This week has been quiet – so far! The only matter of real concern is the irresponsible person (or persons) who have on a number of occasions in recent weeks, deliberately propped gates open where the ponies are grazing at Chailey Common. This could lead to ponies getting out on to the adjacent busy A272 road, leading to the real possibility of horrific consequences. The extra six recently acquired ponies have now settled in at Chailey.
Restoration work is currently in-hand at both Chailey and the RSPB’s Broadwater. At Chailey, the ESCC’s contractors are progressing with the felling of selected groups of trees and scraping of some areas to remove bracken and plant debris in the hope of re-establishing heather. At Broadwater, the scale of the RSPB’s restoration could be described as being at an industrial scale, with more large areas of mature conifer having been felled and their stumps having been ground-out. This will lead to the creation of sweeping vistas of heath, grass and containing a rich assemblage of birds and insects. This will in coming years, require more ponies to maintain it.
Matters are slowly progressing towards the Sussex Pony Grazing & Conservation Trust creating a fourth herd of ponies numbering 15 ponies. This will hopefully happen during January and will bring the total number of ponies to 77. These new ponies will initially be employed on two sites on the eastern South Downs helping to restore and conserve chalk grassland.