The public can witness the gathering of Dartmoor’s Hill Ponies later this month (21 October), where commoners will demonstrate their skills rounding up the semi-wild equines for their annual health check.

Hosted by the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association in partnership with Our Upland Commons, a National Lottery Heritage funded initiative, the event will showcase farming skills that have formed Dartmoor’s culture and history for over 4,000 years.

Once given a clean bill of health, the ponies will be sorted and some will be sold at the annual Pony Drift Sale, which is held on the second Thursday in October (12 October this year). The rest will be returned to the commons as breeding stock, living semi-wild on Dartmoor, where their celebrated natural characteristics can be preserved in future generations.

The native herds are known to be genetically rare and important to the equine species worldwide. While at the gather, attendees can hear how the Dartmoor Hill Pony has become the first semi wild pony population to be added to the Rare Breed Survival Trust Watchlist after being recognised by the British Breed Survival Trust in 2021.

“It’s really important that events like this share with the public how the landscape is managed,” said Our Upland Commons Project Officer Tamsin Thomas. “Many people don’t understand what a common is and how it’s used, so I’m looking forward to sharing a little of our common heritage.”

Our Upland Commons is part of a £3million National Lottery Heritage fund initiative, supported by 25 organisations including Dartmoor National Park Authority.

The event will be held between 9am and 3pm on Saturday, 21 October. Tickets are free of charge, but are limited to ensure attendees have the best possible vantage point. To register your interest, email

More information about Our Upland Commons can be found here and the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association here.

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