The Lake District Fell Pony Centre
The Cumbrian Fell Pony has lived on the fells of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire for centuries. They are believed to have been used by the Romans, who built a road through Rusland, and the monks of Furness Abbey who kept deer here. They would certainly have been used a means of transport for the farmers who lived in this farm from 1565, and our pony stables date from this time.
Fell ponies are famous for trotting happily for long distances and can be ridden by both children and adults up to 13 stone. All our fell ponies are registered with The Fell Pony Society.
Fell Ponies in the Rusland Valley
Fell ponies have been used for centuries in the valley. Our farm was built in 1565 when the area was sold after the dissolution of the monasteries. Prior to this the Cistercian monks bred and used fell ponies in this area, grazing their ponies on Bethecar Moor. They favoured grey ponies and tried to breed as many grays as possible.
In the following centuries Rusland was a hive of industrial activity with iron smelting, charcoal burning and gunpowder making. All these activities required wood and the ponies were used to transport the wood out of the woodlands and to the industrial sites. Our farm was on a packhorse route and trains of up to 50 ponies would have been passing our house carrying wool to and from the market at Hawkshead. Brown and bay ponies were the most common colours at this time.