New four-legged residents have recently been spotted near Llangoed on Anglesey and are helping to manage the land there as part of a local conservation project.
The small herd of Carneddau semi-feral ponies are settling in to their new home on Anglesey and are grazing on the land in Lleiniog, playing an important role in the Cwlwm Seiriol project. Brining them off the mountain not only helps the local conservation and environmental work, but also helps maintain the balance in the herd – keeping the number of stallions down and preventing them from fighting.
The Cwlwm Seiriol project aims to manage and improve areas of land for wildlife, recreation and access around Llanddona, Llangoed and Llaingoch. It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and is one of several Menter Môn conservation and environmental projects.
Grazing has been recognised as a good way of managing land for the benefit of wildlife locally, and with the ponies browsing and nibbling on trees and plants gaps are opened up in the vegetation for new plants to grow. They also provide much needed manure which can support up to 250 different types of insect.
Hilary Kehoe, works with the ponies on the Cwlwm Seiriol project. She said: “I have enjoyed working with the Cwlwm Seiriol team. It is the first time that we have used ponies in this way for the project and so far we are seeing positive results – with benefits for the ponies, their herd as well as being effective land management for the project.
“There are only 350 Carneddau ponies on the mountains, an although they are not designated as a rare breed, they are genetically distinct from the Welsh Mountain pony and carry genes specifically related to hardiness and waterproofing, so they don’t need to be brought in during the winter – making them ideal for this project.”
Volunteers are being trained over the winter to check on the ponies to make sure that they are safe, well and happy. Cwlwm Seiriol is keen to attract more volunteers and are appealing to people who are interested to get in touch or register via the Cwlwm Seiriol Facebook.
What is Cwlwm Seiriol?
Delyth Phillips, project co-ordinator explains:
Cwlwm Seiriol is a seven-year project to encourage a closer relationship between residents of south east Anglesey and their natural environment. We are working with locals and partners to implement the project and helping people improve their health by keeping fit whilst taking part in local conservation work. Our aim is to make the most of natural resources to improve physical and mental well-being and we are keen to attract more volunteers project.
As well as the Carneddau ponies initiative, other activities which will form part of the Cwlwm Seiriol project range from woodland walks to various conservation projects such as maintaining and restoring footpaths.