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.

Horses & Rewilding In Yorkshire

Horses & Rewilding In Yorkshire

The horse is one of the oldest animals known to man and just a few thousand years ago, wild ponies roamed across vast parts of the English landscape. Although there are no truly wild horses in England, there are small herds of roaming ponies that live in wild conditions in various protected areas, such as the New Forrest, Dartmoor and Exmoor.

How Are Horse helping with rewilding? Put simply, as the ponies graze, they help balance the ecostystem keeping heathland and wetlands free from to much plant growth, thus maintaining a healthy balance for these areas to thrive.

With the rewilding of Britain’s protected areas becomming more popular, wild horses are being reintroduced to where they once belonged, playing a part of the ecosystem.You might be surprised to learn that Yorkshire has a few locations where these horses have been reintroduced and if you are lucky you will see them.

Blacktoft Sands is a nature reserve in the East Riding of Yorkshire, is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which leases the site from Associated British Ports. The site is on the southern bank of the Ouse, opposite the village of Blacktoft, and is a wetland. The nearest post code to find Blacktoft Sands is DN14 8HR

Skipwith Common National Nature Reserve is one of the last remaining areas of northern lowland heath in England. The area covers 270 hectares of open heath, ponds, mire, fen and woodland.

The area of Skipwith has a long history dating back to the Bronze Age and during the second world war there was an airfield for bomber training (RAF Riccall)

RAF Riccall was decommissioned just after the war, but was used for storage by the RAF until 1960. Some of the base’s infrastructure can still be seen, such as the overgrown runways, together with aired shelters and other structures.

You can see evidance of the former RAF base at (Bomber Loops) which is marked on an information board in the car park. Bomber Loops makes an interesting circular loop walk.

From the information I have found, the Skipwith Ponies were introduced roughly ten years ago. Howerver, due to the terrain of Skipwith Common, you may not see the Skipwith Ponies, even if you visit a few times, it’s really just down to luck. When they do appear, they are often in little groups spread out over a wide area.

Skipwith Common is a beautiful location for a walk and has a wealth of photographic opportunities. The Common is roughly two miles north of Selby.

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