The countryside unfolds in a patchwork of green, dotted with a most unexpected sight: a herd of black alpacas standing out on the green grass. Unlike their native Andean highlands, these gentle creatures graze on rolling hills in West Sussex, their fleeces gleaming in the sun. With their expressive eyes and curious gazes, they stand huddled together, a silent conversation passing between them.
The lead female, a proud huacaya with a dense, fine black fleece, keeps a watchful eye on her cria, a wobbly-legged youngster nuzzling for milk. Nearby, a another mother stretches out beside her cria. The rest of the herd – a mix of mostly blacks with some brown and and even the occasional fawn – follows suit, their soft chomping the only sound breaking the tranquility.

These aren't just any alpacas. Bred for their luxurious fleece, they're part of a growing industry in the UK. But despite their economic purpose, there's a sense of camaraderie amongst them. They nuzzle each other for comfort, and a playful chase might erupt, their long necks outstretched in a mock duel. As the sun dips lower, casting long shadows across the field, the herd gathers again, a silent testament to the unexpected beauty found in the heart of West Sussex.

the quality of a herd shows in it's young