Wild Exmoor ponies will be returning to Hastings Country Park this month.
Hastings Borough Council is bringing the new herd of five ponies to the reserve from the Exmoor.
They will replace the herd that left the site last year to go to pastures new. The ponies are part of a mixed grazing system at Hastings Country Park, where together with the belted Galloway cattle they are able to manage the wild hilly landscape of the glens.
The ponies and cattle manage the rare and unique habitats around the Warren Glen areas of the reserve.
The acid grassland and coastal heathland habitats are some of the most threatened habitats in the UK. Restoring these coastal habitats and protecting wildlife is the long term aim of the management of the reserve.
Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, Lead member for Environment and Chair of the Hastings Country Park Management Forum said: “The ponies are much loved and have been missed by walkers and visitors.
“The animals are not only a great attraction but they do a fantastic job of managing the rare habitats and landscape of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve.
“Hastings Borough Council has declared a biodiversity and climate emergency in recognition of the continuing decline to the UK’s species and habitats. Here at Hastings Country Park we are making sure we are restoring habitats, protecting wildlife and reversing the decline in biodiversity.”
The ponies and the belted Galloway cattle will be free roaming around Warren Glen throughout the year. The ponies and the cattle are not farm animals, they are wild. Members of the public are advised to enjoy looking at them but not to try and get too close or feed them.