The Dartmoor Ponies are back!

CDE_Dartmoor_Ponies_In the next few days Dartmoor ponies will be back on site, followed by rare breed cattle including Ruby Red cattle later in the month. This is the second year that conservation grazing has taken place on Bicton Common and is the result of a project initiated in 2009 to re-establish conservation grazing at this site. Conservation grazing has taken place on other sites on the Pebblebed heaths for decades, including on Hawkerland and  Colaton Raleigh Common. Their grazing and trampling behaviour at the latter site has been important for keeping the habitat of the rare Souther damselfly in the best possible condition.

Although initially met with scepticism by some, the public have generally welcomed these grazers onto the site and appreciate the value they bring. Their presence helps to create a diversity of vegetation structure through their browsing and trampling activity, and helps to control scrub and purple moor grass. They also help us to keep the firebreaks short reducing our need to consume fossil fuels.

The Conservation Trust is keen practice evidence-based conservation, and as such has partnered with Plymouth University to record the impacts of grazing on the habitats and wildlife. 

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