This is Bronwen, a Welsh Pony who grazes the coastal meadows at Cwm Colhuw in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Cwm Colhuw is managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. A postcard of the Colhuw valley taken in the 1930s shows the reserve was open grazed pasture with small patches of scrub. Grazing stopped during the Second World War, when the site was used for allotments in the “Dig for Victory” campaign. At the end of the war, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Gorse and Bramble colonised the majority of the slope.
There are two calcareous grassland fields, which the ponies, along with volunteers from the Wildlife Trust, are working hard to manage. In the summer, the fields are a sea of Yorkshire fog, bird’s-foot trefoil and cocksfoot. Rabbits graze alongside the horses on ant hills and create habitat for wild thyme. Butterflies such as common blue, small heath and ringlet can be found here.
The ponies assist in preventing the scrub over taking the meadows and are favourites with the locals who walk along the coast path, which passes along the edge of one of the fields. The short turf created by the ponies in one of the fields creates the perfect habitat for over ten species of waxcap fungi.
Would you like to show off your grazing animals? You can enter your animals for the chance to feature as ‘Grazer of the Week’ by using #grazeroftheweek and tagging @pontcymru on Instagram and Facebook. Tell us a bit about you and your animals, we love to hear your stories.
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Contact us if you have a site that needs conservation grazing.