LAMBING Live returned to the region this Easter, with special new arrivals expected at a nature reserve and family-run farm.

At RSPB Saltholme, the new arrivals are expected to be born to Moo the sheep – a firm favourite with the reserve’s visitors. Moo was born shortly after the spate of dog attacks at the nature reserve in 2015/16 which led to the death of 50 sheep.

Her mum was injured but survived and went on to give birth to Moo – aptly named after her cow-like markings.

Moo is expected to give birth to her first lamb (or lambs) during this year’s Lambing Live event.

Aimee Lee, visitor experience manager at RSPB Saltholme, said: “Lambing Live has traditionally always been one of our biggest crowd draws but we have even more reason to celebrate this year, thanks to the fantastic news about Moo. All of the lambs delivered at Saltholme are special, but I think there will be a few tears as we welcome her new arrivals.”

The wider nature reserve will also be open as usual to the public during Lambing Live, so visitors can access the stunning habitats and wetlands.

Lambing Live at the RSPB reserve runs from today until April 15 and as well as visiting the newborns in the lambing shed, visitors can hold baby chicks – a first for the reserve – create finger puppet arts and crafts and take part in a special quest across the nature reserve to win a certificate.

Games and activities including giant jenga, hoops and bowling are available throughout the Lambing Live event, and the site is running Gator rides over the Easter weekend.

At Hall Hill Farm, near Lanchester, the opening day of the Live Lambing event was a busy one, with hundreds of visitors flocking to the family-run farm.

Ann Darlington, farm manager, said: “We’ve had a very good day and we had many, many visitors in the first few hours.

"There were some twins and triplets born in the morning, and our pig Tilly had piglets.

“We’ve been hosting visitors at the farm since 1981 and are always thrilled by their reaction to the live lambing event. We’ve had lots of smiling visitors today and we are delighted that everyone has had a great day for our Live Lambing.”

With a flock of 250 sheep, Hall Hill Farm is expecting up to 500 lambs to be born this spring.

The lambs started appearing about three weeks ago, but more are expected.

About 16 million lambs are born in the UK every year, which makes lambing the biggest and busiest event in the farming calendar.