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Open Days 2020


SUNDAY 19 APRIL 1-3pm.



Come along to meet the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust’s Dartmoor ponies, find out all about them, enjoy interacting with them – and even adopt Rolo, Charlie, Smartie or George! 


Hear about the ponies on Dartmoor, why they are so important, how you can help; and about the work we do to help ensure a future for our iconic native breed and symbol of the Dartmoor National Park.


Our Open Days are suitable for family members of all ages and abilities.  Light refreshments available, our shop will be open – and perhaps there will be some surprise activities for children!  Enjoy a walk exploring the National Trust’s Parke Estate where we are based and have lunch or a teatime treat at the Home Farm Café. Well behaved dogs on leads welcome.


Or book a free, fun and informative Guided Walk at our Moorland site, Bellever, near Postbridge.  Tailored for each group – which must be 6 persons or more – children especially welcome.  We deliver walks to schools, clubs and family groups all year.


DPHT is also keen to attract new volunteers to help with its work, based at Parke.  All enquiries welcome, all sorts of roles available!


For further info, please call 01626 833234

Ponies enjoy their winter holiday!

Our little herd left the Centre before Christmas to travel to Hedgebarton farm near Widecombe for their Winter holiday. Here they are seeing the trailers arriving, waiting to be let out into their field on the farm, Sue Hutchings with Braveheart - who was actually bred at Hedgebarton- and lastly, enjoying the winter sunshine - on a good day! They are so happy up there and we are most grateful toTim Whitley and Sue and co for letting us use the fields for a month.
We collect the ponies on 17/1 and are back with school groups doing equine assisted learning the following week. 
Our next Open Afternoon is 
Sunday 16/2.  Call us to find out more! 01626833234

Thank You!

A very big thank you to all those who shop at Waitrose in Okehampton, for supporting the DPHT in their Community Matters charity support programme. We are most grateful for the recent donation of nearly £500!

The money will go towards training our new young Dartmoor, Rummy (RumChatter) to join our Ponies Inspiring People Equine Assisted Learning Programmes which we run at our Parke Centre.

Much appreciated, shoppers and the Waitrose/John Lewis Partners.  Here is George saying 'thank-you'!

Big news announced this week by the DPHT that should have national significance:

Big news announced this week by the DPHT that should have national significance: 


Announced this week as the annual Dartmoor Society Lecture, the initial results of our research project at Bellever with Plymouth University suggest that ponies not only make a positive contribution to conservation management on Dartmoor, but are also a suitable option for conservation grazing schemes throughout the country.


Created in response to a request from Defra and Natural England (NE) to the Dartmoor Pony Action Group three years ago, our research is gathering scientific evidence of the benefits of ponies as conservation grazers in creating suitable conditions for a range of biodiversity; and to influence government policy.

We are delighted that  this first report has been accepted by Defra and NE.  A Natural England ecologist has said: “The results of this trial provide good evidence of the positive impact of pony grazing on Molinia.  The study has been shared with Defra and it will form part of the body of evidence that will help to shape the future Environmental Land Management System’.

According to Paul Lunt, Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Plymouth University: “The findings suggest that salt blocks can be used to attract ponies to targeted areas of Molinia-dominated moorland, where other management strategies are not sustainable.

The increased grazing and trampling activity of the ponies in these areas can lead to a reduction in sward height and Molinia cover, facilitating increased germination and establishment of Calluna (Heather) seedlings and plant species diversity. Thus, ponies may provide a suitable option for conservation grazing schemes.”

Says Dru Butterfield of DPHT: “Satellite imagery (Google maps) clearly shows new pony tracks appearing through the Molinia as the ponies have changed their spatial pattern of grazing.  The impact they are making and how these results could be extended, particularly to ponies on heathland and uplands, throughout the country, is very exciting.  It should be sufficient evidence to ensure that suitably hardy ponies of all types and breeds are recognised and appreciated as effective conservation grazers to support biodiversity and tackle some of the factors affecting our landscapes such as highly invasive, dominating Molinia.”

Recognition of ponies as having a value in conservation terms is seen as critical in helping to ensure they have a better financial value as well as being so important in terms of land management and tourism – not only on Dartmoor.  We see this research as having national significance.

Anyone requiring further information about the project, or to enquire about site suitability or ponies, should contact the DPHT at or phone 01626 833234. READ MORE..

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The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (Registered Charity No. 1109196) was established in 2005 in response to widespread concern about the viability and long-term survival of the Dartmoor pony. We are based at Bovey Tracey, on the edge of Dartmoor where we operate a purpose-built, all-weather visitor and education centre.

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The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (Registered Charity No. 1109196) was established in 2005 in response to widespread concern about the viability and long-term survival of the traditional Dartmoor pony.

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