"We included this rolling grass roof feature in the original build so that the complex would be in keeping with the local countryside surroundings and this wouldnt be complete without sheep! "
A flock of sheep are making themselves at home in the Lancashire skyline.
The roof of The Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre, near Garstang, now houses six new arrivals that have been introduced to the specially-created grass roof.
The quirky feature of the 4,200m2 building was a key vision of owners, The Barton Grange Group.
The group, which has been owned and run by the Topping family since 1950, includes the Barton Grange Hotel and the Barton Grange Garden Centre.
A grass roof has been created with 700 tonnes of top soil and grass, the sheep even had their very own staircase to ascend.
Managing director of the Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre and The Barton Grange Group, Guy Topping, said: “We included this rolling grass roof feature in the original build so that the complex would be in keeping with the local countryside surroundings – and this wouldn’t be complete without sheep!
“This has been part of our plan right from the start, so the roof itself is fully secure. However, the logistics of making the roof ‘sheep-safe’ was a very complex engineering task, and in the end, very expensive.
“Putting a five-foot high fence around the perimeter of a roof sounds quite simple. But of course you can’t just bang some fence posts into the soil. The steel posts had to be attached to the main structural steel and this had to be brought through the entire roof build-up. This coupled with the undulations on our roof made for quite an operation.”
He added: “We’ve fitted fire escape-style stairs for the sheep. Of course, they’re used to roaming along cliff-tops and up steep mountains, so this was not a challenge for them.”
The Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre has also teamed up with nearby Myerscough College this summer, as the college is hosting the English National Sheepdog Trails from 8th to 11th August.
Guy said: “We’ve been waiting for the grass to mature before setting the sheep to graze, so it seemed fitting to collaborate with Myerscough College by placing the sheep on the roof now, and helping them to advertise the trials in the run up to this event.”
He added: “As a family-run business, it is essential to us that we support other local businesses and education. This is one close to our hearts, as quite a few of our garden centre staff members have studied horticulture at Myerscough college.”