CHESHIRE West and Chester Council have joined forces with the National Trust in a new initiative that aims to protect heathland habitat.
The Habitats and Hillforts Landscape Partnership Project has introduced a herd of rare Welsh mountain ponies from Carneddau, North Wales, onto Bickerton Hill.
The move will help stop the spread of birch trees threatening the future of rare heathland habitat on the hill.
Bickerton Hill is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and provides a home for many rare or threatened animals and plants, including lizards, adders and birds of prey.
Its heath is considered to be the best of its kind in the county.
The ponies have been supplied by AGAP – Anglesey Grazing Animals Partnership.
Hilary Kehoe, AGAP’s Local Grazing Scheme Co-Ordinator, said:
“We’re delighted to have been able to assist the National Trust at Bickerton Hill, and are sure the ponies will make a real contribution to helping conserve this rare heathland landscape.”
Ellie Soper from the Council’s Habitats and Hillforts Landscape Partnership Project, which has helped fund the project, said: “This is a really exciting project to be involved in.
“The heath on Bickerton Hill is an important habitat within Cheshire’s Sandstone Ridge landscape and correct management is key to its sustainability.”