Updated: May 15
Conservation grazing has become a vital management tool on many nature reserves. Ponies and cattle graze off rough areas, control the sprouting of tree shoots and paddle the edges of watercourses which has value for insects and aquatic species.
The Exmoor ponies at Knettishall Heath are some of my favourite conservation grazers to visit. They range over a large area of heathland and are a great favourite with visitors. Wild ponies probably grazed this area during the Bronze age, and Exmoors are considered to be the closest living ancestors to those ancient wild ponies.
If you fancy a visit to see these guys for yourself, the reserve is managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and you can get directions and visitor information here. https://www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/knettishallheath
There are several car parks, and ponies can graze on either side of the road and often wander across it, so please take care and drive carefully.