Oxenholme ponies join battle to aid wild flowers

Native fell ponies grazing at The Helm

Native fell ponies grazing at The Helm

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant editor

A HERD of native fell ponies are carrying out vital conservation work on a prominent hillside overlooking Oxenholme.

Visitors to the Helm may have seen the group of regular grazers living there – and there is now an opportunity to learn about the good work they are doing on the hill.

The landscape conservation charity Friends of the Lake District is inviting people to a free event this month to get up close and learn about the herd of native fell ponies.

They are grazing on the Helm to help with conservation and encourage more wild flowers.

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They remove the grass growth, helping keep an open sward for wild flowers to flourish, and their large hooves also help break up the ground so that seeds have bare ground to germinate in.

One of Britain’s hardiest pony breeds, fell ponies are native to the north of England and are mostly found in Cumbria, where they have roamed from pre-historic times.

They graze all year round but are considered to be ‘at risk’.

The ponies on the Helm are owned by Nicola Evans, who lives locally, and the chance to meet them will be at the Helm on Saturday, August 16, between 2pm and 4pm. Tea and cake will be served, and there will also be children’s activities and games.

Nicola and a representative from The Fell Pony Society will talk about the ponies as a breed and about the individual ponies present.

“They all have very individual characters and great personalities, so do come and meet them. It will be a fun event,” said Ms Evans.

The event is part of the Friends’ 80th anniversary celebrations this summer.

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