Horse ears, climbing the hill
Happy rider navigating

Try this UK riding weekend break, get away from it all and join Myfanwy for 2 or 3 days in the saddle. On well-schooled cobs and cob-crosses, these riding breaks provide 2 or 3-days of exciting, fun riding with stunning breath-taking views, opportunities for long canters on tracks and paths between heather and fern, on open moorland and along forest tracks. Shorter rides are available for novice riders with a separte guide. On most of these rides you will see herds of “wild” Welsh Mountain ponies in their natural environment. The groups are small accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Routes each day are flexible with lots of choices due to the many paths, bridlepaths and tracks so distances can be altered to suit abilities if required. This is a centre-based ride using comfortable B&Bs for accommodation and eating in local inns for dinner. If you cannot manage a weekend, don't panic! - the Short Break is also available as a mid-week break subject to availability.

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 WD of London on 13/10/2019

Ride Summary
It was amazing!
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments

Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments

Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
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
Please give more details to explain your response:

What could we do to improve this ride?

How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
4
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Some very steep downhills were difficult, otherwise ride instructors were very willing to go at my pace and change the route if I needed it.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:
Thank you so much!!! What a trip of my lifetime.
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Sample Itinerary:

Upon arrival you will be welcomed at the train station by Myfanwy, your host and transferred to a local village inn. Over dinner you will meet your fellow riders and talk about the programme for the weekend ahead.

Each day is different, and as itineraries can be varied to suit rider experience, a variety of rides can be offered which can be taken over the duration of the break.

Sample day ride itineraries:

Day Ride 1:  The Allt and Llangorse Hill

From the stables, the ride passes through the village of Llanfihangel Talyllyn travelling increasingly narrow roads then along bridlepaths as the climb begins towards the Allt, a high ridge rising to 393m (1290ft) separating the Usk valley from Llangorse Lake, the largest natural lake in southern Wales.

Through the woods the ride passes the ruin of the Paragon Tower, built as a circular folly or hunting lodge. This round Victorian building has four rooms, each of which has a fireplace linking into the central chimney. It is said that the Ladies of local estates would wait in the tower whilst the Lords were out hunting, and the tower’s location provided a fantastic view of the land and the hunting below.

Continuing to climb up to the summit, the ride joins a Roman road, with amazing 360o views of the Usk Valley, Llangorse Lake and the Black Mountains. A picnic is taken at the top before descending along the eastern flank, following the Roman road and passing the ruins of the 13th century Blaenllynfi Castle.

Ascending bridlepaths onto the southern end of Llangorse Hill, on the western edge of the Black Mountains, once on the plateau there are many opportunities for long canters on tracks through the bracken and heather with more stunning views against a backdrop of the highest peaks of the Brecon Beacons. Finally, there is the steep descent down Cockett Hill and the return to the stables.

Day Ride 2:  Cwmdu and Llangorse Hill

From the stables, the ride passes through Llangorse village and follows lanes to the head of Cwm Sorgwm. The ride takes a bridlepath along the bottom of Mynydd Llangorse into Treholford Wood, then climbing up the western slope of Mynydd Llangorse to a height of 518m (1,700ft) and the open moorland plateau, where there are many opportunities for lovely canters before descending into the Cwmdu Valley for lunch.

On the return to the stables, there are a variety of routes which can be taken either at a steady pace to admire the upland scenery, or with more opportunities for canters and amazing views of the mountains and Llangorse Lake, before the final descent back to the stables.

Day Ride 3: Brechfa Common and Llaneglwys Forest

This is a ride of two distinct parts, crossing undulating open moorland with grassy paths and numerous opportunities for canters, followed by the stillness of the forest with paths and mossy tracks.

The horses are boxed to Llangoed Farm in the valley of the River Wye, from where the ride winds up the valley side through Llangoed Wood to the open moorland of Brechfa Common, where there are numerous paths to follow, passing small herds of Welsh Mountain ponies. Cantering along, the ride enters Llaneglwys Forest where a picnic lunch is taken with the horses tied up amongst the tress.

After lunch, the ride follows pretty forest paths again with opportunities for canters, until a hill gate is reached which takes the ride once again onto open moorland this time across Llandefalle Hill.  With more cantering the ride reaches the Nature Reserve at Brechfa Pool, before descending back to Llangoed Farm.

Day Ride 4:  Cefn Llwydallt and Brycheiniog Forest

This ride again starts from Llangoed Farm and once on Brechfa Common, turns north to Llanerch-coedlan, once the site of a Victorian spa well. Bridle paths lead onto Cefn Llwydallt – the ridge of the grey hillside. Good going on the open moor rising to 415m (1360ft) offers opportunities for long canters before heading towards Lower Chapel village, passing through farms and hedge-lined fields then into Brycheiniog Forest and along forest tracks.

Heading out of the forest, the route crosses more open moorland with unspoilt views before passing through the hamlet of Ponde, returning via the edge of Brechfa Common to Llangoed Farm.

This itinerary is centre-based with riding out every day. However, itineraries can be varied to suit rider experience, a variety of rides can be offered which can be taken over the duration of the break.

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

The mounts are good, forward going cobs and cob crosses ranging from 14.2hh to 16hh. These horses are renowned for their strength, natural sense of balance and toughness that is essential for riding over this rough terrain - they are in fact made for the job.


Rider requirements

These full day-long rides have been developed for the intermediate and experienced riders and those who are a little bit rusty and would like to spend more time in the saddle, with approximately 5 hours riding each day. You may be asked to groom and tack up your own horse and be shown how on the first day if you are unsure.

