The Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport has moved a herd of ravenous livestock onto the 18th century site in a bid to save the scheduled ancient monument from an “ever-encroaching tide” of bushes and weeds.
© Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
Twenty-five goats, supplied by Longdown Activity Farm in the New Forest, will munch their way through the undergrowth to reveal the ramparts of the former gunpowder stores in an environmentally friendly alternative to using heavy machinery.
“They seem very at home in the ramparts, where they have a huge choice of foodstuffs and are already tucking into brambles and ivy,” says Marc Farrance, the Visitor Services Officer at Explosion who has been forced to moonlight as a makeshift goatherder.
“I have managed to leave the goats without them following me for the time being. At this rate they’ll double in size in no time.”
The solution is a surprisingly simple one for a site synonymous with technological innovation. Priddy’s Hard transported ammunition to the Trafalgar fleet at the start of the 19th century, supplying a fleet of powerful ships including Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory, and served as the headquarters for pioneering Naval ordnance efforts prior to World War Two.
The Explosion Museum opens at weekends, telling the story of naval warfare across the centuries.