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Protecting Ponies at Presthaven Sands

Published: 22/10/2015

Countryside rangers have pulled together with the community to protect ponies at Presthaven Sands from the dangers of ragwort. Rangers from Flintshire County Council and the Bourne Leisure Caravan Park have been working with groups of volunteers to remove the plant from the fields where five Carneddau Welsh mountain ponies are grazing. The horses have been used to graze the site of special scientific interest since 2012 to help benefit the diversity of species in the dunes. Ragwort is a common dune species that can be toxic to horses and although they generally don’t eat it because of its bitter smell, rangers at the site have not been taking any chances. They’ve been working tirelessly with volunteers to pull up the ragwort from the fields to eliminate any risk to the ponies. Thanks go to volunteers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Keep Wales Tidy, North Wales Wildlife Trust and other helpers for their support and hard work during the last few months. Tim Johnson, Flintshire County Council’s ranger for the area, who coordinates work across the dune system, said: “It’s been hard work this season as we had a large number of plants coming through but thanks to the fantastic help from partners, we were able to keep on top of it. “We hope to extend grazing as a management tool to our other sites in the county and ragwort control is a key task in caring for our livestock.” Plans are now already being made for next year’s programme at the site where it’s hoped more community groups and private companies will want to get involved. Cllr Bernie Attridge, Lead Member for the Environment said: “The teams have done a fantastic job at Presthaven Sands this year. Partnerships like this are essential in the current economic climate and I’d like to thank everyone involved. This is a great example of our countryside service working with the community to benefit these important conservation sites for everyone and for Flintshire’s wildlife.” Caption - Flintshire County Council ranger Lawrence Gotts with the volunteers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch


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