Dartmoor ponies were used as pack animals for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. In modern times and for various reasons, their numbers have dwindled to such an extent that they are at risk of disappearing from their native moor.
Inspired by 'Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks' by Eric Hemery (Emma Cunis' grandfather), Sam Goodwin has been single-handedly training ponies to carry packs. Giving people the opportunity to step literally into the past and experience Dartmoor and its distinctive breed in a unique and authentic way.
This stunning circular walk will explore majestic tors, a pretty waterfall, prehistoric and medieval, and take in some of the best views on the south moor via Penn Beacon, Shell Top, Hentor, Shavercombe Falls, and Willing Walls Warren.
'Magical day walking the moor with Emma and Sam and his awesome Dartmoor ponies. It felt timeless to walk with the ponies on tracks and trials that have been walked in this way for 100s of years. Both Emma and Sam are hugely knowledgable and I learnt a lot about the area of the moor that we covered and about the ponies and the art of packing. I feel deeply appreciative to Sam for the dedication with which he is reviving and sharing the old and largely forgotten skills of pony packing.' Annie
Donation & Booking
For this event we ask, in the spirit of the same generosity of this landscape and its ponies, that you pay what you decide. The larger portion of your donation will go towards paying for the feeding, upkeep and training of the ponies and helping Dartmoor Pack & Pony to set up with replica baskets (to be handmade in the future), insurance, etc. The suggested donation is £45 per person.
Group size is limited to 8 so pre-booking is essential.
Level: 4 out of 5. Distance is approximately 11km or 7 miles over open moorland. We will spend the first hour getting to know the ponies; grooming and putting on their packs; and answering any questions you may have before we get started. Then we will head out on to the open moor. To keep up with the ponies, we will walk at a reasonable pace with a few short stops along the way. You will need a good level of fitness; to be comfortable walking on rugged, moorland terrain and across two fords. When we return, you will be invited to help unload the ponies and return them to their fields.
Meeting time & location: 9.15am ready for a 9.30am start at Cholwich Town Farm near Cornwood. Upon booking, you will be sent detailed directions in an email a few days prior to our walk.
What to wear/bring: Sturdy walking boots with gaiters are essential, or comfortable wellies with a good grip (you will need to walk where it is easiest for the ponies including two river fords and along an old peat track through a sometimes boggy area); several warm layers, hat, and non-slip gloves, waterproof jacket and trousers (whatever the forecast), picnic lunch, snacks, drink/hot flask.
Please don't wear bright coloured clothing or any perfumes.
Sorry no dogs.
Cancellation policy: The walk will go ahead come rain or shine. Sorry no refunds if you change your mind and are unable to attend. If the walk is postponed for any reason, you will be offered a new future date to transfer to, or a refund.
Risk - PLEASE READ: This walk is entirely at your own risk as insurance to work with horses is not currently affordable for Dartmoor Pack & Pony. No liability is accepted for accidents or incidents.