On Location: Drumburgh Moss

For one of my final year university modules we have to do an On Location project. I have chosen to do mine on the pros and cons of grazing feral ponies on nature reserves and for this I am visiting Drumburgh Moss National Nature Reserve in Drumburgh, Cumbria where eight Exmoor ponies roam and graze.

I haven’t seen 5am for a while, but it sure is a tough wake up when it’s dark and cold out. I pushed through getting ready in record time to leave for the bus. Stepping outside I was greeted by a thick fog, covering me like a blanket along with the bitter cold. ‘Gee whizz’ I muttered. Setting off at a brisk walk, I soon warmed up admiring the fog as I went hoping it would stick around until sunrise.

I stepped off the bus at Drumburgh missing the warmth already; I set off down the lane. The droning of the cows drowned out the twitter of the birds I was straining to hear. Not only could I hear them making a racket the smell of cow was overpowering. As I reached the reserve entrance I glanced across a field, a thin layer of mist smothered the ground; the sky had become pink like a sea of cotton candy.

I decided before looking for the ponies, I would have a gander inside the fenced area of the nature reserve where the raised mire is. It was beautiful, from the reflections in the water to the mist rolling off and onto the vegetation to the sparkling water drops, the cob webs twinkled as the orange fireball rose. It was time to move on and get those foggy morning shots I so desired.

No sooner had I rounded the corner I could make out the ponies, clouded in the swirling vapour. As I approached they raised their heads high, their gaze watched my every move checking that I was not a predator. As I neared I started to snap away, the dew laden grass glittered. One watched and posed away, the other two disinterested carried on munching away. He became inquisitive by the noise of my camera and started to approach but in doing this, 4 horses charged out of a little wood behind me. I hadn’t even noticed they were there, only the other two on the opposite side of the path to me. On they cantered towards me, nostrils flared, snorting and prancing. ‘Oh boy, I don’t want to get caught up in this’ I thought. I backed away slowly, making sure I wasn’t going to be stuck in the middle of them, they stopped, observed and one brave pony approaches, a slight wild look in his eye. ‘Steadddy’ I murmured. His ears twitched, slowly he walks on. I moved my arm slightly; he jumps back, spins and runs. Snorting he tries again whilst two others fight just to the left of me, kicking and rearing at each other. This is not the position I want to be in. I edge to my right, slowly making way to give myself a good distance between them again. The inquisitive one follows me, I stop, he stops. Slowly I turn take some pictures, he breathes out, adding to the fog. Shoving his nose towards to the camera lens he sniffs it, deciding I am no threat, he wanders back to his herd. I stand and watch, behind me the golden light softly caressed the land.

The herd move around splitting into their groups of 4, a 3 and a lone one. I think to myself, now then if they would kindly like to stand over there in the golden light it would be beautiful, like the picture I hoped to achieve. What happened next was magical. One pony wandered straight past me, followed by another into the pale orange hue. I stood and gawped. I couldn’t believe it. I snapped away frantically not wanting to miss my chance, in the doing of this, I was joined by a pony stood at my side, looking on he sighed, and nudged me. When I didn’t respond to this he took to grabbing my camera bag between his teeth and pulling backwards, he soon lost interest when this didn’t get a response either and walking into the light.

I don’t know what it is with these ponies, but seemed to love starting a fight right in front of me. For the second time this day I had a pair squeal and rear up at each other. I left them all too it for about half an hour to look around the rest of the reserve before heading back, taking some more photos of the ponies to pass some time before heading to the bus.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday, I took over 700…..and have somehow got to pick ones out for the magazine article and for prints. Fun and games, but please let me know what you think :).

IMG_1160

IMG_1547

IMG_1474

IMG_1521

IMG_1336

Advertisements

Touring the New Forest

This morning I visited the New Forest along with my Dad who kindly ferried me around for the day. We left just after 8am this morning and our first stop was Beaulieu, we did a little loop round and drove to the village and saw the river and then drove back to the heathland and parked in a pub where a couple of ponies were chilling in the car park. I was setting up my camera in the boot of the car when an inquisitive pony came and watched and then followed me around for a bit. After exploring this area for a bit we moved onto Lepe Country Park were we stopped for a quick walk and a cup of tea. There was plenty of black headed gulls and chaffinches in this area. We then drove to Brockenhurst and then onto Beachern Wood. Here there was some very cute foals. I also found it quite amusing when some ponies came trotting along the road and then onto the grass and caused a bit of excitement with the other ponies. Soon after a group of 5 ponies then headed onto the road checking for cars and then trotting off.  After spending about 45minutes on this site we drove onto the next.

Bolderwood was our next stop a deer conservation area, it was very pretty here as we walked the 2mile track seeing fallow and roe deer. We then drove into Lyndhurst and stopped at Parc Pale and saw more ponies and also some donkeys! We left just after 5.30pm 🙂

On the initial arrival I thought parts of the New Forest was like a drive through Safari! I still think parts of it are  ;). I had a really good day out and absolutely loved it and can’t wait till I can drive and go back again.

I took plenty of photographs and need to go through them but here are a few I thought I’d treat you with. My next post with be in just over a week as I’m going away as from tomorrow, but I hope you enjoyed this post :).

ImageImageImageImageImage