Animals Video

By Helen Parkinson and Alex Matthews

A gang of hairy residents is causing chaos in a quiet Victorian holiday resort.

The seaside town of Llandudno in North Wales has been home to a herd of long-haired Kashmir goats since the 19th century.

They usually keep to the Great Orme, the limestone headland at the end of the promenade, but now the audacious animals have got a taste for adventure and stray into the town itself.

They have been spotted snacking in gardens as well as loitering outside a local primary school and a fish and chip shop.

The wind direction, rivals on the hill and recent poor weather has driven them into the town in search of food and shelter.

Most of the townspeople seem to love their unique, albeit smelly, neighbours and are proud of their long connection to Llandudno.

But they have caused issues for local schools, chomping their way through vegetation and appearing to bring ticks into the playground.

Ian Jones, Headteacher of Ysgol San Sior, said: “They’re charming to see but they eat everything.

“They’ve destroyed so many of the trees in our orchard. We use the apples to make the school chutney we sell.

“We won Wales in Bloom last year, but I don’t think we’ll be winning it again this year.”

“Most mornings we’ve been having to chase them off the school fields before the school day begins, so that involves the children from the Breakfast Club giving me a hand.”

“Last year we had twenty instances of children with ticks, and I think this summer we’re going to have many more because they’ve been on the school field sunbathing and lounging among the plants.

“If they haven’t deposited ticks, I’ve no idea what they’ve done.”

The goats are as much of a tourist attraction for visitors as the tramway, cable car and 700m long pier – the longest in Wales.

Helen Maydew, a 28-year-old shepherdess, said: “I think they’re a wonderful part of Llandudno’s history.

“It’s a shame that it’s been so cold and the grass hasn’t started to grow which is why they are invading the town this year.”

Usually the goats manage to keep out of trouble, but occasionally they incur the wrath of gardeners when their hunger leads them to devour tasty looking flowerbeds or hedges.

Carer Claire Gough, 53, often finds the goats grazing on her lawn at this time of year and watches their antics from her window.

Claire said: “I don’t mind, but the neighbour wasn’t happy as they ate all the flowers in his garden.

“Even growing up, I’d wake up to find the goats munching on my parents’ garden.

“My dog sees them regularly up the Orme on his walks and goes up quite close for a sniff.”

Leanne Roddick Smith, 23, who works at a hotel in the honeypot town, often sees the goats on her journey home from work, and has sometimes had to try and shepherd the goats away from the town centre and back to the fields.

Leanne said: “Once I was cycling home at 4am after a 12-hour shift and going through the town there were two herds of goats – about 12 in total.

“I saw they were quite away from the Great Orme, so my boyfriend and I tried to get them through town and back.

“We cycled around town after them for about 40 minutes, and they were running into cars, gardens and walls.

“It was crazy – I’ve never laughed so much in my life.”

The goats were a gift from Queen Victoria’s royal herd to local landowner Lord Mostyn.

According to a recent count there are around 110 of them in Llandudno, this includes 64 nannies, 25 billies and 21 kids.

The animals are no strangers to the limelight. In February this year, one goat was due to be caught to become the Royal Welsh’s newest mascot, but evaded capture for several weeks.

The kid, dubbed Fusilier Shenkin IV, was eventually captured one month later and is undergoing six months of training at Maindy Barracks in Cardiff.