The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Pony Trust (DPHT) has announced that photographer Malcolm Snelgrove has become the charity’s new patron.The charity’s vision is to secure the future of the native Dartmoor pony and to inspire and connect people with Dartmoor’s wildlife, landscape and heritage. Developing its partnership with Malcolm, a respected, internationally published equine and environmental photographer based on the Moor, is a perfect fit.
The DPHT works with pony keepers on Dartmoor who own and breed Dartmoor ponies. It also promotes the Dartmoor pony for conservation grazing and manages 82 hectares of moorland and heathland at Bellever, Postbridge, where it has 20 ponies and offers free guided walks. At its Dartmoor Pony Visitor and Information Centre on the Parke Estate near Bovey Tracey it provides equine assisted learning, education and information, as well as opportunities for people to meet ponies and learn more about them.
The charity’s Dru Butterfield said: “We are thrilled and honoured that Malcolm has joined the charity as a patron. His passion for Dartmoor and its ponies, heritage and conservation certainly matches our own so this is a very exciting time.
“Malcolm will champion our work and enable us to share our messages more widely and effectively to a broader public, as well as increasing engagement, through the hugely effective medium of powerful imagery.
“We are increasing our activities, especially at Bellever, developing new partnerships, expanding the number of volunteers we have and supporting the work of the National Park and Forestry England so that more people can come and enjoy the moors safely and with respect, and feel inspired by the landscape and the ponies that graze there.”
Malcolm’s images of Dartmoor and its ponies have brought him international acclaim.
He moved to Devon 20 years ago with his wife Juliette and his time spent? exploring the wild and rugged landscapes and studying the pony herds that graze there, led him to combine working as an IT consultant with becoming a professional photographer.
Malcolm said: “I’m so honoured to have been appointed patron as it means we can use my images to encourage people to understand both how important the ponies are for the landscape, and why we must protect and manage our landscapes for posterity, while encouraging people to come and enjoy Dartmoor.”
He added: “I am fascinated by the ponies and how they live in their natural environment. The DPHT is carrying out wonderful habitat management activities and research at Bellever where the ponies are being used in conservation work and it’s been fascinating recording the very positive impact they are having in developing the biodiversity.”
Malcolm first become involved with the DPHT in 2016 when he supported the charity’s Fresh Tracks programme which enabled 18 young people with a range of life challenges to walk across some 15 miles of Dartmoor as part of the Ten Tors challenge, motivated by the Charity’s specially trained Dartmoor ponies.
He recorded their personal journeys, starting at the Trust’s Centre where they were taught map reading, first aid, pony skills, how to put up and take down a tent, and prepare their own gear and pack their bags.
Each child was presented with a book of their own images as a record of their momentous achievements in completing the challenge.
Malcolm said: “The DPHT is a fantastic charity, not only in the work it is doing to ensure a sustainable future for traditional Dartmoor ponies, but also because it has successfully found a way to use the ponies to benefit so many people through its equine assisted learning programmes. I’m very excited to be working with the charity, as it continues to develop the site at Bellever, inspiring and connecting people to Dartmoor’s wildlife, landscape and heritage.”