All 8 ponies are now back on site. The other 4 arrived in the early evening one day last week and settled down very quickly.Now that the weather is cooler they are all eating a wider variety of vegetation, including small birch saplings, which is very pleasing, because we have loads of them!

I am still concerned, though, that a few people with young children are getting too close to the ponies, in spite of the blue signs posted on every gate round the fence. We have many reasons why this should not happen, listed on the metal signs at the front of the heath.

Another pleasing sight is a flower that had not been seen on the heath for a number of years – the devil’s-bit scabious. It is one of the rarer flowers associated with heathland, and listed as desirable for this site by Natural England. Two years ago one plant appeared, followed by another one elsewhere last year. This year we have 3 large patches totalling roughly 100 flower heads in the same area; the photo shows just a few of them.

We hope that winter work parties will start soon, and are also planning to restart the weekly health walks.