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Dartmoor Pack Pony Team take on 100-mile challenge between Stannery towns

PUBLISHED: 15:06 07 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:37 07 September 2015

A grey mare and her foal out on the moor

A grey mare and her foal out on the moor

Archant

Dru Butterfield from the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust is joining with Sam Goodwin of Dartmoor Pony and Pack, who’s business is to lead guided pony treks across Dartmoor, and his ponies Billy and Jasmine, to take on an impressive challenge this autumn – to walk 100 miles across the Moor.

Paul, Dru and Sam with one of the poniesPaul, Dru and Sam with one of the ponies

As part of the DPHT’s celebrations of its 10th Anniversary in 2015, the aim is to raise a target of £5000 in aid of their recently announced Dartmoor Pony Conservation Grazing Research project, with Plymouth University and Dartmoor Zoo.

This will increase awareness of temperament and capability of the Dartmoor pony and its historical role as a vital partner to people on Dartmoor. It will also ensure recognition of the ponies’ benefit to biodiversity, ultimately helping to secure their future on Dartmoor and across the UK.

Between 16-23 October Dru, Sam and their ponies, joined by Dartmoor guide and DPHT conservation officer Paul Rendell, will follow a route around the four Dartmoor Stannery towns - Ashburton, Chagford, Tavistock and Plympton - where tin mined on Dartmoor was gathered, weighed and sold.

Walking around 15-18 miles per day, they will retrace the steps of the ponies’ past as pack animals critical to the livelihood - and ultimately the survival - of those who lived and worked on Dartmoor in centuries gone by.

Dru says: “The Walk is intended to celebrate the role of the Dartmoor pony in our local history, to show many more people just what these tough, capable but gentle little ponies have achieved in the past, what their roles is on the Moor now, and how vital it is to keep them there for the future. We need to help more people to understand the challenges facing the Dartmoor pony living on Dartmoor and then to become aware of the variety of work going on that will make a difference to their survival.”

But it will be no mean feat, as Paul suggests: “Dartmoor can be a challenging place for human and beast; they will have to work together to complete this challenging trek.”

The charity is looking for donations, practical involvement and sponsorship by schools, individuals and businesses throughout the 100 Mile Challenge area and beyond.

There are some places available for people to take part for one of the days, with a minimum sponsorship donation of £50 per person.

Visit the Dartmoor Heritage Pony Trust website or call 01626 833234 to find out more.

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