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Dales ponies help to provide new habitat for waders at RSPB Geltsdale

Last modified: 25 July 2013

Fluffy lapwing chick

The ponies will play an important part in improving habitat for birds, such as lapwing

Image: Steve Round

Hardy Dales-bred ponies are set to play a key part in improving the habitat for waders around the water’s edge at RSPB Geltsdale.

Forester Charlie Parker and his ponies will be removing timber from the side of Tindale Tarn on 1 August. The timber was cut with the help of RSPB volunteers, who will be teaming up with Charlie and the ponies to complete the task next week.

Belinda Lloyd, Farmland Assistant Warden at RSPB Geltsdale, said: “The banks of Tindale Tarn are saturated and extremely soft, prohibiting the removal of the timber using heavy machinery. Only the recent very dry weather has allowed the removal of timber by Charlie and his ponies.

“Charlie has been a forester since 1971 and he breeds and regularly uses his Dales ponies for the removal of timber or “snigging” in the traditional manner.  He believes Dales ponies are one of our most versatile native breeds which can be used for riding, driving and working in ‘chains’, so it will be fantastic to see the ponies in action at RSPB Geltsdale.”

In the past, Dales ponies have been used as pack ponies, bred for their strength and endurance, which was needed for the long hours spent transporting heavy goods, such as coal.  

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