Scheme launched to support ‘pony workforce’ that maintains Broads fenland
- Credit: Archant
A new scheme hopes to preserve Broads fenland and the 'pony workforce' that maintains it.
Pony Power will be launched by the Broads Authority tomorrow and will encourage people to chip in to the care of the ponies, which, with their specific grazing patterns, maintain fenland sites around the Broads.
The initiative will mark 20 years of conservation management using the animals, which feed on coarse grass, rushes and vegetation, leaving wildlife friendly plants and flowers.
Currently, there 25 ponies - made up of Konik and Welsh Mountain breeds - based in six fenland sites.
Sue Stephenson, environment officer for the authority, said: 'The ponies do an amazing job, munching on vegetation and in return managing our beautiful Broads habitat. There are some interesting characters and watching them interact is often entertaining.
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'As many of our sites are tucked away and off the beaten track, people may not be aware that the ponies are part of our workforce.'
She said while the ponies perform an 'important function', it is their individual characters that make them a pleasure to work with.
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'We have the greedy pony that is easy to move because he is always after the next blade of grass, the savvy one who always knows where to run to avoid being rounded up and the playful one who often kicks her heels up for no apparent reason,' she said.
In return for a £20 donation, members of the public signing up to the scheme will receive gifts and news and information about the ponies.
Mrs Stephenson said: 'Pony Power provides us with an opportunity to raise awareness about this element of our conservation work and with this year marking 20 years of pony ownership for us, it is an ideal time to celebrate and promote conservation grazing.'
The scheme will be launched at the Broads Authority's open morning tomorrow at Whitlingham Country Park, part of the 16-day Broads Outdoors Festival.
The event will run from 10am to 1.30pm, with activities lined up outside and stands and a chance to meet authority officers inside.
For more information visit www.broads-authority.gov.uk/looking-after/managing-land-and-water/pony-power Do you have a Broads story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org