Naturalist and broadcaster Nick Baker has been named as the new patron of the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT).
In his new role, Mr Baker will champion the work of the DPHT which works tirelessly to secure the future of the native Dartmoor Pony, while inspiring and connecting people with the moor’s wildlife, landscape and heritage.
Mr Baker has been making films for more than 30 years and is a familiar name to millions of people as a presenter of various wildlife programmes.
In addition to his high profile roles on the BBC’s Autumn Watch Unsprung and Spring Watch Unsprung, he also presented the popular long running series Weird Creatures and has an impressive catalogue of credits to his name from National Geographic’s Ultimate Explorers to The Really Wild Show. He has lived on Dartmoor for nearly 30 years.
He said: “I am honoured to become a patron for such an important charity that uses education as a tool for understanding the vital role of conservation and the Dartmoor pony. I see myself as a link, helping to explain this important story through film, writing and events.”
He added: “The ecosystems on Dartmoor are fascinating and incredible but integral to these systems are the Dartmoor pony, and the habitat it creates through grazing.
“The Dartmoor pony is a keystone species on the moor, creating a patchwork of vegetation for invertebrates, reptiles and birdlife.
“The conservation work the DPHT has been carrying out at Bellever is incredibly exciting, as well as its work across the country in promoting the Dartmoor pony for conservation grazing.
“As a naturalist I see the benefit of what the ponies actually deliver and how their grazing habits enhance wildlife.
“These tough grazing animals we all know and love offer so much, not only in encouraging people to come and explore Dartmoor, but on the impact they have on ecological habitats right across the UK. This is the tale I very much look forward to sharing.”
The DPHT was co-founded by Dru Butterfield 16 years ago. Commenting on Mr Baker’s appointment she said: “We’re over the moon. Nick brings so much expertise, knowledge and understanding to our work on Dartmoor and at Bellever, a site we manage and run a herd of Dartmoor ponies.
“Having Nick on board, alongside our other patrons, photographer Malcolm Snelgrove, broadcaster and journalist Judi Spiers and councillor Avril Kerswell, will bring so much to the work we do.”