A WALK along a remote part of Canvey beach took a sad twist when a family came across a pony washed up on the sand.

It was dusk when the Campey family, of Melcombe Road, Benfleet, were walking their dog, Rupert, on the beach on New Year’s Eve and they saw a large hump in the distance near the Lobster Smack pub.

At first, mum Geraldine, 45, thought it was a horse, then when they got closer she and her husband John, 45, and their sons Jacob, 15, and Isaac, ten, came to the conclusion it was a cow.

However after taking a closer look at the hooves, it is clear the animal is in fact a pony.

“It was quite sad,” she said.

“We wondered where it had come from and spoke to a fisherman about it. He thought as there has been a lot of flooding lately it may have travelled downstream from somewhere and washed up on the beach.

“The boys were quite shocked, but they were quite intrigued as they’ve never seen an animal quite that close before.”

Mrs Campey said that area of the beach is “quite bleak” and not a place where many walkers go so it was “quite creepy” when they made their grim discovery.

She added: “You always hope to see something interesting washed up on the beach, but not a dead pony.”

Sue Allery, manager of the Pitsea-based Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society, said: “It’s possible it came off the marshes where horses graze illegally.

“They can fall into the creek and wash down the estuary. That’s the only possibility I would have thought, they have only got to go up to the top and fall over the wall and they drown.”

A Thames Coastguard spokeswoman said it had not received any reports about the animal, but it would be Castle Point Council’s responsibility to remove it.