Stunning Exmoor ponies are returning to the Durham Wildlife Trust's headquarters for the winter.
The site at Rainton Meadows, near Houghton le Spring has been the subject of a conservation project in the last few months.
DWT brought in the ponies to graze on a number of its nature reserves because their method of grazing is good for wildlife habitats.
Their ability to graze on encroaching rank grasses and tendency to browse means that they naturally improve the species diversity of the sites they inhabit.
One of the biggest summer tasks for volunteer teams is the cutting and raking of wildflower meadows but a conservation grazing programme meant the ponies did the work, enabling volunteers to focus on other tasks.
Durham Wildlife Trust identified eight reserves on which the ponies could graze, including sites throughout Gateshead and County Durham and at the Trust’s two visitor centres, Low Barns near Witton-le-wear and Rainton Meadows. Now, the ponies are returning to Rainton Meadows for the winter.
People planning on visiting Rainton Meadows are reminded that they are not domestic animals. They should not be fed and it is not good for their health and they may bite.