,,, slowly increasing Dartmoor Pony numbers
The RBST wants us to help “monitor, save and promote our UK native livestock breeds”:
Earlier in the year, they published their latest watchlist:
This month, the farming media in Ireland and Scotland has shown interest:
And in today’s Western Morning News, they carried the latest:
Rare breeds need help if they are to survive
The UK’s native breeds of livestock and equines have brought us power, sustenance, clothing and recreation for centuries. Their relationship with not only our rural communities, but also our landscapes and natural environment, is unmatched.
However the changes to farming, transport and production over the 20th century led to a sharp decline for many of the UK’s native breeds and there were some (such as the Lincolnshire Curly Coat pig) which died out completely, never to return. Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), breed societies and dedicated individuals have worked together for almost half a century to prevent any more breed extinctions and to restore rare native breeds to a more secure footing for the future.
Each year RBST’s Watchlist reports which of our native livestock and equines are rare, categorising each rare breed as ‘at risk’, or the most urgent ‘priority’ breeds. Some of the South West’s most recognisable and cherished breeds are now in this most urgent priority category.
Dartmoor ponies are small, strong and able to withstand the harsh conditions of Dartmoor. Following their decline after the Second World War, the Moorland Scheme (administered by the Duchy of Cornwall, the Dartmoor Pony Society and Dartmoor National Park) has been successful in slowly increasing the true-type Dartmoor Ponies on the moor, but numbers are still perilously low.
Their numbers are indeed very low, but Peak Hill atop Sidmouth has several enjoying the windy pastures: