Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Norfolk Wildlife Trust adds 16 new ponies to its Dartmoor herd

The selection, handling/training and transport of the ponies was provided and organised by the DPHT as part of its on-going work to support the Dartmoor Pony on Dartmoor, through seeking good homes for farmers’ ponies and ensuring a realistic income for those who breed them.

Says Dru Butterfield of the DPHT: “This is great news for Dartmoor ponies bred on Dartmoor and for the 8 breeders from whom they were sourced. The deal is worth £6,400 plus VAT – all of this goes to the breeders. We make no charge for the selection, training, coordination and follow up support work that our Charity provides. Against a constant barrage of ‘worthlessness’, this order and the relationship we have established with NWT and our local breeders, has ensured true ‘added value’ and a realistic price for these lovely ponies. The herd comprises 9 geldings, 5 fillies (animals under 4 years) and 2 mares; because all of them have grown up on the Moor, they are acclimatised to and happy living in the often similar environments and climates of Norfolk.”

Such placements also ensure that the Charity is adding to a ‘reservoir’ of good quality, Moorland-hardy Dartmoor Ponies held elsewhere in the UK, which Dartmoor breeders could potentially draw upon in the case of a future major geographical disease in Devon.

DPHT, based at Parke, Bovey Tracey has sourced Dartmoor Heritage and Pedigree ponies from for NWT for ten years and provides on-going support to its Wardens. These moor-bred, hardy, conservation grazing ponies are suitable for thriving on coarse vegetation, the brief given by NWT to help the Trust create and maintain important wildlife areas.

John Milton Head of Nature Reserves for Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: “As well as faring well on the mixed mire/heath sites of Norfolk – areas not dissimilar to Dartmoor – these ponies thrive on the grass heaths of the Norfolk Brecks, where other livestock have tended to lose condition.”

“These new additions will substantially increase our pony herd in the Brecks and will graze a number of sites including: two to supplement the herd at Holt Lowes; two to the herd at Cawston Heath; six joining the herds at Weeting and Hockwold; and six forming a new herd at Cranwich Camp as part of a Biffa-funded project to restore grassland habitats. The particular nature and preparation of these animals by the DPHT also helps to avoid issues with visitors, as the ponies are wary of close contact with people but can be handled by our wardens for routine care.”

“As well as providing an important role in conservation grazing, NWT welcomes the opportunity to assist in the preservation of the Dartmoor pony. The NWT herd continues to grow, forming a significant herd for the preservation of this valuable British native breed outside Dartmoor.”

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