Pedigree British Saddlebacks are to be used as part of a woodland restoration project at Haigh Hall Country Park, Wigan, in a research-based development run by Conservation Pigs and Edge Hill University.
Up to 20 pigs will be used to clear brambles, nettles and rhododendron from the area, with the British Saddleback being specially selected to help “protect and promote the breed”.
“Management of sites such as Haigh requires the use of sustainable techniques to create and promote natural regeneration,” said project leader, Graham Workman, biodiversity manager for Wigan Leisure Culture Trust, adding that 20,000 years ago pigs would be roaming the woodlands as a natural way of maintaining the area.
“Saddlebacks are excellent for this type of work as they love being outside all year round,” said Conservation Pigs’ manager, Jack Flusk. “Our pedigree herd will work extremely hard in restoring the woodlands.”
The project will include a strong research element according to Conservation Pigs’ ecologist. Katie Swift, who added: “We aim to record, analyse and publish data to show other organisations the benefit rare breed pigs provide to habitat diversity and woodland restoration. The use of pigs in managing and restoring woodlands is an under-studied area and greater knowledge is needed to further improve the services they can provide.”