The rides are exhilarating and challenging sometimes covering over 20 miles a day. The pace can be moderate to fast with some steep scrambles, sudden descents and long canters. Slower rides with easier routes are available for novice riders. Should you be in any doubt about your riding ability, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. With a herd of 20 horses to choose from Myfanwy will always be able to provide the ideal mount for you.
There is a lower age limit of 12 on this ride, if however your child was born in the saddle please contact us with details of their experience. There is a weight limit of 14.5 stone on this ride.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 204 lb/93 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

This is a centre-based holiday using comfortable B&Bs for accommodation and eating in local inns for dinner. Lunches are also included in the package. All the selected accommodation offer a choice of breakfasts, including juices, cereals, kedgeree and cooked breakfasts with toast and home-made jams and marmalades.


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

Wales's overall climate is much milder than expected, considering its location, as all of the British Isles are warmed some by the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift. There are exceptions, but normally winters in Wales are damp and mild. Winter low temps central and south infrequently fall below freezing. Summers are usually pleasant and warm with sunny to part-cloudy days. Showers are possible at almost anytime, so come prepared, but its reputation as a constantly rainy and wet destination is very much exaggerated.

Climate Chart

Health

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

Electricity

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

Film and Camera Equipment

Please bring all film and batteries with you. Charging points for digital camera will be available each night. Mobile phone coverage it good overnight but spotty when out riding.

Packing List

Hard hats are essential - but if you do not have one they are available on-site. For your own comfort it is best to be equipped adequately for this ride.
You will need:
• Jodhpurs or similar, jeans are NOT suitable
• Riding boots or strong boots with a low heel.
• Waterproof coat /long stockmans coat.
• Riding gloves are advisable.
• Casual clothes for the evening.

Myfanwy can provide some seat savers but you are more than welcome to bring your own.

Luggage
Please keep luggage to a reasonable amount. It will be transported for you daily by the back up team to your overnight stop. Small saddlebags are provided for your camera, etc.

Programmes

Dates available from April to the end of October upon request.

Departure Dates

2020: Any date from April to end of October upon request.

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2020 - 4 days/3 nights4d/3n3double pp609
2020 - 4 days/3 nights4d/3n3single supplement38
2020 - 3 days/2 nights3d/2n2double pp415
2020 - 3 days/2 nights3d/2n2single supplement20
2020 - 4 days/3 nights with additional night5d/4n3double pp689
2020 - 4 days/3 nights with additional night5d/4n3single supplement50
2020 - 3 days/2 nights with additional night4d/3n2double pp495
2020 - 3 days/2 nights with additional night4d/3n2single supplement38
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2020 - 4 days/3 nights4d/3n3double pp725
2020 - 4 days/3 nights4d/3n3single supplement45
2020 - 3 days/2 nights3d/2n2double pp495
2020 - 3 days/2 nights3d/2n2single supplement24
2020 - 4 days/3 nights with additional night5d/4n3double pp819
2020 - 4 days/3 nights with additional night5d/4n3single supplement60
2020 - 3 days/2 nights with additional night4d/3n2double pp589
2020 - 3 days/2 nights with additional night4d/3n2single supplement45
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2020 - 4 days/3 nights4d/3n3double pp825
2020 - 4 days/3 nights4d/3n3single supplement51
2020 - 3 days/2 nights3d/2n2double pp559
2020 - 3 days/2 nights3d/2n2single supplement26
2020 - 4 days/3 nights with additional night5d/4n3double pp929
2020 - 4 days/3 nights with additional night5d/4n3single supplement68
2020 - 3 days/2 nights with additional night4d/3n2double pp669
2020 - 3 days/2 nights with additional night4d/3n2single supplement51
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2020 - 4 days/3 nights4d/3n3double pp7,605
2020 - 4 days/3 nights4d/3n3single supplement469
2020 - 3 days/2 nights3d/2n2double pp5,175
2020 - 3 days/2 nights3d/2n2single supplement249
2020 - 4 days/3 nights with additional night5d/4n3double pp8,599
2020 - 4 days/3 nights with additional night5d/4n3single supplement625
2020 - 3 days/2 nights with additional night4d/3n2double pp6,169
2020 - 3 days/2 nights with additional night4d/3n2single supplement469
Recommended Reading

For an excellent selection of equestrian travel and adventure books visit www.horsetravelbooks.com (part of the Long Rider’s Guild)


Wildlife

All sorts of birds can be found here, thanks to the diversity of habitats - if you know where to look, who knows what you will see!
In the west of the Park, you won't have to try too hard to see red kites wheeling overhead with their distinctive forked tail.
The uplands of the National Park are also good places to try and spot some of the rarer birds that live here - although there are no guarantees! Look out for red grouse in the heather and golden plovers and curlews in the grasslands. More common species that can fill the air with song on a summer's day are skylarks and pipits, as well as the mewing of the buzzard (which is where it gets its name bwncath in Welsh ... which roughly translates as cat-bird).

Look out for bats chasing down insects along the Brecon-Monmouthshire Canal, or common lizards basking amongst the heaths and grasslands. And don't forget the flora - from the purple haze of the heather and the carpets of Springtime flowers to the amazing insectivorous plants such as sundews and butterworts.

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):
Abergavenny train station or you can meet at the farm if you are driving
Transfer:
Included from meeting point
Flight Guide:
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