Thursday, 20th. Heard my first chiffchaffs of the year while checking ponies at Lane End Common at Chailey.
Friday, 21st. A cool but sunny spring day, with a keen westerly wind. Two of us spent the afternoon extending the grazing area on the Downs escarpment above Winton Street near Alfriston. This involved extending the electric fencing at both the top and bottom of the hill before moving the fence that runs down the steep(!) hillside – without the ten ponies escaping! After three hours, mission accomplished but wow, did our legs know it! On the existing area, the ponies have made quite an impression, grazing off a majority of the straw-like tor grass that sheep do not eat and that smothers neighbouring flora and fauna.
Next week, we shall be moving the 18 ponies from off Castle Hill National Nature Reserve on the Downs near Brighton. 12 will be going back to Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Old Lodge reserve on Ashdown Forest and 6 on to a smaller site. This will then allow a large important research project by the University of Sussex into bees and neighbouring oilseed rape to commence.