A group of 35 gypsy cobs, dumped on community land in the Vale of Glamorgan have “trashed” the site, according to the charity The Woodland Trust, which owns the land.
Just before Christmas the gates at Monks Wood, near Wick, were broken and the horses were abandoned.
Villagers had planted trees in memory of loved ones on the land.
Staff from the Woodland Trust delivered hay to the site, but the hungry animals stripped the trees of bark and ate much of the grass.
Despite appeals in local media, their owner did not come forward – and it was thought that the horses might have to be destroyed as there were insufficient places available at animal sanctuaries.
The animals were eventually removed at the weekend (7 January), but the charity says this has resulted in further damage to the site.
Woodland Trust spokesman Rory Francis said: “We had a number of offers from members of the public to take some of these horses but in fact at half-past-five on Saturday morning, they were all moved.
“More damage was caused to the side in doing that.”
The charity has asked the police to investigate.
Lee Hackett of the British Horse Society said “fly grazing” was a growing problem.
“There are many hundreds of these horses illegally abandoned on other people’s land in south Wales,” he added.
“This is a real animal welfare problem and puts an unfair burden on landowners who are faced with the unenviable problem of what to do with them.”