NORTH Berwick Law has welcomed new inhabitants following the arrival of seven Exmoor ponies.

East Lothian Council is using the animals, leased from Moorland Mousie Trust, to encourage the growing of wild flowers through a conservation grazing scheme.

The project follows on from a similar one which has taken place on Traprain Law as the council looks to improve East Lothian’s grasslands.

There has not been grazing on North Berwick Law for about 15 years, which has had a negative effect on the natural habitat, with coarse grasses taking over at the expense of more delicate wild flowers and the insects that rely on them.

The wild ponies, all of which are male, eat away at tusky grass to make way for wild flowers.

Duncan Priddle, project co-ordinator for the council, said: “They have settled in well. They get checked every day by people who volunteer. They’ll be there for the foreseeable future.

“From the experiences at Traprain it will be at least 18 months to see substantial changes. The process is slow but steady.

“They keep themselves to themselves as much as possible. We don’t want anyone feeding them.

“They are designed to live in these conditions. They have an extra thick coat and and extra long mane for shedding water.”