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Broads Authority relocates ponies as part of winter grazing programme

PUBLISHED: 14:49 13 November 2017

Wild ponies on the Broads. Picture: Julian Claxton

Wild ponies on the Broads. Picture: Julian Claxton

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The Broads Authority has moved its Welsh ponies as part of its winter grazing programme.

The ponies play a vital role in the conservation management of fen habitat.

Following a summer of grazing marshes at How Hill, Snipe Marsh and Decoy Carr, the ponies have been moved to Sharps Street to ensure they remain healthy over the winter months.

The authority owns 23 ponies made up of a mixture of the Konik pony, a Polish native breed and the Welsh Mountain pony.

Their role is to graze sensitive fenland as they are highly selective with a preference for reed, rush and sedge.

This allows species such as the milk-parsley, on which the iconic swallowtail butterfly is dependant, to thrive.

The BA’s Sue Stephenson said: “The ponies do a wonderful job of managing wetland areas in the Broads.

“The ‘mosaic effect’ created by their grazing patterns does a more natural job of managing these sensitive environments than human intervention ever would, and it’s great to see them living out in the Broads particularly those among the herd who are rescue ponies.”

The ponies will remain in their new grazing for the winter months until they are ready to return to those areas in need of their specialist attention in the spring.

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