Join this 7 night, progressive ride around Dartmoor stopping at different B&B’s and hotels each night. Riding on responsive well-schooled forward going Quarter horses we climb up to the open moors then across the Dartmoor National Park, a 1,000 km sq national park where herds of cattle, sheep and wild Dartmoor ponies still roam.
Good western style riding at walk, trot and canter along the forests, rivers, wetlands and round tors (rock formations), dipping into small villages and picturesque hamlets dotted around the edges of the moor and stopping for lunch on the edges with spectacular views across the south of England. Ride past prehistoric settlements, Bronze Age stone circles and ancient tin mines, a truly English experience.
Overnight in a variety of individual hotels and B&Bs along the edge of the moor. All offer warm, Devonshire hospitality, comfortable beds and home-cooked traditional food. This is the ideal holiday for those who want to enjoy spectacular scenery, ride Western and soak up the peace and quiet of this ancient region.
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 KI of London on 23/09/2020
You will be guided through some of the most spectacular riding anywhere in the UK, stopping en-route at local beauty spots for a packed lunch.
Arrive in the afternnon or evening and check in at the Castle Inn. Enjoy a traditional country pub dinner and meet your felow riders before settling in for the night.
Today, you'll meet the horses and head off on the first part of the trail ride. You'll be leaving from Meldon and riding for around four hours before overnight at the Castle Inn again.
Today you'll saddle up after breakfast for a ride across Dartmoor of approx 4 – 5 hrs. You'll then reach the Two Bridges Hotel perched on the banks of the West Dart River. You'll stop here for dinner and overnight.
Today, you'll be continuing on the trail, setting off from the hotel and riding onto Drywell Farm. This is a 3-4 hrs ride and you'll finish for the day near Widecombe where you can check in for a local, farm B&B.
(May & July) Trail ride from Drywell Farm, 4 – 5 hrs overnight at Drywell again.
(Aug) Visit to Chagford Show
(Sept) visit to Widecombe Fair
(May, July & Sept) Ride on to Chagford, 3 – 4 hrs overnight at the Three Crowns Hotel.
Ride home to Meldon, 4 hrs, overnight at the Castle Inn again.
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.
There is a selection of fantastic Quarter Horses and Paints at this ranch. Known for their calm attitude and appetite for work, all are western trained, very sure footed, a pleasure to ride and cross the terrain with ease. Heights range from 14:3 to 16:2hh. Your hosts for this ride often start and back their own horses to suit the type of work, all must be sensible with good manners. In total there are 15 horses, all are fit, forward-going and sure footed on the Dartmoor terrain. Riders do need to be reasonably fit as there is between 4-6 hours in the saddle each riding day. Hard hats are compulsory at this destination and the ranch has some available to borrow but we recommend bringing your own if possible.
The tack is all Western. If you haven't ridden Western before, don't worry it is fairly easy for intemediate riders to pick up and you may find it a lot more comfortable than a traditional English saddle! In total you will cover around 130kms on this trail.
This is a progressive trail ride for intermediate riders onwards. You should be confident riding at a walk, trot and canter in open countryside. The terrain involves crossing streams, shallow rivers, undulating ground and up and down steep inclines and would not be suitable for novice or inexperienced riders. The style of riding at this ranch is very much akin to ‘Natural Horsemanship’. Riders should be relaxed in the saddle and ride with soft hands.
Age range is 18 to 65, experienced 14 – 17 year olds accepted if accompanied by a riding parent/guardian. Upper age limit is discretionary depending on rider fitness and experience, please speak to your travel advisor for more information. The maximum weight is 15 Stone (95kg) Riders are welcome to help with grooming and saddling their own horses but this is not compulsory.
The weight limit for this ride is 210 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Accommodation is provided at different B&B’s and hotels each night. All the places have twin or double rooms with ensuite bathrooms. A single supplement is payable if you are booking alone and this is an additional £175. You'll spend the first two nights and the last night at The Castle Inn (or similar) a beautifully traditional 16th century Devonshire pub with rooms. Situated in the historic and picturesque Dartmoor village of Lydford. You'll spend the third night at the Two Bridges Hotel (or similar). This welcoming bolthole is perched on the banks of the beautiful West Dart River, with beautiful countryside in every direction. Your next stop is a rural farm B&B where you can experience some genuine Devonshire hospitality before returning back to The Castle Inn for the final night. All rooms include towels and most of them have Wifi.
Breakfasts are provided by the hotels and B&Bs and are usually buffet style offering a choice of a more continental breakfast, think pastries, cereal, yogurt, fruit or a traditional full English; bacon, eggs beans toast etc. Lunch is a picnic eaten at a picturesque spot on the trail. The picnic usually includes sandwiches, crisps, fruit and a biscuit. Dinner is not included but can be provided by the accommodation you stay at (usually modern British cuisine such as fish and chips, burgers, pies) or at other local eateries which your host will be happy to recommend to you.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
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.
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.
Along with the rest of South West England, Dartmoor has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than locations at similar height in the rest of England. January and February are the coldest months with mean minimum temperatures around 1 °C (34 °F). July and August are the warmest months. On the highest ground, in the north of the moor, the growing season is less than 175 days – this contrasts with some 300 days along most of the south coast of the county. The weather is very chaneable though so we recommend being prepared for hot days, sudden heavy rain as well as cold winds and basking sunshine at any time of year. This ride involves travelling from 800 ft up to 2000 ft, where the temperature is cooler so we recommend dressing in layers.
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.
Electricty is available at each evenings accommodation for charging camera batteries. Free Wifi is available at The Castle Inn (first 2 and final nights), Two Bridges Hotel (3rd night) and at the Three Crowns (6th night).
Your hosts farm sits at 800 ft, and you'll ride up to 2,000ft where it can be quite a bit cooler than at the farm, we strongly recommend warm riding wear and good riding waterproofs, a long slicker type is usually the most practical
Riding hat, mandatory; n.b. there is a limited supply of hats so we recommend bringing your own
Boots with heels are also mandatory
Comfortable warm riding wear, jeans, polo shirts, jumpers, fleece shower-proof coat etc.
Chaps full or half. (optional)
Waterproof coat, ‘Drizabone’ slicker type is recommended
Lip balm and sun cream
Casual evening wear
This is a 7 night trail ride on set dates between May and October.
2020: 27 (FULL) Jun; 15 (FULL) Aug; 4 Sept
2021: 15 May; 26 (FULL) Jun; 14 Aug; 10 Sept
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2020 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||double pp||1,249|
|2020 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||175|
|2021 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||double pp||1,349|
|2021 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||169|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2020 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||double pp||1,369|
|2020 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||195|
|2021 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||double pp||1,479|
|2021 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||189|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2020 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||double pp||1,669|
|2020 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||235|
|2021 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||double pp||1,805|
|2021 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||229|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2020 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||double pp||14,439|
|2020 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||2,025|
|2021 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||double pp||15,595|
|2021 - 7 nights||8d/7n||5||single supplement||1,965|
Dartmoor is the largest and highest upland in southern Britain, exposed to strong winds and high rainfall. The soils are acidic and the area has been relatively undisturbed by intensive agriculture. These factors make the National Park especially interesting in terms of its wildlife.
Because of the climate and diversity of habitats there is a great diversity of species. Dartmoor is also an important reserve for those species that can withstand harsher conditions including some very rare plants and animals. Dartmoor is particularly noted for rare lichens, butterflies and other insects. There are also many birds of moors, heath and farmland to be found here.
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.