Where to Spot Our Furry Friends this winter

Durham Wildlife Trust’s Exmoor ponies are off on their work duties across the patch and will be at a selection of the Trust’s nature reserves until they come home to Rainton Meadows at Christmas.

The ponies were brought into graze at DWT nature reserves in 2017 and have been doing a fantastic job of maintaining the wildflower meadows – a job in the summer that used to use a huge amount of volunteer time but not anymore thanks to a conservation grazing programme and the Trust’s furry friends.

Come and visit the wonderful ponies at different sites throughout November and December as well as enjoying the beauty of the Trust’s reserves.

Jonah and Dixon will be working at Shibdon Pond in Gateshead, this site is one of the best wetlands in the region for wintering wildfowl. Nearest postcode: NE21 5LU.

David and Robin will be at Addisson and Hedgefield Nature Reserve, the wet grassland of this reserves supports an array of colourful plants such as ragged robin, valerian and marsh marigold whilst drier areas include betony, pignut, tormentil and lady’s mantle. Nearest postcode: NE21 4NN.

Lopper and Spedan will be at Malton Nature Reserve, this reserve hosts a wide variety of habitats including oak woodland, mature hedgerows, ponds, meadows and scrub. Nearest postcode: DH7 0TP.

Mimi and Luna are at Westfield Pasture Nature Reserve a site that is an important component of the Tyne Valley wildlife corridor, which follows the River Tyne from Wylam to Bill Quay. Nearest postcode: NE40 3UN.

Wally and Horace are at Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve. Stoat, weasel, brown hare and roe deer are regularly seen at this reserve and the wetlands attract numerous dragonflies and damselflies. Butterfly numbers are also high, particularly grassland species. Nearest postcode: DH4 6PU.

Barley and Nicola’s Boy are at Barlow Burn Nature Reserve. The site has several blocks of woodland with disused sand quarry habitats including ponds and grasslands. Bog Wood has rich and diverse ground flora unique in Gateshead including globeflower, bogbean, yellow flag, narrow buckler fern and meadowsweet. Nearest postcode: NE21 6JN.

The ponies at Westfield and Barlow will be having an extended winter vacation and will be back in January.

People can still donate to the upkeep of the ponies via JustGiving or by calling 0191 584 3112.