Tyne & Wear

Cleadon Hills Exmoor ponies grazing trial planned

Exmoor ponies Image copyright Somerset County Council
Image caption Exmoor ponies are very hardy and can eat a varied diet including sweet, young grass, gorse and thistles

A conservation grazing trial using Exmoor ponies is being considered on South Tyneside.

They would be more effective than cutting grass and better for plants and wildlife on Cleadon Hills local nature reserve, South Tyneside Council said.

Exmoor ponies have been chosen because they are hardy, can thrive on difficult terrain and can eat varied plant life.

As a threatened rare breed they are also sustained by conservation grazing projects, the council said.

Similar schemes in Hetton Bogs, Sunderland and Lamesley Pastures, Gateshead have proved "beneficial to wildlife and popular with the public", it said.

If approved, the trial would run for two years and the welfare of the horses, dog walkers and other users of Cleadon Hills would be monitored, along with the programme's effectiveness.

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