Learn how to turn your pony paddock into a wildflower meadow

  • Are you fed up with looking at a sparse, horse-sick field? Have you had no luck rejuvenating the ground or don’t know where to start?

    A day-long workshop running at the end of this month in Kent aims to help all horse owners, livery yard managers and landowners turn their grazing into conservation areas.

    The “Ponies, wildflowers and wonderful landscapes” workshop takes place in Rye, mid-Kent on Thursday 29 July, thanks to Flora locale, a charity to promote the restoration of wild plants for biodiversity, landscapes and people.

    The workshop will look at practical techniques to enhance landscape and wildlife that also take into account the specific demands of equine management.

    “Good paddock management not only benefits wild flowers and other wildlife, but prevents pasture damage, reduces weed infestation and benefits the health and wellbeing of horses and ponies,” explained Frances Clayton, a horse owner and local co-ordinator for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.

    Mr Clayton is jointly leading the workshop with David Burton from Natural England’s Land Management Advice team. It is one of 34 one-day events being held across Britain by Flora locale in conjunction with Grazing Advice Partnership and the Small Woods Association.

    “We will also look at new ways in which an equine establishment has developed innovative approaches to conservation grazing,” continued Mr Clayton.

    He maintains that, with carefully timed grazing and rotation, horses and ponies do very well on a variety of grasses and wild flowers.

    “They browse and select different species at different times of the year, allowing some to flower and set seed to maintain good diversity.”

    The course costs £100 or £75 for concessions. To book and for more information, visit www.floralocale.org

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