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The Dartmoor Ponies

The ponies help to give Dartmoor its unique character and are an important part of the landscape. Not all the ponies on the moor are of the traditional Dartmoor type - other breeds have been introduced at various times. The traditional Dartmoor is a short, stocky pony with a strong body and a full, flowing mane. Its colouring can be shades of brown, grey and black - excessive white markings are not characteristic.  The ponies on Dartmoor need to be hardy because the animals live out on the moor all year round. They are owned by farmers and each owner can identify animals by ear tags, coat branding or other marks.  Most foals are born between May and August which is also the main tourist season. The animals are untamed which means that they are not trained to be ridden or even handled by people.  Visitors often stop to photograph, feed or even stroke the ponies.  This can be very dangerous for people and ponies - please don’t approach the ponies.

Please do not feed the ponies

  • It encourages them to stay near the road where they might be killed or seriously injured.
  • The food we enjoy is not a natural or healthy diet for ponies and can make them very ill.
  • Ponies will learn to expect food from people and might frighten or hurt them in an attempt to get more food.
  • It is illegal (Byelaws: In respect of Dartmoor National Park 10(1)).

Image of dartmoor pony

Park only in designated car parks

  • Pulling in on the roadside causes damage to moorland verges and is potentially dangerous to other road users. It also attracts ponies to the road looking for food.

Keep to the 40 mile per hour speed limit

  • This is the maximum speed limit on many of Dartmoor’s roads. Always drive cautiously according to road conditions and visibility.

Keep well away

  • The ponies are untamed - they can be unpredictable and may kick and bite if approached.

Take all your litter home

  • A plastic bag or ring pull from a can will cause terrible suffering if swallowed.

Find out more

  • For more information about the ponies on Dartmoor and how they are managed, call at the High Moorland Visitor Centre, Princetown.

Where to find out more

If you see an injured pony please contact:

  • Project Ranger (Livestock Protection) Jane Cole Tel: 07873 587561
  • Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society

South Brent Tel: (01364) 73121
Shaugh Prior Tel: (01752) 839376
Buckfastleigh Tel: (01364) 643411
Mary Tavy Tel: (01822) 810303
Mobile Tel: 07976 446263

or

  • Dartmoor National Park Authority

High Moorland Visitor Centre, Princetown
Tel: (01822) 890414

or

  • Dartmoor Commoners’ Council

Tel: (01822) 618892

If you are involved in a vehicular accident with a pony YOU MUST telephone the police.  If you witness such an accident please also telephone the police.

Back to Dartmoor Ponies factsheet homepage.

Page last updated: 06 Jun 2005