The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) is selling its founding centre at Cherry Tree Farm, near Lingfield in Surrey, to fund plans for expansion in the south of England.

Selling the 17th century farmhouse, cottages and 43 acres that make up the estate will allow the ILPH to purchase a larger, more suitable site when it comes on the market.

Horses and ponies currently living at Cherry Tree will be rehomed at other ILPH centres, while the staff will be offered alternative positions.

The sale is both a happy and a sad occasion for the organisation. Cherry Tree farm was opened in 1948 and holds a special place in many people’s hearts.

“We are sad to take this decision as Cherry Tree Farm was our founding recovery and rehabilitation centre, but the property is too small and decentralised to be developed,” says chief executive John Smales.

“Thanks to our excellent facilities elsewhere, all the horses and ponies can be accommodated at our other centres. Our first concern is equine welfare.”