They are the wildest ponies in Britain – and the star of an ancient tradition

Each autumn, the wild Carneddau ponies of Wales are gathered off the mountain by the hill farmers whose land they graze. After a fast well being verify, they’re launched once more to roam the 200sq km of wilderness that makes up the Carneddau plateau – the best contiguous space of floor in England and Wales with seven peaks above 3,000ft.

It’s a ritual that has been a part of village life for hundreds of years. As soon as performed on horseback, the gathering has now been modernised with quad bikes and stays a giant social event.

“Painters, plumbers, electricians, folks from the village who got here as children forty or fifty years in the past, all of them come up the hill to assist,” stated Gareth Wyn Jones, the sheep farmer whose household have been caring for the ponies for 375 years, since parish information started.

Believed to be the wildest ponies in Britain, they’ve been grazing these mountains because the Iron Age and the 220-strong herd is the final stronghold of the breed.

They play an important function within the mountain ecology of the Snowdonia Nationwide Park, grazing on every thing from rushes to gorse and Molinia, scraping the snow off the bottom to feed themselves over winter, sustaining the habitat for the endangered red-billed chough.

“It’s simply superb to see these ponies grazing on the highest of the mountain at 3,000ft,” stated Wyn Jones. “They’ve tailored to the tough situations over a whole bunch of years. Man hasn’t been interfering with them, they’ve been left to their very own gadgets. That is what makes them distinctive.”

Principal picture: Jim Tan

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