On our recent trip to Dartmoor, the girls really wanted to meet some Dartmoor ponies. While there are plenty loose on the Dartmoor hills, it’s hard to get up close to them; it’s not guaranteed to spot them wherever you go, and it’s not a great idea to get too close to them – they are wild ponies after all. We decided instead to go to The Miniature Pony Centre near Moretonhampstead, and we are very glad we did!
The Miniature Pony Centre is a short drive from the village of Moretonhampstead in Dartmoor National Park. It is well sign posted and has a car park, though, by the time we got there, we had to use the overflow car park. However, while the car park suggests that we visited on a busy day, it didn’t feel excessively busy inside.
On the approach to the centre, we could see a field full of ponies and it looked like you could just wander in and meet them all. The girls found this exciting and wanted to get straight in there.
The Miniature Pony Centre
The centre is basically a children’s farm but with a focus on miniature ponies. There are more than just ponies here – we also met chipmunks, rabbits and guinea pigs, and some birds too. There are some play areas suitable for under 10s, trampolines, a cafe, and a programme of daily activities.
The site isn’t huge but there are some hills so get those walking shoes on!
The animals at the Miniature Pony Centre
There are lots of different animals at the pony centre – chipmunks, birds, guinea pigs, pygmy goats, and the horses, ponies, and donkeys you would expect. We had lots of fun looking at the animals, and we even got to hold a very fluffy rabbit in the pet handling session.
The pygmy goats were popular with the teen, though one kept escaping through the fence. We did pop it back a couple of times but then gave up as it was very persistent.
The main attraction was the numerous ponies and horses, which the twins loved. We had lots to look at, and also ride on, and groom. The twins were very excited about the pony grooming session. It was very simple – you get four children around a pony, each with a brush, and take turns to have a groom. The twins could have been there all day and I had to talk them into letting others have a turn! .
The walk through aviary was full of chickens and ducks, and a very showy peacock
The centrepiece of the centre is the open pony paddock where you can wander in and meet the ponies. It’s lovely to see them all out in open space, and the girls wanted to go and say hello and stroke every single one. If we’d had more time, then we would have!
The play areas at the Miniature Pony Centre
Aside from all the animals, there are also lots of play areas. The wooden play frame got plenty of use from us.
The girls also enjoyed the outdoor trampolines and the zip wire
For younger children, there is a pedal kart area, and also indoor soft play inside the barn. We didn’t do this as mine are too big now, but it looked like it could be good for periods of more inclement weather.
What to do at The Miniature Pony Centre
There is a daily programme of events at The Miniature Pony Centre. As well as the Pony Grooming and pet handling sessions, there’s also a fun gymkhana demo where volunteers get to race against a pony hobby-horse style.
We chose to also do pony riding – well, it would be rude not to! For £2 each extra (buy a token from the reception on entry), you get to ride a pony around the arena under supervision and get a rosette at the end to mark your achievement. Great fun!
Trip time – allow at least four hours. You could be here all day!
We had a great day at The Miniature Pony Centre – there were lots to do and see, and plenty to keep little pony-loving girls happy.
On-site cafe and toilets. You are welcome to take a picnic and there are plenty of tables and benches around for this.
The site is hilly so be aware if you have a heavy pushchair.
Season tickets available.
You can learn more at http://www.miniatureponycentre.com/
Disclosure – we were guests of The Miniature Pony Centre. All opinion is our own
Why not read our other Devon reviews?