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E p i c e n t r e
Issue 3

Exmoor Ponies At Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest is a large expanse of lowland heath in south-east England. Approximately 97 hectares. (240acres), a nature reserve managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust and owned privately. It has long been the Trust's aim to graze the heathland in order to control scrub and bracken using, as far as possible, hardy breeds of animal. For several years sheep were used and in recent years eight Dexter steers joined them.

Ashdown Forest

Old Lodge
Ashdown Forest

Ellie at Old Lodge

Ashdown Forest
On July 1st 1999 the cattle were joined by three Exmoor ponies kindly lent to us by Ann Massisini of Lamberhurst, East Sussex. The three mares aged thirteen, four and two years will hopefully be more suited to the rank grasses, heather and scrub than the more selective sheep, which were converting some grass areas into bowling greens! Initially for a three month period to assess how well they get on, the Trust hopes the trial is successful and may look to increase their numbers in subsequent years.

Steve Webster- Reserves Officer for Sussex Wildlife Trust.

N.B. The latest from SWT is that ponies are due to return to the 'Forest' this spring. (2000)