Ponies come home to Parke

Ponies Come Home To Parke

After three years of searching for a larger venue, the Dartmoor
Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT) has now relocated to Parke enabling it
to expand its activities and its socially inclusive work using
Dartmoor Ponies as a platform for learning. The DPHT successfully
secured a grant of £60,344 from the Greater Dartmoor LEAF to build
the new visitor and education centre.

The new Centre will act as a showcase for the Dartmoor Pony
raising awareness and promoting its importance. Located at the
National Trust-owned Parke Estate, also headquarters for the
Dartmoor National Park, the superb purpose built Centre, includes
paddocks, internal pens and a classroom and was built in just two
months.

Education courses have already started and the Centre is
currently open to the public on Sunday afternoons; the official
opening will be in Spring 2011.

Dru Butterfield Charity Manager commented “Dartmoor Ponies are
incredibly important to Dartmoor, for their benefits to habitat
management, as a tourist attraction and as a source of income for
Dartmoor Hill Farmers. Our work started five years ago, raising
awareness of their importance and working with farmers by handling
the wild ponies, so that we could sell tame ponies to good equine
homes for a fair price.”

The new centre will provide all year round facilities for the
public to view wild pony handling sessions, enable school visits
and provide opportunities to learn about the ponies’ history and
their future on Dartmoor. The project will also help Dartmoor
Farmers to sell the very best quality ponies produced from
Dartmoor.

Since moving to the new centre the trust has sold 9 ponies on
behalf of Dartmoor Hill Farmers, run 24 sessions for disadvantaged
young people and has already welcomed several hundred visitors.
They have also recruited a team of 20 volunteers to assist them,
which will grow to a team of 50 by the spring.

Liz Abell of Devon Renaissance, who is the Programme Manager of
the Greater Dartmoor LEAF, recently visited the new facility at
Parke. She said, “What has been achieved is fantastic, the ponies
have a great new home and the centre is now an important attraction
on Dartmoor. Being located within a National Trust site is a real
bonus as visitors can visit both attractions in one visit. The
Greater Dartmoor LEAF is proud to have been involved in such a
worthwhile project for the area.”

Why not visit the new centre or for more information please
contact:

Mrs Dru Butterfield
Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust
Tel: 01626 355314 or email dru@dpht.co.uk