Horse riding in Cumbria
A mountain pass in the Lakes
Horse riding in the Lake District
Views over the mountains
Coniston Water
Accommodation on the trail
A double room in one og the accommodations

Join this 5-day trail over the Lake District, for fit and competent riders who have experience riding in open ground. A true adventure over the mountains rediscovering the ancient routes of the Lakes. Pass by Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage: two of Wordsworth's former homes where riders can appreciate the magnificent views that inspired the most famous of the Lake poets. Enjoy fresh, hot, home-cooked food at one of the many cosy inns along the trail before resting up for the night in a traditional pub or guesthouse.

Riders will enjoy a comprehensive tour of the Lakes; this trail offers spectacular views of Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain, and Lake Windermere, England's largest natural lake. Expect reasonably long days in the saddle crossing mountain passes and fords, enjoying canters through dense forests as well as on open ground. Your hosts for this trail have lived in the area for many generations and as such have an intimate knowledge of the countryside and surroundings.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from WJ of Newport on 18/06/2019

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday
Delightful! Spectacular scenery, lovely horses, and very comfortable accommodations with excellent meals. The horses are very well taken care of, our guide was excellent, and against all odds (an unexpected traffic jam), Mike managed to get me to my train on time!
Unicorn Trails sales staff
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Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
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Additional Comments
Our guide could not have been more helpful; always cheerful and added to the fun of the ride.
Horses and Tack
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Additional Comments
The horses were in great condition for a pretty demanding five day ride with some steep climbs; always sure-footed and very calm on the roads where there was car traffic.
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Weather     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
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What could we do to improve this ride?
Can’t think of anything - everything was very well planned and managed.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Much of the riding was very leisurely but there was quite a bit of climbing on a few days. Some of the riding was on roads, generally very quiet with few cars.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
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May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
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Any other comments:

Unicorn comments:

We recommend arriving in the Lake District one day prior to the start of the trail. Half-board accommodation can be booked in a local hotel the night before for an additional cost of £125 (2019 price) please enquire with your travel advisor.

Day 1
You will set out from the centre at 10am after a introduction to everyone and the horses. You will then set out over Canny Hill, a local bridleway heading to Newby Bridge where you cross the main road through to the Simpson ground plantation where there are some fantastic canters! The route continues over Cartmel fells to the Masons Arms for lunch, which looks over the Winster Valley and is a famous inn with fantastic ales. The trail then heads up the Winster Valley through fields and tracks (more fantastic canters!) to Ings. This is where you will stay overnight at the Hill Bed and Breakfast with dinner at the Water Mill another famous pub for food and beer!

Day 2 
You will set off from Ings over the fell to the historic village of Kentmere. At the end of the valley is Kentmere Hall, a stunning 14th century, tunnel-vaulted pele tower with five-foot thick walls. The turrets, one of the original windows and the spiral staircase remain. You will then head up to Garburn pass, a steep ancient byway that drops dramatically into trout beck valley. The lunch stop will be at the Mortal Man Inn, originally a small ale house which has now developed into a residential pub. After lunch riders set out over Robin Lane to Jenkins Crag, a famous view point overlooking Windermere Lake. Finally you will drop into Ambleside and head to Rydal on the old Coffin Route to Grasmere. This route takes you past Rydal Mount, Wordsworths final house, then coming out at Dove Cottage, Wordsworths earlier house, where he lived with his sister. Riders will spent the night in Grasmere.

Day 3
You set off from Grasmere round the back of Grasmere Lake over Red Bank, via a bridleway. This leads us to Elterwater, the heart of the Great Langdale Valley. The trail heads over another byway into Little Langdale stopping for lunch at the Three Shires Inn. After lunch, you set off across a ford over the river Brathay following the old quarry roads through to Hodge Close, a huge slate quarry in the middle of the Lakes.

