The birth of the fourth wild Exmoor foal at Bamff Wildland, named Argaty, was witnessed live by a number of people and captured in a stunning film, currently seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers online on facebook and elsewhere. Very little footage exists of the birth of wild Exmoor Foals, making this somewhat unique.

Argaty’s birth unfolded during the mid afternoon of 28th April 2024, her mother Kilbride bravely dealt with her period of labour and both were on their feet within 20 minutes of the birth!

Film and music by Dave Maric.

Airlie with her mother, Russet.

Four Exmoor Pony foals have been born at Bamff Widland in April 2024, beginning with Airlie, a filly, followed by a colt, Dalwhinnie, and two more fillies; Appin and Argaty.

Dalwhinnie and Appin, with mothers Stontian and Russet.

Their mothers are all healthy, and the foals appear to be thriving in the landscape where they can all freely roam.


Decisions will need to be made as to how many can stay at Bamff in the longer term, and also how their presence, departure and potential replacements can influence future bloodlines, though the wildland area will be able to cope with a total number in excess of the current herd, which currently numbers fifteen.


A sub-herd of 11 Exmoor ponies have arrived at their new home at Bamff Wildland where they will live and breed in the wild. The ponies, owned by longtime Exmoor researcher Debbie Davy, who also has a larger herd in the Scoraig peninsula which these are mostly derived from, were previously living at Cochno Farm, which is affiliated with the University of Glasgow. There the ponies were being studied as part of Debbie’s PhD on the genetic and rewilding aspects of Exmoor Ponies. The farm had new plans for the land and the ponies were forced to leave, hence their arrival at Bamff.

Exmoor ponies, according to Debbie’s and others research, are genetically the closest breed to ancient hill ponies (and thus also ancient horses). Their bloodlines are carefully manipulated in a way that resembles natural selection where the most resilient survive. And indeed, they are more resilient than other pony breeds; far less susceptible to laminitis, for example, which is often a major problem in introducing ponies to ex-farmed fields.

Their purpose at Bamff Wildland is to help to disturb the ground on ex-sheep fields in specific ways distinctly different in style to the existing pigs and cattle. They are more selective in their eating habits, being less likely to feed on tree growth or flowers and preferring rough grasses as the main component of their diet. The clearing of grasses then helps flowers then flourish without being crowded out. Their hooves marks also creating openings in the soil for seeds to take hold.

Numbers will be monitored so that they do not have too high of a population density for the Wildland. In the future some will therefore be occasionally removed and sent to other rewilding projects.

The Exmoor Pony is the closest proxy to ancient wild ponies we can possibly have to assist in the replication of ecosystems from former times.

A breeding herd of Exmoor Ponies are due to arrive at Bamff in January 2024. The herd, or perhaps more accurately, a “sub-herd” (from a larger group located in the Scoraig peninsula) are owned by Debbie Davy, and are currently located at Cochno Farm, north of Glasgow.

Debbie has been working with and studying Exmoor Ponies since the early 1980s, and she is currently finishing her PhD entitled “The Population Dynamics and Ecological Interactions of Exmoor Ponies and their Role in Rewilding”. The ponies at Cochno are in need of a new home, due to changes being made at the farm, and Bamff Wildland hopes to be the perfect place for them to reside indefinitely. As Debbie and others have ascertained, Exmoor Ponies are, above all other existing species, the most related to the ancient species of horse, as any domesticity within the its history has had the least impact on the genetic nature of the Exmoor compared to all others. This makes it all the more fascinating that they are introduced as a grazing species which will interact with the land in ways more closely resembling those from ancient landscapes. We will be able, over the years, to measure how they have impacted and enhanced the process of rewilding at Bamff.

One or two of the forthcoming mares may currently already be pregnant, and so the size of the herd will slowly expand over time, but not to the extent that the area can’t support them. Hence eventually other rewilding projects may also be able to benefit by receiving “excess” ponies from Bamff Wildland.

