PLANS to use Exmoor ponies to help manage a nature reserve in South Tyneside are back on the agenda.
The ponies could be used to help maintain the Cleadon Hills Local Nature Reserve as they can thrive in various habitats and have an appetite for grass, gorse, soft rush brambles and thistles, plus they would be more cost-effective.
The plan, already abandoned once, will be discussed at South Tyneside Council’s Place Committee on Tuesday.
The council has a duty to manage the site and increase its floral diversity but surveys have revealed species are being lost on the site as a result of current conservation management methods, and ponies are being considered as an alternative.
Councillors will discuss trialling the scheme.
Committee chairwoman, Coun Nancy Maxwell, said: “Historically animals have grazed on the land and this has been proven to be an effective way of helping flora to flourish.
“Exmoor ponies are a threatened, rare breed. By using them in conservation grazing schemes we would be helping to conserve, not only this unusual and attractive animal, but also this popular local nature reserve.”