Rescue ponies Jenga and Tavy joined more than 30 Littlehempston residents at the weekend for a special Beating the Bounds and well dressing ceremony.
Sanctuary staff were also joined by pupils from Berry Pomeroy Primary School who designed a decorative dressing to be blessed during the village’s Beating the Bounds ceremony.
Beating the Bounds dates back to the Norman Conquest when villagers would walk the 12-mile boundary of the parish to show the youngest members of the community where they were and to ask for protection and blessings for the land.
And at the weekend they walked the boundaries between Littlehempston, Berry Pomeroy and Ipplepen, stopping off to bless the ancient well on our land at Coombe Park.
The well, constructed in the 1760s, was used to water pack ponies travelling along the old Totnes Road and the pupils of Berry Pomeroy produced a collage of images depicting the wonderful landscape.
We laid on tea, coffee and biscuits to refresh the walkers before they headed off for the next stage of Beating the Bounds – believed to be the first time the ancient tradition has been carried out in the area since the 13th Century.
Resident Ali Taylor said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity to visit parts of the Parish you never normally see. And the hospitality of the Mare and Foal Sanctuary has been fantastic. We’re really hoping this will become a regular event in the Littlehempston calendar.”
Sanctuary Head of Education, Dawn Neil, is currently working closely on a project about the charity with pupils from Berry Pomeroy, as part of their citizenship curriculum.
She said: “It was wonderful to meet so many local people and be able to show them the ancient well on our land.
“Coombe Park is steeped in history and has always been a part of the local communities of Berry Pomeroy and Littlehempston. It’s great to be able to share it with everyone.
“The children loved working on the well dressing. It gives them a real sense of being part of something bigger. “
The Littlehempston residents split the 12-mile walk into two weekends so even the youngest members of the parish could take part and they will be completing the second section of the walk on Sunday (29), meeting neighbouring parish councillors along the route.