Silverback films came to Bamff in 2021 and used their footage filmed there as part of David Attenborough’s acclaimed Wild Isles nature documentary for BBC One.

David Attenborough

The episode, entitled “Freshwater”, and which featured Bamff’s beavers, was first broadcast on Sunday 2nd April 2023, and is available to watch on here on BBC iPlayer until early 2024.

A Bamff beaver

On Sunday 13th March 2023, Sophie Ramsay launched Bamff Wildland’s exciting and ambitious “Braes of Alyth, Wild Cores and Corridors” riparian restoration project.

A screening of the brilliantly informative and highly relevant documentary from Scotland, the Big Picture called “Riverwoods” also took place, followed by a q&a with the river restoration specialists Duncan and Maja Pepper, who are both carrying out surveys in relation to our project.

The project, funded from NatureScot’s Nature Restoration Fund, spans the two sub-catchments to the east and west of Bamff and we are carrying out surveys and consultations with the owners and managers of nine other landholdings in the project area.

We aim to connect wildlife rich areas via restored nature corridors along waterways. It transcends the limitations of boundaries and thus becomes a true landscape scale ecological transformation that can bring hope for the future of many species, the mitigation of flooding, of drought and numerous other benefits.

We had a great turnout (despite the snow and rugby) and many wonderful new connections were forged.

On Sunday 8th January Bamff Wildland featured in an episode of BBC’s Countryfile which explored estates around the UK and their attitudes towards shooting gamebirds for sport.

Bamff has ended the practice of breeding and releasing pheasants for shooting, partly as it is clear that the impact of this on other wildlife and their habitat is destructive, thus counterproductive to the process of rewilding.

The episode is available here to watch until the end of 2023.

Sophie Ramsay with the rewilding Tamworth Pigs and a presenter from BBC Countryfile

After dealing with various potential issues regarding bottlenecks for free roaming stock, the remaining wildland gates are finally opened allowing the pigs and cattle access to the entire 450 acre wildland area at their leisure.

Louise and Sophie Ramsay open the final gates

The world’s first hydrological model of beaver dams has been completed by Olly Van Biervliet at UCL in collaboration with the University of Stirling, based on studies of Bamff’s beaver wetlands.

The results, which will soon be published, are astounding, but perhaps to some extent slightly unsurprising, especially when looking at the landscape here which brims with an abundance of lifeforms at every level, even at a time of nationwide drought.

Details will be published on this site as soon as they are available.

A Bamff beaver performs some dam maintenance on an August morning.

Patrick Cook and Alan Law of Stirling University have begun new long term studies on Bamff Wildland that explore how rewilding here impacts biodiversity.

Patrick’s work focusses on invertebrates in areas where conservation grazing is occurring (through the presence of cattle, pigs and eventually ponies). Various insect traps have been installed and a series of moth trappings already revealed over 50 species in the wildland fields.

Meanwhile, Alan Law is exploring the range of various species of flora and fauna between ponds with and without beavers.

A Lempke’s Gold Spot moth, from one of Patrick Cook’s moth trappings, July 2022.


After a long delay in receiving their mandatory ear-tags, the four very happy Tamworth pigs are finally released from the enclosure where they have been living – allowing them to roam around much of the wildland area – snouting and rootling the ground for future biodiversity gains.

Some parts of the wildland currently remain temporarily shut whilst certain problematic bottlenecks are dealt with.

Wildland Cattle Arrive

A herd of 20 free roaming cattle arrived at Bamff Wildland. Together with the tamworth pigs (and eventual forthcoming ponies) they will be free to roam around the Wildland area providing specific patterns of grazing and displacement that will benefit the proliferation of numerous plant species. The first breed to arrive are Aberdeen Angus Cross, but are to be replaced with Luing Cross cattle in a few months.

Aberdeen Angus Cross cattle in Lady’s Well field.