SIX Dartmouth ponies are helping to allow a nature reserve to thrive.
The horses have been brought to the sand dunes at North Gare, between Seal Sands and Seaton Carew.
The ponies are being used by Natural England to graze through the coarser grasses at Teesmouth National Nature Reserve to wildflowers flourish.
Two of the mares have given birth to foals since they arrived.
Jo Collins, Natural England’s outreach adviser at the reserve, said: “The ponies are a very welcome, hard working addition to the team here at Teesmouth NNR.
“They have already munched through a lot of the long grass and we are looking forward to seeing the wild flowers bloom next year as a result.”
It is hoped that a fantastic displays of orchids will return next spring.
The ponies can be found behind the sand dunes at the Blue Lagoon near the end of the Zinc Works Road.
The foals’ mothers are extremely protective so visitors are advised not to get too close and keep dogs under close control.
The ponies belong to grazier Jane Moore and will call Teesmouth NNR home until October.