This September, The Lost Gardens of Heligan will welcome some very cute and rare guests to the Estate, continuing with its ethos of preserving rare breed farm animals.

The Lost Gardens are hoping the new addition of the Valais Blacknose sheep will not only delight visitors, but also assist the owners with their grazing problem brought on by their growing flock. This will make Heligan the only attraction in the South West to showcase the breed.

Stuart Billinghurst and Emma Collison from the Valais Blacknose sheep UK were the first people to import these charming sheep to the UK, in 2014. This unique and increasingly rare breed has taken the world by storm and are considered the ‘world’s cutest sheep’ and a must see at Heligan this autumn.

“I am so grateful to The Lost Gardens of Heligan after hearing our plight about our loss of grazing and having to sell a lot of our sheep off, they have come to the rescue and are helping us keep some of our beloved sheep. We hope that all of the visitors of the Gardens enjoy seeing our beautiful sheep; watch out for lambs in the coming months,” said Emma Collison.

The Valais Blacknose Sheep originate from the Valais Canton in Switzerland. This region in the central Rhone Valley is simultaneously one of the driest regions of Switzerland and amongst the wettest, having large amounts of snow nearly all year round up on the highest peaks of Switzerland.

Although the earliest mention of these sheep dates back to the 1400s, these docile mountain sheep were first recognised as a separate breed in 1962. The black patches on their nose, eyes, ears, knees, hocks and feet and otherwise light woolly coats make it quite unmistakeable.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming the new additions to the Heligan family and think they will fit in perfectly alongside our rare breed farm animals, here on the Estate,” said Iain Davies, Head of Gardens and Estate at The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Valais Sheep are known to be good for their meat as well as their wool, which is best used for felting and carpets. They are very rare and their existence is currently threatened by the recent return of the Wolf to Switzerland. The work of the Valais Blacknose Breed Society and partnerships with organisations such as The Lost Gardens of Heligan is vital for the survival of this endearing breed.

The new resident ewes are due to lamb during the autumn.