“Horses lend us the wings we lack” – this quote is never more true than when getting out on horseback on a long Summer day. Make sure your steed is hydrated, groomed, saddled and bridled, and get set to enjoy one of these super-scenic rides in the UK while the sun is still shining!
Just remember, if you plan to be out all day, ensure that you take plenty of water to keep you and you both hydrated, and pack some tasty treats to stop your horse burning out.
1) Crychan Forest, Brecon Beacons, Wales
The Brecon Beacons National Park is the perfect riding destination, boasting over 600 miles of bridle paths and tracks. The spectacular scenery and wealth of wildlife create some of the best riding in Europe, a world away from the bustle of urban life. The only delays here are for leisurely pub lunches while your trusty steed grazes outside. Crychan Forest is beautifully situated at the gateway to the Cambrian Mountains, on the border of the park and has four car parks with large bays for horse boxes.
This well-marked, historical trail has the benefit of being mostly off-road and offers a variety of riding, from gentle rolling landscape through to more challenging hills. Along the backbone of England – which connects the Peak District, South Pennines, Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria – there’s ample opportunity to experience some of the finest upland riding on the UK’s first National Trail. Designed especially for horse riders, mountain bikers and walkers, there’s 200 miles of fantastic riding to be enjoyed.
Revel in the dramatic beauty of the Scottish Highlands and follow this ancient trail high into the hills above Loch Brora. The ride offers stunning views and a chance to spot red deer and rare birds of prey. Let your pony have a paddle in the loch or canter along the banks before exploring heathered moors and woodlandpathways.
The wild Dartmoor landscape is unforgettable. Ride out on the open moor to really stretch your horse’s legs, or follow woodland trails and bridleways for a gentle trot. The High Moor is a must for experienced riders, as long as you plan your route around the blanket bog. For less experienced riders, the South-East of Dartmoor boasts a number of easier routes on undulating moorland. Your horse will receive as warm a welcome as you at many of the pubs along the way in Dartmoor. You’ll find plenty of establishments providing water and paddocks or tie rails, often with a handy picnic spot for yourself nearby.
Part of the stunning North York Moors National Park, the beaches at Marske, Redcar and Saltburn are fantastic for riding. A nice change of pace from your usual inland hack, there’s real joy in a gallop in the salty breeze. Just remember to check the tide times before you hit the sands!
6) The New Forest, Hampshire:
Horse riding in the New Forest is the best way to experience the natural beauty of the National Park. With over 3,000 New Forest Ponies roaming the beautiful and varying landscapes, The New Forest is the ideal backdrop for a relaxing ride. You can enjoy a hack across a plethora of terrains within the forest from rolling heathlands and stunning coastlines to enchanted woodlands. Stay alert to make sure you spot the incredible wildlife.