and they can access this freely to return to their pen whenever they want.”
This unusual rooftop feature has been part of The Flower Bowl plan right from the start, therefore, the roof has been designed with the sheep in mind. However, the logistics of making a roof ‘sheep-safe’ are extremely complex.
“Putting a five-foot high fence around the perimeter of a roof sounds quite simple. But of course you can’t just bang some fence posts into the soil. The steel posts had to be attached to the main structural steel and this had to be brought through the entire roof build. This coupled with the undulations of The Flower Bowl roof made for quite an operation,” Guy explained.
The 4,200m2 specialist roof is one of a kind and was created with 700 tonnes of top soil and grass.
The sheep have come from Myerscough College, and with the English National Sheepdog Trials taking place at the College in August, this seemed the perfect time to collaborate.
Guy explained that “we’ve been waiting for the grass to mature before setting the sheep to graze, so it seemed fitting to work with Myerscough College by placing the sheep on the roof at this time.”
“As a family-run business, it is essential to us that we support other local businesses and education. This is one close to our hearts, as quite a few of our garden centre staff members have studied horticulture at Myerscough college.”
Don’t be sheepish, come and have a look!
Did you know? 10 Baa-rilliant facts about sheep!
1. There are over 1 billion sheep in the world!
2. Adult female sheep are called ewes, male sheep are called rams and young sheep are called lambs.
3. A group of sheep is known as a herd, flock or mob.
4. Sheep have a field of vision of around 300 degrees – so they can actually see behind themselves without having to turn their head.
5. They are herbivores, which means their diet typically includes vegetation such as grass – this is why you’ll often see them happily grazing away.
6. One pound of wool can make up to 10 miles of yarn. Depending on the breed, a sheep can typically produce between two and 30 pounds of wool each year.
7. Sheep really struggle to get back up if they’ve fallen onto their backs – this is called ‘cast sheep’. So if you ever see one, be sure to try and find a farmer who will help them roll over again, as they might be distressed.
8. Sheep are known to self-medicate when they’re unwell, they will eat specific plants to cure themselves.
9. They have best friends, they form close bonds with other sheep. They are also very friendly and wag their tails like dogs.
10. Sheep are extremely intelligent animals and are considered to have a similar IQ level to cattle. They have a fantastic memory and can remember individual sheep and humans for years.