Ponies to help maintain Bronze Age site
This Is Devon.
Dartmoor campaigners have drafted in ponies to help control bracken which is damaging a precious archaeological site. Around 25 campaigners from the Dartmoor Preservation Association (DPA) are using Dartmoor hill ponies to pull a roller to bruise bracken on Corndon Tor, Poundsgate on Dartmoor.
The historic site - situated between Ashburton and Princetown - is thought to be more than 3,000 years old, and dates back to the Bronze Age. The site is littered with remains of hut circles, pre-historic boundaries and Bronze Age field systems. But it is being threatened by the spread of bracken. The plant's root systems can get underneath the low-standing stone walls and damage them.
The DPA, with the support of the Dartmoor National Park, is carrying out a programme designed to control the spread of bracken and protect historic sites. Yesterday, it joined forces with the Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony to try to clear some of the bracken on the 20-acre site. Three ponies were used - two attached to a bracken bruiser, a chain and harrow, and one pulling a weighted rubber tyre to stamp down the plant.
Dru Butterfield, development officer for the DPA, said: "We are working on a magnificent Bronze Age settlement that is currently covered in bracken. The advantage of using ponies is they are able to walk over the archaeological site without harming it - something that a quad bike or tractor is incapable of doing"
The DPA has been controlling the bracken for a few years and hopes it will be under control in three years' time. The volunteers plan to return to the site on Saturday to continue the bracken bruising, and again in August. The process will then be repeated twice every year for the next two years. Anyone interested in taking part on Saturday or in August should call Dru Butterfield on 01626 355314.
Posted by Rhiannon
24th June 2004ce
Edited 24th June 2004ce