ONE of East Lothian’s most famous landmarks will soon be populated by a group of Exmoor ponies as grazing is set to return to North Berwick Law for the first time in about 15 years.

Without animals grazing on the Law the quality of the grassland has deteriorated, but now East Lothian Council is looking to transform the Law to reignite the growing of wild flowers with a conservation grazing scheme.

Duncan Priddle, project co-ordinator for the council, said: “It is basically an extension of something we started one and a half years ago at Traprain Law to improve the quality of grasslands. There are lots of nice bits of land in East Lothian and the ponies will eat away at tusky grass to make way for wild flowers.

“Fifteen years ago we had both cattle and sheep on the Law and for 15 years nothing has been nibbling at the grass. This is to get it back in good condition. We are going back to how land used to be looked after.” Without grazing the natural habitat has worsened, with coarse grasses taking over at the expense of more delicate wild flowers and the insects that rely on them.

Work has already started to prepare the Law for the arrival of about six ponies in October.

“We have made a start, getting rid of gorse and putting some fencing up,” said Mr Priddle.

“We will bring the ponies in late October. They are Exmoor ponies from the Moorland Mousie Trust, which finds homes for the ponies to graze. They are perfectly adapted to stay outside all winter.

“We may bring in some cattle in a little while. We will start with the ponies and see how it goes. They will have free reign pretty much across the Law but we will keep them out of marshy lands for their own safety.” The site will be managed by the council’s countryside ranger service as well as a group of volunteers, while visitors will not be affected, although they are encouraged to keep dogs under control and ensure children stay near.

“The ponies need to be checked daily,” said Mr Priddle. “A lot of people responded to an advert we put out and Law Primary is keen on doing stuff as well.

“It will hopefully be for the foreseeable future. It will be a minimum five years.” A public meeting is held in North Berwick Community Centre next Thursday (September 19), 7-8.15pm for people to find out more about the project.