There periods of different stocks of goats in the Valley are:
1897 until early 1960’s
These goats were descended from the stock owned by Sir Thomas and Lady Hewitt of The Hoe. This was a private residence on North Walk and an estate that included part of Hollerday Hill and a part of Rugged Jack. In about 1897 they grew weary of caring for a couple of goats and released them into the valley to care for themselves.
These are depicted in an early Firth postcard which was reproduced in numerous editions of Ward Lock & Co, Guide to Lynton, Lynmouth, Exmoor, Minehead and the Doone Country. Whilst they obviously had a photo of Devil’s Cheesering it appears that the goats have been superimposed on the picture, note the stiff postures!
There are also some early postcards made by the photographer Montague Cooper, two of which are reproduced here.
These are thought to be around 1905 (thanks to Tom Bartlett for this information) and it would seem that they reproduced well. The group thrived and were regularly culled during World War I. After there were at least 20 goats in 1934. As late as 1957 they were reported to be very shy, moving off at the approach of humans along North Walk. This group ceased to exist
Kashmir goats have existed continuously of Great Orme in Wales for a similar period and still thrive which makes the extinction difficult to explain.