Dartmoor hill ponies have been on Dartmoor for 2000 years, and used as hardy packhorses long before there were roads on the rugged terrain. Although they wander the bleak moors, they all belong to someone. However, in the current market, their financial value is falling. They are now sold very cheaply, because they cost £2500 per year to keep, and so few people want them.
I met these fabulous creatures while wandering on Sharp Tor in 1999 (en route to Dartington), enjoying the sunshine and splendid views for miles around. First I saw one, then as I got closer, I noticed others, until I reached their posse of ten, all stood motionless against the horizon at the summit of the Tor. There was not another human in sight. I spent half an hour with them, playing my flute, which surprisingly didn't frighten them off. Their collective power was awe-inspiring; a group of telepathic beings communing with the moor.
Sundrenched cliff of Haytor Rocks on Dartmoor in October 1999.
A Saddle Tor rock formation in the shape of a head called Bowman's Nose stares across a sunset at the crescent moon.
I found this image of a bird while climbing Saddle Tor on Dartmoor, as the setting sun peered through a large gap. Composing the image required lying face down, hanging on to avoid the large drop to my right. Sadly, the scanner cannot quite distinguish the subtle grey tones of the bird's right wing, which can only be seen on the original photograph. (I'll buy a new scanner soon ;-)
The same shot, using a flash to expose the rocks, so that the image is not dazzled by the sunlight. And yes, that is a pile of dung in the foreground; obviously this little cave under the balancing boulders provided some animal with shelter.
Here one can see how the rocks are precariously perched on the side of the cliff. The sunset was spectacular from this high place, casting a rich red glow over the autumn landscape.
© copyright Malcolm Smith 2006-06-14 - last updated 2006-06-20