Dartmoor's much-loved Miniature Pony Centre is shutting its doors for good.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the centre said they almost shut their doors in 2019 but managed to stay open by "the skin of its teeth" by investing time, money and effort into improving the business.
But as the cost-of-living crisis continues to grip the country, the centre says it has been left with no choice other than to close forever.
The centre, which is located near Moretonhampstead, made the announcement yesterday (25 January).
It first opened to the public in 1986 and was founded by Tony and Jane Dennis.
In a full statement, the general manager wrote: "By the end of 2022, the nation went into a cost-of-living crisis. Unfortunately, this was noticeable during our Christmas festival season when our ticket sales were highly affected, and our takings were down.
"With 2023 looking no better, costs rising at an alarming rate and days out with the family becoming a luxury that people cannot afford, it is with great sorrow that we have no choice but to shut our doors forever.
"Our main priority has always been that the animals are happy and healthy. We will ensure that all the animals go to the best, most loving homes.
"We have treasured welcoming our customers into the centre for many years.
"We have loved seeing all those cherished moments between you and our beautiful animals.
"So we would like to give you and your family one last chance to come and say goodbye this February half term.
"We will open for one special week from Saturday 11 to Sunday 18 February. Our most popular activities will be running, and we would love to see as many of you as possible."
The general manager went on to explain that Wormhill farm, where the centre is based, is much more than a business, but a family too.
"The staff and I have been deeply affected by this devastating decision. So many of our team have worked alongside our gorgeous ponies and donkeys for years, and we have created a safe haven for them and our customers.
"I am incredibly proud of our business and its reputation; we couldn't have done it without you. We hope to see you all in the February half-term for a final goodbye."
Replying to the post on social media, one person wrote: "So very sad to hear this. I have many happy memories of days out here myself and of recent years with our son.
"Thank you for creating memories that last a lifetime. The cost of living crisis is sad that hard-working, fabulous people cannot continue their dreams."
Another said: "I’m really sad to hear this. We don’t live nearby but have visited every holiday with our children (now 18 and 21)."
A third wrote: "Oh my I’m so sad to hear this it’s our favourite place to visit and the best day out. Gutted for you all but I understand the decision.
"We will be up for our last visit in February. Thank you for all our wonderful memories there."
The Miniature Pony Centre will open for a final time during the February half-term between 11 to 18 February.
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