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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 March, 2005, 19:59 GMT
Ponies graze the turf by the surf
Picture of Shetland pony courtesy of FreeFoto.com
The ponies are expected to stay for about six weeks
Four Shetland ponies have been moved on to a group of Cornish sand dunes to help control the spread of vegetation.

The four are on loan from English Nature and are said to already be making an impact on the Penhale sand dunes by grazing.

The ponies, which are on loan from English Nature, are expected to stay on the dunes for around six weeks.

The move is part of a stewardship agreement between the landowner, Bourne Leisure, and Defra.

Rare species

The aim is that they will help control the re-growth and spread of scrub and taller grasses, which have started to dominate the dunes in places.

Grazing will also help to maintain a short turf so that many of the rarer species of dune plants and wildlife can thrive.

Community Liaison Officer Sarah Taylor said; " This has been a very successful initiative and the ponies.... will hopefully return in the future to this and other fenced compartments of the dunes if the trial is successful."

The ponies will be carefully monitored and their condition and welfare checked regularly.

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