Hastings Borough Council has announced the arrival of four equine additions to Hastings Country Park.
Four Exmoor ponies have arrived at Warren Glen to carry out important conservation grazing on the nature reserve.
Supplied by the Sussex Pony Grazing and Conservation Trust, who offer specialised grazing services to land owners, the ponies thrive on low quality chalk grassland and heathland, helping to tackle invasive coarse grasses that threaten biodiversity.
Councillor Dawn Poole, the council’s lead member for leisure and amenities, said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to provide grazing land for the ponies and as a result they will help to maintain the natural habitat at Warren Glen.
“We will continue to work with The Sussex Pony Grazing and Conservation Trust and hope to home a few more ponies during the summer months.”
“The Sussex Pony Grazing and Conservation Trust need local volunteers to help keep an eye on the ponies and ensure their continued welfare, so, if you would like to be involved please contact them for more information.
Anna Bogg, The Sussex Pony Grazing and Conservation Trust said: “We are delighted they are at Hastings Country Park, helping to sustainably manage the rare and important wildlife habitats that occur there.
“Exmoor ponies are a very hardy, native breed, ideally suited to the rugged terrain and relatively rough forage.
“They will help improve the biodiversity of the site by hampering the growth of the more dominant species, allowing some of the rarer species a chance to thrive, accessing areas where machines would not be able to go.”
The oldest native breed in Britain, Exmoors are believed to be the closest descendant to the ponies which inhabited the country long before the arrival of man, some 100,000 years ago.
Exmoor ponies are naturally adapted to surviving hostile weather, and able to live on poor forage, they are perfect for conservation grazing. Intelligent and inquisitive creatures, Exmoor ponies are popular with site visitors and conservation managers alike.
For more information about the trust visit www.sussexponygrazing.co.uk.