The first foal born this year to a herd of wild ponies on a nature reserve is coping well despite the cold weather.

The Konik ponies live at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve in Kent as part of an innovative scheme to protect the site’s natural habitat and rare wildlife.

Martyn Nicholls, spokesperson for the Wildwood Trust, which manages the reserve, said: “This type of breed is very hardy and the foal is doing extremely well.

“The first foal of the year is always a cause for celebration and bodes well.”

The foal was born on 18 January.

Konik ponies are described as the closest descendants of the extinct Tarpan horse which roamed Britain in Prehistoric times.

The ponies were introduced to the reserve seven years ago from Poland as part of a scheme by Natural England and the Wildwood Trust to protect the marshland, wet woodland, reed beds and meadow at the reserve.

They graze a wide range of plants and help to preserve natural habitats important for the survival of rare species such as bitterns and corncrakes.