Wild Ponies on the Long Mynd | Shropshire Hills
Yesterday afternoon Ed and I went for a walk in the Shropshire Hills above Carding Mill Valley. It’s a popular tourist destination and always very busy on a sunny day, but as soon as you get away from the streams down in the valley, and up into the hills, it’s quiet. We only saw people at the waterfalls and by the visitor centre. The National Trust are making the most of the boom in domestic tourism and have hiked the car parking fee to £7, but I can’t say I blame them given that footfall is high and last year they suffered such losses. The money goes back into maintaining the hills and footpaths. If you’re visiting without a car, there is train station in nearby Church Stretton which is about a 30 minute walk from the visitor centre, so it is accessible with public transport if you fancy a day out by train.
The last time I saw the ponies on the Long Mynd was May 2017. The hills cover a large area and the ponies are free roaming, so it’s a game of chance whether you see them or not. We got lucky. My usual paragraph accompanying photos of wild ponies – please keep a respectful distance from them, for your safety and for theirs. They are wild animals and they should be wary of humans, as this keeps them safe. Please don’t feed them, either, as human food – including things like carrots and apples – can make them very ill. These photos were all taken with a long lens on a dedicated camera, and so please don’t try to get the same perspective with your smartphone camera, as doing so will mean you are far too close!
I feel it’s more important than ever to repeat this guidance as more and more people are spending time outdoors and getting into hiking and spending time in nature. Whilst I am all in favour of this and think it’s fantastic that people want to spend time outdoors, it’s important to remember that these spaces are home to wild animals and plants and not just a recreation ground for humans. Step carefully, and enjoy your time outside with respect for the world around you.