By: Blonde Two

Why visit Dartmoor?

When you think of Dartmoor, what comes to mind? Dartmoor ponies perhaps, or sheep, or cows, or perhaps even llamas and alpacas, we have plenty of those too. For many people, visiting Dartmoor is as much as seeing the animals as the views.

Dartmoor animal photography

There are some wonderful Dartmoor photographers out there who seem to have the knack of capturing Dartmoor’s animals in wonderful activity and locations. In fact the lovely Malcolm Snelgrove even runs Dartmoor horse photography workshops.

The pony paparazzi

We Blondes however have found to our chagrin that our own photographic attempts have usually been met with equine, ovine, bovine, ‘llamine‘ and ‘alpacine‘ refusal. Cows run away, sheep turn their backs, and as for ponies, well they just mess around on purpose.

Sunshine and good moods

That said, I did have a walking/working moment last week where the animals were supremely obliging. They were all obviously in a good mood (the sun had finally started shining) and did their best to appear in all my photos whether I was planning for them to do so or not.

Unexpected photo opportunities

My favourite moment was as I was concentrating on taking a photo of the Grimstone and Sortridge Leat. A mare and her foal appeared for a drink and stayed for long enough for me to fumble around with my phone to reasonable effect. This sheep too exhibited model (see what I did there) behaviour and did a great job of putting this bridge into perspective.

Get outside for those special moments

It all goes to show that, whether you are working or playing, getting outside is always worth it. You never know when the stars, or indeed the Dartmoor ponies might align for that really special moment.

Look after Dartmoor’s animals

It’s worth mentioning here that the stock on Dartmoor isn’t wild. It’s all owned and looked after by Dartmoor’s farming community, whose animals graze the common land that makes up a fair proportion of Dartmoor National Park.

We all love seeing the animals (for many visitors this can be a rare opportunity). And we can all do our bit to look after them. Please consider the following when you visit Dartmoor National Park or any other countryside area.

  • By leaving gates as we find them we can keep animals safe
  • By driving more slowly than you are used to we can keep animals safe
  • By taking our rubbish home we can keep animals safe
  • By not feeding animals (especially ponies) we can keep them safe