Day 4
This is a scenic ride over Walna Scar, a 2000 ft pass on an ancient byway, that once was the main connection between Dunnerdale and Coniston. Fantastic views of Scafell Pike and Bowfell can be seen at the summit, and to the west on a clear day you can get a stunning panoramic view of the Isle of Man and even Scotland! We then drop into Dunnerdale for lunch at the‘Newfield Inn’ at Seathwaite. From the pub we climb out on another ancient road that brings us via ‘Broughton Mills’ and ‘Broughton Moor Forest’. After the steady climb over Walna Scar, the forest offers a chance to burn off your lunch with a few brisk canters! We then stay overnight at Torver at the Wilsons Arms.

Day 5
Out of Tover the trail takes the old coffin road into the Woodland Valley and heads out over Lowick Common. We stop over for lunch at a local pub - the Royal Oak at Spark Bridge - where the food is great and the hospitality is excellent. The afternoon is usually spent with a steady return to the equestrian centre, arriving back at aropund 4.30pm.

Extreme Itinerary (advanced riders only) 7th - 11th June 2020

Day 1
We set off from the centre for an early start venturing along the bottom for the valley heading north where we get our first taste of a canter in the open countryside. The picnic lunch stop is based next to Lowick church still serving the local farming community. After this picnic lunch we head onto Lowick common and dropping into woodland fell on the old coffin road. This original old road is the road linking the two churches based at woodland fell and Torver. This old road takes us to the base of our first true climb of the day over Walna Scar a 2000ft pass. This route takes us to the top of the mountain giving amazing views across into Scarfell pike and down over Coniston water. We then ride down onto the opposite side of the pass into Seathwaite for our evening stop over meeting at the Newfield Inn. 

Day 2
After a hearty breakfast and good rest, we set off crossing the river Duddon. This river was made famous by Wordsworth who claimed it as one of his favourite rivers in the Lakes. We travel up the valley following the river up to Wallowbarrow crag where we travel under this famous climbing crag coming out at the top of Hardknott Pass. This is a small Roman road that is one of the steepest in the lakes. It is renowned as a tough pass to drive over. On Hardknott Pass there is a Roman Fort half way down This remote and dramatically-sited fort was founded under Hadrian's rule in the 2nd century. Well-marked remains include the headquarters building, commandant's house and bath house. The road which Hardknott guarded can be traced for some distance as an earthwork through the centre of the Lakes by going from the Port of Ravenglass to Penrith via Ambleside and High Street.  At the base of the pass we join a bridleway that follows the side of the river popping out for lunch at the Old Pack Inn. After lunch we re-join the bridleway where we can get in a few good canters through the trees. We then ford the river and come out at Boot this is the Terminus of the Ravenglass to Eskdale railway. The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is one of the oldest and longest narrow gauge railways in England, known affectionately as La’al Ratty meaning “little railway“ in olde Cumbrian dialect.  We go through the village and up onto Burn Moore and passed Burn Moore tarn dropping into Wasdale which gives a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. We follow the bridleway to Wasdale Head and Burnthwaite farm which lies underneath Great Gable. Wasdale is renowned for its dramatic features and steep cliffs circling the water. These harsh features give a very dramatic and ethereal feel to the area. 

Day 3
The morning starts with a steep climb out of the valley over Sty Head Pass. This route weaves up the steep track to the top of the pass. This section is a true test of your horsemanship as you and your horse take on the challenging terrain and steep climbs. Once at the top we stop for a breather and take in the view of the valley below and Great Gable. After this we skirt along the edge of Sty Head tarn and drop down into Seathwaite, known as the wettest place in England so get the waterproofs out! We then make our way along the valley floor to the Langstrath Inn for a well-deserved lunch break. After lunch we make our way up Langstrath valley (as featured in the closing scene of Countryfile!). As we pick our way through the valley you will recognise it represents its name well, Langstrath meaning Long Valley. The afternoon consists of another high pass, Stake Pass. This pass zig zags up the steep valley side and travels over the tops to drop down into Langdale. This is another tricky path down into the valley which may involve leading the horses to tackle the challenging terrain. We then have a last stretch where we fit in a few more canters to the Millbeck Farm which is our next stopover. 

