Tomorrow (Wednesday the 10th of January) four ponies will be arriving at Fingle for their annual winter holiday. These Dartmoor ponies are from a small herd of fourteen which are normally residents of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve in the Bovey Valley. In previous years they have spent their winter at Dawlish Warren helping Devon Wildlife Trust and Teignbridge District Council with scrub clearance so we hope they enjoy the moor as much as the sea!
They won’t just be resting and relaxing however, but undertaking important conservation grazing. By munching away on scrub such as brambles, bracken and saplings they will be helping maintain open habitats, in turn increasing species diversity. At first the ponies will be located in Ross Meadow at the far end of Cod Wood to help control regenerating scrub in the newly created meadow. They will then move to the top end of the Scheduled Ancient Monument (compartment g4 on the map below), part of Wooston Hillfort that was cleared of trees (mainly non-native conifers) last year due to the damage their roots were causing to the archaeological remains. Look out for more blog articles to learn more about these ponies and the benefits of conservation grazing at Fingle.
If you do happen upon any of our four-legged visitors whilst walking in the woods please remember that they are semi-wild. Although some of the ponies may appear friendly initially, when frightened they can quickly become nervous and flighty so please enjoy them from afar whilst allowing them to fulfil their important conservation role.