Families had the chance to see one of the UK’s rarest ponies at Smithills Hall in Bolton today.

Seeing a pony, many faces lit up, but it was not just any pony, it was a rare fell pony courtesy of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) and the Foundation for Common Land, who brought the pony to the grounds for the day.

There was an opportunity to stroke the pony and take pictures with it as Libby Robinson from The Fell Pony Heritage Trust spoke to people about the history of the fell pony.

She said: “Bringing a fell pony here to be able to introduce them to the general public and to all the wonderful people that come to visit the hall, is amazing.

The Bolton News: Rare Fell Pony

“They can come and stroke them, see them, talk about them, and see how kind and gentle they are.

“They have a lovely personality, and they are intelligent and quick to learn.

“One nice thing is that when the old farmers kept them up on the fells, they would have groups of ponies that would also work on the farms.

“They could go up onto the fell in the morning and bring the pony to the farm as it would trained and remembered what it was going to do.

“You could put a saddle on it, or a harness on it. You could ride it just like that.”

Libby works to promote the rare native breed and looking for opportunities to give it a job in future like conservation grazing at farms.

The pony, Hermoine, is also pregnant and is due in April.

The Bolton News: Rare Fell Pony

Libby said: "Breeding is essential to keep the line going and they are a part of your family and you feel responsible.

“I think from talking to people In Bolton, they have some grazing projects available that may be suitable.”

The small but strong breed of the Pennines’ western slopes, fell ponies have served the people, landscapes and environment of north-west England for centuries of logging, driving, and riding but are sadly now listed as ‘At Risk’ on the RBST Watchlist.

The breed was famously favoured by the late Queen Elizabeth II who regularly rode her Fell pony Emma in the grounds of Windsor Castle.