Ponies arriving at Cranwich Camp by Matt Blissett

From Dartmoor to Breckland


Wednesday 07 June, 2017


New ponies settle in to manage Cranwich Camp, Norfolk. 


Sixteen Dartmoor Ponies are settling in to their new homes at Hockwold Heath and Cranwich Camp in Norfolk as part of an ongoing Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) conservation project, part funded by Biffa Award Landfill Communities Fund to restore grassland habitats on the heathland.

The ponies arrived in Norfolk from Dartmoor in early April with ten ponies going to Hockwold Heath and six to Cranwich Camp.  There is now a herd of fifty-one ponies at Hockwold and fifteen in total at Cranwich Camp.  This brings the total number of Dartmoor ponies owned and managed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust to 170 - thought to be the biggest collection of Dartmoor ponies helping to manage any landscape, outside of Devon.

Dartmoor ponies are an endangered breed and NWT are helping to maintain the viability of this native pony by buying suitable animals that have been bred on Dartmoor to graze its reserves in the county. Dartmoor ponies are particularly good for grazing heathland as they are hardy and can remain outside all year.  They are used to grazing rough grassland and coarse vegetation and help by reducing overgrown vegetation when grazing, so that more specialist heathland plants can thrive.

The selection, handling and transport of the ponies was provided and organised by the charity - the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT) as part of its on-going work to support the Dartmoor Pony on Dartmoor by seeking good homes for the ponies and ensuring a realistic income for the pony keepers who breed them.

John Milton Head of Nature Reserves for Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: “We are delighted to have purchased some more ponies from Dartmoor and we are really pleased to see them settling in so well.  We have sixty-six ponies grazing various sites in Breckland including Weeting and Hockwold Heaths as well as Cranwich Camp.  They are perfectly suited to grazing these sites which are similar to the environment they come from on Dartmoor. Ponies are a vital conservation management tool in these areas as they are well adapted to grazing sites with mixtures of rank grassland, wetland, gorse cover and where the public may walk their dogs."

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

Norfolk Wildlife Trust purchased all its ponies through DPHT because the charity understands the Trust’s particular needs and is able to coordinate with its pony keepers and NWT’s wardens to find and prepare the ponies for their role in Norfolk.

Dru Butterfield of the DPHT said, “We are extremely pleased to be able to assist NWT by supplying good quality Dartmoor ponies for its conservation grazing projects and therefore supporting our Dartmoor farmers who breed them.  Through initiatives like this we are meeting our aims to help ensure the long term future of the Dartmoor pony as one of our most treasured and important native breeds.”
Share this

Top news stories

2019-05-16 Cley Family Days to begin on c Cley Family Days to begin on county celebration day
Thursday 16 May, 2019
Norfolk Wildlife Trust will mark Norfolk Day – the annual celebration of all that makes our county great &ndash...
2019-05-14 Balance of safety and nature i Balance of safety and nature is driving verge cutting plans
Tuesday 14 May, 2019
Norfolk Wildlife Trust works in partnership with Norfolk County Council to maintain and project our 112 Roadside Natu...
2019-05-09 £500k to tip the balance of th £500k to tip the balance of the Broads
Thursday 09 May, 2019
Two of the largest Broads in Norfolk will have their underwater ecology ‘manipulated’ to restore their cl...
2019-05-01 Cley Calls to art and nature l Cley Calls to art and nature lovers this summer
Wednesday 01 May, 2019
A long summer weekend of wildlife and creativity inspired by the unique North Norfolk landscape is coming to Cley, Th...
2019-04-30 Funding will protect priority Funding will protect priority birds at Holme
Tuesday 30 April, 2019
Ringed plovers, little terns and oystercatchers are three of the important species to be better protected at NWT&rsqu...
2019-04-18 Pensthorpe Bird and Wildlife F Pensthorpe Bird and Wildlife Fair speaker schedule announced
Thursday 18 April, 2019
Pensthorpe Natural Park has added one of Britain’s best-known birders, Bill Oddie OBE, to its programme of gues...
2019-04-15 30 Days Wild to connect people 30 Days Wild to connect people with nature
Monday 15 April, 2019
Launched today, The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge 30 Days Wild encourages people to do something wil...
2019-04-05 New look team at Trust's Ecolo New look team at Trust's Ecological Consultancy
Friday 05 April, 2019
Norfolk Wildlife Services welcomes a fresh but familiar face as a new look team is ready to help with ecological expe...
2019-03-28 Badger, Ratty, Mole and Toad s Badger, Ratty, Mole and Toad strike out for a wilder future
Thursday 28 March, 2019
Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Fry, Catherine Tate, Alison Steadman and Asim Chaudhry have backed a new campaign fro...
2019-03-22 Festival Debate will consider Festival Debate will consider the future of nature in Norfolk
Friday 22 March, 2019
A timely and important debate on the future of nature will be the centrepiece of this year’s Festival of Nature...
2019-03-12 Big or small, ponds for all! Big or small, ponds for all!
Tuesday 12 March, 2019
Gardeners across the UK urged to make a splash for wildlife   For this year’s Wild About Gardens challen...
2019-03-07 Southrepps Commons local natur Southrepps Commons local nature reserve is important new addition to Trust’s portfolio
Thursday 07 March, 2019
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is delighted to receive Southrepps Commons from the Parish Council; a local nature reserve mad...