Day 4
The morning is an easy start over a surfaced bridleway along the valley floor and climbs out passed Bays Brown farm over the shoulder of the fell to Little Langdale. This is where we stop for an early lunch. The afternoon is full of history and excitement with our first stop fording the river to visit a slate quarry known as the Cathedral. We have opportunity here to walk through the mountain through a dark mysterious tunnel reveal a dramatic view of the slate mine. We will then return to the horses and remount, following the river out over tops to Tilberthwaite. This holds a lot of history for the Myers family as the slate mines were ran by “Rolly” Myers and the family grew up at Tilberthwaite an iconic spinning gallery house dating back to the 1500’s .  We continue our journey of the quarry’s by travelling passed Hodge Close Quarry which was heavily mined. When you look down into the quarry they say the water is dark and  deep many a young country lad have lost their lives diving from its dizzy heights (it now has barriers to prevent this activity). Following the old road we look across to Tilberthwaite valley which was Beatrix Potter’s favourite farm where she managed  her Herdwick sheep and black poll cows.  Mike Myer’s mother would talk about Beatrix and how she chatted to thee famous lady when they lived at Tibblethwaite house. The last view point of the day is Tarn Hows which is an iconic beauty spot and was donated to the National Trust by Beatrix Potter herself. We drop down through the woods to Coniston lake and on into Coniston for our stop over. 

Day 5
We set off from Coniston into Grizedale forest. These surfaced tracks give plenty of opportunity for some good canters. We climb up onto Parkermoor which gives a fantastic view over Coniston Water. We then skirt back into Grizedale Forest and stop off at the Visitors Centre for Lunch. After lunch there are some more easy tracks through Grizedale forest out to Rusland Valley. This brings us back to familiar countryside with easy going bridleways looping back to the centre. 

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

There is a wide range of horses to choose from at the riding centre from 15hh to 16.2hh and from demanding and challenging to schoolmasters. Horses used for the trail are all in excellent condition and are lively but obedient as well as being well-schooled. Breeds used for the trail are mainly sure-footed cobs but other breeds such as Connemara and Irish Sport Horses are sometimes used. English tack is used exclusively at this centre.

Riders should be prepared to cover between 12-18 miles per day on this trail. A lunch break of an hour and a half is taken at a pub. The general pace is mostly walking and trotting and cantering is in short bursts where the terrain allows. The ride takes in a variety of scenery and terrain such as upland fells and lowland grassland, lakeland villages and forestry roads. There is typically one guide per four riders.

Rider requirements

Riders must be confident, competent, fit and energetic. They must be in control in walk, trot and canter in open spaces and happy riding on some steep terrain.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation is in comfortable guesthouses and traditional inns along the trail with double and twin rooms. Rooms are either en-suite with shower, toilet and sink or a shared bathroom depending on availability; towels are provided. The rooms also come with a TV, complimentary tea and coffee, kettle and hair dryer.

Meals along the trail are in traditional Lakeland pubs using good quality ingredients. Riders will be able to pick from a varied menu, generally using locally-sourced products such as local meat and fresh fish and game. There are also vegetarian options.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

General information:

European Union nationals do not require a visa for the UK. In addition a visa is not required for stays of up to six months in the United Kingdom for nationals of many countries.

Climate Summary

Cumbria is located in North West England and has a temperate maritime climate with typically warm rather than hot summers and cool to cold winters. Cumbria rarely experiences very extreme weather so can be visited throughout the year. On average the hottest month is July and the coldest is January. Rainfall on average falls fairly evenly throughout the year with April being the driest month on average and November to January the wettest.

The weather is unpredictable as with the rest of the UK and it is possible to see elements of all four seasons in one day. The region may experience some snowfall in the winter, it is advisable for visitors to check the weather forecast before they arrive in Cumbria to get a better idea of the sort of clothing they will need during their trip. Bringing hooded waterproof coats and hats will ensure visitors are prepared for any spells of wind and rain the region may experience.

Climate Chart


There are no special vaccinations required for travel to the UK. Ask your doctor for specific information.


England use 3 pin plugs, 240V, 50Hz. You will need to bring adaptors.

Film and Camera Equipment

Riders will be able to charge batteries at evening accommodation.

