Best Horse Riding Trails in the UK
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There’s no better way to explore the United Kingdom than on horseback. From Scotland to England, there are plenty of bridle paths that are waiting for you to ride across the British countryside.
A UK trail riding holiday adds more fun to your exploration! With the guidance of expert riders, different equestrian activities and delicious meals to recharge your batteries, it’s a unique experience you’ll surely enjoy like no other.
Check out which are the best trails in Great Britain for your next horse-riding adventure!
The first National Trail in the UK, Pennine Bridleway is a historical road in Northern England with over 200 miles (330 km) of old drovers’ roads, tracks, quiet roads and the new bridle path. Considered the rugged backbone of England, it connects Middle Top in Derbyshire, Peak District, South Pennines, Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria.
Ride along the Mary Towneley loop, which is part of this trail, where you can see the industrial tradition of the South Pennine. Or get lost in Yorkshire Dales National Park and its 52 miles (84 km) of scenic routes among nature.
Being a well-marked bridleway, the Pennine is a good option for a nice easy stroll, but you also have plenty of options to increase the challenge in the more complex hills.
>>Don’t have too much time for such a long trail? Learn which are the best destinations for a weekend riding holiday in the UK!
Brecon Beacons Trails
This Welsh National Park has several trails any horse rider will love. Being home to two of the highest peaks in the UK, it offers beautiful scenery to ride in the green valleys and rolling hills of Pen y Fan and Fan Brycheiniog.
There’s a total of 6 bridleways in the park:
- Radnor Forest Ride – Remote trail with jaw-dropping views. It starts at the Visitors Center and travels 70 miles (112 km) along the Welsh countryside.
- Three Rivers Ride – It travels along the western side of the mountains and skirts Llangose Lake before crossing the River Usk.
- Black Mountains Riding Loops – Exciting four loops ideal for a day trip. If you want, you could also do all four at once but try to find a place to spend the night or make sure your horse riding holiday offers accommodation along the way.
- Furlong Route Ride – Three loops that go across Blaenavon World Heritage Site. A great opportunity to learn history and get to explore the woodland and forests of Wales.
- Epynt Way – Circular bridleway that travels near the Sennybridge Training Area. It covers 55 miles (88 km) of varied mountain terrain.
- Crychan Forest – Amazing forest with waymarked routes that take you on a trail of up to 25 miles (40 km) depending on which access you use.
Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast
This is an amazing trail that runs over 13 miles (22 km). Once an important harbor for the surrounding mines, the Atlantic Coast at Portreath is where this historical trail starts and travels all the way until Devoran.
The area has a considerable concentration of historic mine buildings; along the way, you’ll find signs and boards explaining the mining tradition of this region. Many of these buildings have been conserved and are now a wonderful backdrop for riders who want to relive the golden mining times galloping next to the original railways used to transport the ore.
This trail is also suitable for walking or cycling in case you want a little break from the saddle.
Image credit: Liberty Trails
The Thames Valley is home to some of the most beautiful wooded views. The Ridgeway Trail follows a route of 87 miles (139 km) that goes from Overton Hill to Ivinghoe Beacon. It has been used for over 5,000 years by many different people, travelers, farmers, soldiers, and now, horse riders!
Considered Britain’s oldest road, it consists of many different terrains from open grassland to cooling towers and woodland. It is surrounded by fascinating prehistoric sites, especially the stretch from Ashbury to Letcombe Bassett which has plenty of ancient views over the Thames Valley.
>>Read more about Britain’s equestrian tradition in our guide to the best horse riding destinations in the UK.
South Downs Way
In the South Downs National Park, this beautiful trail of 100 miles (160 km) travels along grassy tracks on rolling downland. The scenery includes the impressive white cliffs of Eastbourne, the historic Winchester hill and some of England’s finest countryside with plenty of wildlife and picturesque villages.
The bridleways are perfectly marked and it normally takes about 2 to 3 days to complete, which makes it ideal for a weekend horse riding holiday in England. Some parts of the trail could be challenging, but the ride is totally worth to see the spectacular views from the top of the hill. If you bring your horse, make sure it’s fit enough to endure the trip.
An easier ride of 50 miles (80 km), Peddars Way is an old Roman footpath that crosses Norfolk and takes you through low cliffs and sandy beaches. The name comes from the Latin “pedester”, which means “on foot”, but nowadays it’s a quite popular road for horse riding as well.
An excellent option for beginner riders who want to experience the off-road adrenaline, this trail will take you, without much hassle, through the beautiful moorlands of the Brecks and allow you to see peculiar fauna such as the golden pheasant. Want a level up the challenge? Peddars Way has alternatives for full-day excursions to suit the more experienced riders who want to follow the hoof prints of the ancient Romans.
Scotland Coast to Coast
What rider wouldn’t want to explore the Scottish Highlands on horseback? Well, this route takes you coast to coast from Brora on the East Coast to Loch Inver on the West. It’s quite a long and challenging seven-day ride, which makes it the perfect trail for an advanced horse riding holiday in the UK.
You can expect difficult treks along the rugged characteristic landscape of Scotland, but there are a few stretches for exhilarating gallops across secluded beaches; you can even spot one or two seals in the shallows! And since you’re in Scotland, you can unwind from the long ride with a sip of Scotch whisky.
Want to explore beyond the UK? Go on a trail riding holiday in Ireland and be amazed by its magical landscapes!