Ducks, Wild Horses & Ancient Burials

The other day we took some time out to do one of our educational trips. Such a variety of things and just on our doorstep so I thought that I should post about it.

We started off by journeying up towards Clocaenog, a nice trip via Dolgellau & Bala, always inspiring whatever the weather. Just as we neared our first destination we spotted a beautiful little lake, so on with the anchors and enjoy the scenery.

_MG_7821  Click image for larger view …

After watching the ducks for a while we moved on to our main event – looking for the wild horses in the forestry. After a bit of a trek & a search, we found them; or should I say they found us …

_MG_7900  Cute huh! Click on me for my bigger portrait …

These are in fact Przewalski’s horses. They are in excess to the needs of the current UK breeding programs and so they have been released into an area of ancient woodland that they appear to manage better than humans can. Przewalski’s became extinct in the wild due to pressure from mankind but a breeding program has seen the transfer of several groups from UK zoos to be released back into the wild in Hungary. There have also been several smaller releases in a few suitable areas of the UK. Others have also been released in Mongolia, where it is thought that they are now breeding wild. There’s some interesting info about Przewalski’s on the ARKive website.

_MG_7886  Click on my picture, if you’ll risk it …

Przewalski’s are members of the species Equus Ferus (The Wild Horse) and not of Equus Caballus (The Domesticated Horse). They have 66 chromosomes, 2 more than the domestic horse but they can interbreed with domestic horses. As you can see in the picture above, they like to keep a strict herd order. They did however seem to be quite unfussed by our presence. You can read more about this group here.  Przewalski’s are known to have roamed in Britain around 2000BC which is around the time that people were using the archaeological site that we visited next.

_MG_7939 Click image for larger view …

A short drive around Llyn Brenig brought us to this fascinating site. The image above shows “The Platform Cairn”. Initially built around 2000BC as an open ring of stones marking the burial place of an adult & a child; it was later filled entirely with stone and an urn of ashes buried beneath. This is not the only archeologically interesting structure here, there are several burial monuments & an ancient structure for mourners to congregate in. All date from 1000-2000BC. Regarding more modern history there are the remains of a medieval welsh long house & enclosure, from perhaps the 14th Century. We stood and shared the sunset with the hillside cattle, wondering what it was like all those years ago.

Hiraethog Sunset Click image for larger view …

Our day was coming to an end; night was falling and we needed to return home to check our own horses and have some much needed supper. As we walked back to the car along the shores of Llyn Brenig we watched the sunset intensify, right over Snowdon.

IMG_0980 Click image for larger view …

All in all a very enjoyable & educational day. You’ll be able to read more about the archaeology on Tamsin’s Blog & watch a video of the Przewalski’s on Jane’s site.


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  • Tuguldur

    October 6, 2007 at 8:25 am Reply

    My country Mongolia, is home of these Prejevalsky horses! 🙂

    The russian guy Prejevalsky himself had discovered it in the Gobi desert of Mongolia. We have a lots of them. 🙂 Cute guys!

    your pix are great!


  • john townsend

    November 3, 2007 at 9:44 am Reply

    Thank you for a most enjoyable site. I was looking for some history of Brenig and was transported to a galaxy of photography and detail.
    thank you.

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