Packing List

•Hard hats are compulsory but if you do not have one they are available to borrow.
• Jodhpurs or similar.
• Riding boots or strong boots with a low heel
• Chaps
• T-shirts
• Warm jumper
• Waterproof coat
• Riding gloves are advisable.
• Casual clothes for the evening.
• Camera

Saddlebags are provided to carry personal belonings


Five riding day programme: 5 days/4 night/5 days riding

Departure Dates

2020: Apr 26; May 17; Jun 7*; Sept 6
(*Extreme Itinerary, for advanced riders only, see 'sample itinerary' for more details)

No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.

Single supplement available from £25, payable on site

No of   
Riding days Product item description £
2020 - 5 days5d/4n5double pp1,199
No of   
Riding days Product item description
2020 - 5 days5d/4n5double pp1,359
No of   
Riding days Product item description $
2020 - 5 days5d/4n5double pp1,545
No of   
Riding days Product item description SEK
2020 - 5 days5d/4n5double pp14,909
Recommended Reading

- A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells by Alfred Wainwright which remains the most popular guide to the Lake District. The books are renowned for their depth, detail and unique style. - The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks is a memoir of sheep farming in the Lake District and a close look at a way of life that still exists in large parts of the region


lThe Lake District is home to a great variety of wildlife, due to its range of varied topography, lakes and forests. Riders are likely to encounter red squirrels (the Lake District is home to the largest population in England) as well as a huge range of bird species such as red kites, buzzards, peregrines and England’s only nesting pair of golden eagles.

Other Country Information

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants. Together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union.

The capital of the United Kingdom and its largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million, the fourth-largest in Europe and second-largest in the European Union. Other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the conurbations centred on Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952.

England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain (which lies in the North Atlantic) in its centre and south; and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. England's terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north (for example, the mountainous Lake District, and the Pennines) and in the southwest (for example, Dartmoor and the Cotswolds). England has a temperate maritime climate: it is mild with temperatures not much lower than 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and not much higher than 32 °C (90 °F) in summer. The weather is damp relatively frequently and is changeable. The coldest months are January and February, the latter particularly on the English coast, while July is normally the warmest month. Months with mild to warm weather are May, June, September and October. Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year.

Scotland's only land border is with England, which runs for 60 miles (97 km) in a north-easterly direction from the Solway Firth in the west to the North Sea on the east coast. Scotland accounts for just under a third of the total area of the UK, covering 78,772 square kilometres (30,410 sq mi) and including nearly eight hundred islands, predominantly west and north of the mainland; notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. Scotland is the most mountainous country in the UK. The more rugged Highland region contains the majority of Scotland's mountainous land, including Ben Nevis which at 1,343 metres (4,406 ft) is the highest point in the British Isles. The climate of Scotland is temperate and very changeable, but rarely extreme. Scotland is warmed by the North Atlantic Drift and given the northerly location of the country, experiences much milder conditions than areas on similar latitudes, such as Labrador in Canada - where icebergs are a common feature in winter.

Wales accounts for less than a tenth of the total area of the UK, covering 20,779 square kilometres (8,020 sq mi). Wales is mostly mountainous, though South Wales is less mountainous than North and mid Wales. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia and include Snowdon which, at 1,085 metres (3,560 ft), is the highest peak in Wales. Wales has a maritime climate, the predominant winds being south-westerly and westerly, blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean. This means that the weather in Wales is in general mild, cloudy, wet and windy. The country's wide geographic variations cause localised differences in amounts of sunshine, rainfall and temperature. Rainfall in Wales varies widely, with the highest average annual totals in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, and the lowest near the coast and in the east, close to the English border.

In July 2007, England is introducing a smoking ban in pubs and other public places, following on from the success of the scheme in Ireland. Be aware that there may be large fines for smoking in banned areas.

The UK is on GMT time. Although most weights and measures are now metric (celsius, litres and kg) some imperial measures remain and distances are indicated in miles.

The international dialling code is +44.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
The equestrian centre
Taxi transfers from Grange Over Sands or Oxenholme train station available to arrange upon request (payable on site; Oxenholme: £40-£50 one way, Grange Over Sands: £22 one way). 1h30m direct train journey from Manchester Airport to Oxenholme
Flight Guide:
London to Manchester from £53
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