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Eco-pasture: an ecological management system for the park

Every year, from April to October, you can cross path with sheep, cows, goats or donkeys during your visit in the park. They are working hard on the maintenance of the green spaces in the city, including in the Citadel park

Why choose an eco-pasture method?

Eco-pasture is a virtuous management choice to ensure the maintenance of green spaces. The first trials of this method in Lille date back to 2007. Eco-pasture ensures a more natural maintenance of the green spaces: the animals feed off of the grass without the need for mechanical intervention, which in turn contributes to the protection of some invertebrate species such as grasshoppers, caterpillars or spiders that would otherwise be harmed by mowers.

Eco-pasture also facilitates the maintenance of some areas that are harder to reach for gardeners: the top of the fortification walls in particular are maintained by goats that are used to roaming mountains!

Finally, eco-pasture also contributes to the global ecosystem of the park. Do you know what a coprophagic species is? This name groups species (most of which are insects) that feed off of other animals’ droppings. In the park, there are for instance several species of beetles (most commonly called dung beetles) that consume droppings and in turn feed birds such as the Eurasian hoopoe.

What animals does the herd consist of?

The make-up of the herd is determined every year on the basis of the maintenance needs in the park. For example, in 2022, 180 sheep, 12 goats, 1 horse, 6 donkeys and poneys and 2 cows formed the herd and were allocated to different areas in several parks within the city. The locations of the animals change often based on the available food supply for the herd.

The main herd is divided in two with some of it pasturing exclusively within the Citade park and another in remote locations.

Where can I see the animals in the park?

The herd moves almost daily in the park depending on the maintenance needs in each area of the park and the available food for the animals. Every night, it is gathered in a secure location before going back to the maintenance sites in the morning.

Do you wish to see the animals during your walk in the park? Keep an eye open around the Voie des Combattants (the main road around the exterior of the Citade) or around the plains on the West side of the park (facing Lambersart). You will have a good likelihood of crossing their path!

What are the other locations with eco-pasture?

The herd is spread across several locations in the city:

  • The Citade park,
  • The pyramids,
  • The Poterne plain,
  • The Winston Churchill plain,
  • The Porte de Gand garden,
  • The Buissonnets park

What are the safety and security rules around the herd?

In order to avoid any security issues and to protect the animals, please keep in mind the following rules :

  • It is forbidden to enter into the enclosures,
  • Dogs must be kept on leash and should not approach the animals,
  • Feeding the animals is forbidden,
  • Running close to the enclosure is not recommended in order to avoid scaring the sheepdogs.

The team

Eco-pasture systems require a solid organisation which would not be possible if not for the shepherds and the whole chain of people involved in making the project happen.

Florine - The head shepherd

Florine is the head shepherd and moves around the remote sites in the city, outside the Citadel park.

Radu et Délia - The Citadel's shepherds

The shepherds inside the Citadel are Radu and Délia. You can meet them around the park, they are responsible for moving the herd and watching over it.

Stéphanie - The manager

Stéphanie is responsible for the eco-pasture project and can answer all your questions about it!

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