The earliest record of donkeys working on beaches in the UK dates back to 1780. They were used because of their quiet disposition and gentle nature and were ridden side saddle.
A brief history of donkeys in Britain
Jane Austen, the famous authoress of novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma, was given a donkey carriage by her brother Edward Knight in the 1800s. Jane and her sister Cassandra who lived in the beautiful village of Chawton travelled into Alton, their nearby town, by donkey and carriage to go shopping and visit friends.
Carisbrooke Castle is situated on a hill near Newport, in the middle of the Isle of Wight.
Around 1000 AD the Anglo Saxons built a wall around the hill to defend themselves against Viking raids. After the Norman invasion of England in 1066, the new Lord of the Isle of Wight, William Fitz Osbern, chose to build a castle within the existing defences.
The Village of Clovelly in North Devon is famous for its donkeys, cobbled streets and fishing harbour. The high street is so narrow and steep motor vehicles cannot even pass through it today.
For hundreds of years, the donkey played an important role in Cornish life.
Some of their principal uses were gathering seaweed from the beaches, carrying loads and people to market every week, and even carrying the pasties from the home-ovens down to the men at Holmans' Foundry in the 1800s. This company was internationally famous for the manufacture of compressed-air equipment of all types and gave Cornish mining another 40 years of life.
'Cornish Years' by Anne Treneer and www.bbc.co.uk/cornwall.