Wales

Volunteers feed up to 200 Gelligaer wild horses a day

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe horses are fed haylage by a group of volunteers called HungryHerds

Wild horses braving icy conditions can thank a team of volunteers for keeping them going through the harsh weather.

HungryHerds spend more than £4,000 per winter so the animals on Gelligaer Common, Caerphilly, can have food.

Tracey Jones said the group has had sleepless nights as temperatures have plummeted.

Caerphilly council said it sometimes removed horses "whose welfare is compromised".

The band of volunteers drive around the common in a truck three times a week, scouring the land for up to 200 horses a day to feed.

Once they spot a herd on the landscape, they pull over to begin unloading haylage (a replacement for hay), and check on the horses' health - referring those that are ill to the local rescue group.

Image caption One of HungryHerds' happy customers

The group started in 2017, with the members paying £10 a month to begin with.

Ms Jones said: "I absolutely love it. I'm obsessed with checking the weather throughout the winter.

"There are sad days, because there's a lot of horses getting knocked over by cars and some are in a terrible condition.

"We'd love to do more, but we haven't got the volunteers."

Image caption The horses are looked after during the harsh winter conditions

But the group said they have been astounded by people's generosity.

Ms Jones said donors include a local taxi driver, who regularly pulled over and gave the volunteers £20.

She added: "We couldn't do it without the people helping us."

Caerphilly council said that it had put animal warning signs on junctions on the common and also highlighted the animals presence to the public via its "communications channels".

They said it was difficult to prove ownership of the animals and a large number of the horses on commons are apparently ownerless.

The spokesperson added: "We have, on occasion, worked with members of the National Equine Welfare Council to remove horses whose welfare is compromised."

More on this story