Conservation Grazing in West Cornwall
If you’re out walking the coast in West Cornwall you may come across some hairy conservation grazers in the form of ponies.
We are working in partnership with Shires Holt Horse Sanctuary who are supplying ponies for grazing to help with our habitat management plans. The ponies have been rescued often from malnutrition and neglect or are unwanted, so it is great to see them having a new lease of life on the cliffs.
Grazing is often the most effective and natural way to maintain certain habitats such as grassland and heathland. The ponies do a fantastic job of trampling bracken and coarse grasses as well as nibbling away at encroaching gorse and large tussocks of grass. The work done by the ponies means these more aggressive species don’t dominant the landscape and opens up areas for wildflowers to thrive, supporting a more diverse habitat. We will be closely monitoring the sites to ensure good progress is being made and there aren’t any major negative impacts. The ponies will come off at the end of February, so the wildflowers aren’t affected in the spring.
We’ve already seen the benefits of grazing in this way at sites where this has been in place for several years and hope to see more areas becoming a buzz of activity enjoyed by many. If you have any questions or concerns about the grazing schemes please contact us by email, Ash.Pearson@nationaltrust.org.uk
Over winter you may find the ponies grazing at Cudden point, Rinsey, Tregiffian, Porthcurno, Rospletha, Mayon, Escalls, Cape Cornwall, Kendijack valley, Levant, Boswednack cliff, Gurnards head and Boswednack mire. Enjoy watching the ponies with the stunning Cornish coast as a backdrop, but please do not approach or feed the ponies and keep dogs under control. They are wild animals and we’d like to keep it that way. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the ponies, please contact Shires Holt Horse Sanctuary on 07376 399766.
If you’d like to help with this conservation grazing work you can volunteer with the Shires Holt Horse Sanctuary to check the ponies on a regular basis. Please call Pip Lovelock of Shires Holt Horse Sanctuary on 07376399766 for more details.