Welsh mountain ponies. Photo: Alwyn Roberts

Welsh mountain pony

Mountain ponies have grazed the Carneddau in Snowdonia for at least 500 years, and may even be descendents of the ancient Celtic pony.

As well as being important to our genetic and cultural heritage, Welsh mountain ponies also play an important role in maintaining the plant and insect diversity on the rugged mountain slopes.

Farmers have kept mountain ponies on the hillsides for generations, and in the 19th century some were even sold as pit ponies to pull trains of coal.

Lower down the slopes, the ponies keep the grass short enough to provide suitable habitat for the chough. These rare crows also eat the beetle larvae which are found in the ponies' dung.

The Carneddau mountain ponies are smaller than other breeds, making them hardier and better able to survive the harsh weather. Because they're only rounded up once a year, these are the closest thing to wild ponies in the UK.

You may spot the ponies grazing on the Carneddau hillsides when walking in Snowdonia. They may be easier to spot in winter when they're lower down the mountain, but if you're there in spring you may be lucky enough to see a foal.

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