DPHT Project

MSR52117

Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust

Since 2010, my endeavor, Inspired By Wildlife, has been dedicated to capturing compelling images and videos that illuminate the critical role of the Dartmoor pony in the landscape's ecological balance. This project aligns with and supports the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust's Management Plan, focusing on:

  • Elevating the significance of Dartmoor ponies in conservation grazing and its wider recognition.
  • Enhancing and fostering biodiversity across Dartmoor.
  • Preserving the unique habitats formed by the ponies, which are crucial for various species, including those listed on the BoCC Red and Amber lists.

At the heart of this initiative is Bellever, a 450-hectare conservation jewel managed by the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust since 2008. Renowned for its high biodiversity and archaeological importance, Bellever serves as an educational and conservation hub.

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MAL68585
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Bellever: The Dartmoor Pony's Crucial Role

The native Dartmoor Ponies are instrumental in maintaining the moor's biodiversity. Their year-round presence and diverse diet help control invasive species like Molinia. Additionally, their movement and feeding habits open up the landscape for other native flora and fauna. This natural management creates habitats that foster a chain reaction of biodiversity. Consequently, it invites a richer variety of plants, insects, birds, and wildlife, and prevents the spread of unnatural monocultures detrimental to the ecosystem.

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Supporting the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust's Conservation Efforts

My initiative Inspired By Wildlife proudly backs the Trust's comprehensive conservation strategies, which include:

  • Expanding educational walks that delve into Dartmoor's natural and historical essence.
  • Increasing support for conservation volunteer efforts.
  • Preserving and studying the region's archaeological sites in collaboration with the Dartmoor National Park Authority.
  • Promoting biodiversity, heritage preservation, and climate change mitigation efforts.
  • Educating and inspiring responsible enjoyment and stewardship of Dartmoor.
  • Fostering profound, personal connections with nature and encouraging a deep-seated respect for Dartmoor's cultural and natural heritage.

Your support is invaluable in advancing these conservation and educational initiatives. Through purchases from our Inspired Collection, you contribute to raising awareness and safeguarding the future of Dartmoor's wildlife and ecosystems.

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The Results...

  • On Bellever alone, the Dartmoor ponies brought about a 31-fold increase in the number of common heather seedlings and a 9% reduction in the percentage cover of Molinia grass.
  • The ponies also reduced the average height of Molinia tussocks and had a significant effect on the percentage of vital bare ground.
  • There were significantly more Calluna (Heather) seedlings on the plots grazed by the animals, as well as a significant improvement in the condition of mature Heather plants. 79% of mature plants appeared healthy compared to an average of 43% in non-grazed plots.
  • Return of <10 x Red & Amber Listed Bird Species.
  • Increase in reptiles and amphibians, with the ponies creating one of the best diverse habitats on Dartmoor for wildlife.
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