The Long Mynd Ponies

The Long Mynd Ponies

The Long Mynd is a heath and moorland plateau that forms part of the Shropshire Hills in Shropshire with the high ground designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The AONB area lies between the Stiperstones range to the west and the Stretton Hills and Wenlock Edge to the east.

Fran and I decided to base ourselves at a campsite called Small Batch in Little Stretton as we could then access the Long Mynd via various routes that would provide plenty of walking and photography opportunities.

The open expanse of the Long Mynd has a unique wild beauty, with areas of heather and bilberries scattered across the sculpted valleys in virtually every direction you look. Although I knew there were wild ponies on the Long Mynd, I was unsure how many there are or the locations where you might see them.  

Although there are plenty of images of the Long Mynd Ponies to be found online, I personally found little information about them in relation to how many there are and some of the areas where you are most likely to find them.

The only information I did find stated “The Ponies have grazed on the Long Mynd at Church Stretton, Shropshire, for centuries, with Historical grazing rights held by the Long Mynd Commoners allowing 48 ponies on the land”

Fran and I hiked via The Owlets to Carding Mill Valley and then forked left along Light Spout Hollow towards Pole Bank before joining Jack Mytton Way to return via Minton Batch. The route was just over seven miles and the vistas are spectacular.

We first came across some ponies along Light Spout Hollow, just below the small waterfall (Lightspout). Our next encounter with a different group of ponies was towards the junction of Jack Mytton Way and Minton Batch. We stopped for lunch here and the ponies came and found us, one in particular was very inquisitive and came right up to me.

The Long Mynd is an area of stunning beauty, so whichever ever method of transport you take to see the landscape, you certainly won’t be disappointed. You can drive up to the top of the Long Mynd in a car although the road is very steep and narrow and certainly not advisable for people with a fear of heights.

Fran and I spent four days in the Little Stretton area walking and taking photographs and will be returning again as there are lots of other walks and wild ponies still to see.

Unique Flash Workshop Opportunities

Unique Flash Workshop Opportunities

Despite the advances in technology you cannot learn everything online. We think we have a unique  way to develop new skills in relation to off camera flash, so If you feel that your photography skills or creative expression have hit a wall, why not join us on a Get Out & Learn Workshop and try photographing Red Squirrels with flash?

Due to the location and uniqueness of photographing Red Squirrels with flash, I only facilitate this workshop with a maximum of two people. I have two meet up locations: Hawes & Ribble Head. The duration of the workshop is a maximum of three hours and the cost is £40 per person.

Want to learn more

Unique Flash Workshop Opportunities

Snaizholme Red Squirrels

Snaizholme Red Squirrels

A century ago reds squirrels were common in woods and plantations throughout the UK, but with the spread of squirrel pox their numbers have declined significantly over the years. There are now around 160,000 red squirrels left in the UK, populations can be found in Scotland, the Lake District, Northumberland and the Yorkshire Dales.

As I live in Yorkshire, fortunately the Snaizholme Red Squirrel Nature Reserve is not too far to get too and the reserve provides some great opportunities to watch and photograph the reds. I can also take advantage in visiting at different times of the year.

The red squirrel’s recovery in the Dales took off when the late Hugh Kemp and his wife Jane encouraged a small colony around their farm, Mirk Pot, 1,200ft up in a remote offshoot of Wensleydale called Snaizeholme. The National Park Authority and local landowners have funded the viewing area, which can be found in a woodland clearing and has a feeder to attract wildlife and if you are patient, you will seem them running around the viewing area.

Snaizeholme is in the Widdale area, the reserve is located in a remote area and provides an ideal habitat for Red squirrels with a coniferous woodland. One of the issues in photographing the reds is the light, the light within the reserve changes considerably depending on the time of year and time of day.

I have mainly used a 70mm-200mm f/2.8 for the images displayed here, but if you want to capture the reds in the air or on the feeders, you will need more reach, minimum 400mm. Like most wildlife photography, you have to be patient and look for potential locations to frame shots, but if you are persistent you will be rewarded.

You can find full details of the Red Squirrel Trail at Snaizleholme by picking up a copy of “Go Nuts For Red Squirrels” leaflet from the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes or download it 

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