Grab Life by the Reins
Experienced rider or just starting out on your horse riding adventure, there is no better place than Somerset and Exmoor for grabbing life by the reins. Of course we would say that!
But the variety of terrain you will find here is very diverse and provides something for every type of rider whatever their level of experience. Backing up these claims is an excellent tourism infrastructure of riding stables, accommodation with stabling facilities and a wonderful selection of country pubs offering up great local food and drink. Not only this Somerset and Exmoor has one of the largest bridleway networks in the country.
To help you make the most of your time in the area, we’ve pulled together some useful information, including links to 25 places to ride in Somerset and Exmoor.
The 25 Routes
1. Beach Riding Routes 1-3
Somerset’s coastline offers mile after mile of beach horse riding. This includes a continuous six mile stretch of sand, the second longest in Europe, from Burnham-on-Sea to Brean Down, and beaches at Weston-super-Mare and Sandy Bay. Follow the links for information on where to park and local rules.
2. Exmoor National Park Routes 4-11
8 circular riding routes and maps are available to download from the British Horse Society’s Access website. These routes are part of the Exmoor and Quantock Hills on Horseback series produced in conjunction with the National Park Authority, and are designed to explore the breadth of terrain on offer and challenge riders and their horses.
3. Quantock Hills AONB Routes 12-15
Four great routes begin in the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Three circular routes that explore every inch of the hills, and The Coleridge Way bridleway that begins in Nether Stowey and runs to Porlock on Exmoor.
4. Blackdown Hills AONB Routes 16-18
Three routes showcase the Somerset part of the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the 10 mile Neroche Link, and 14 mile routes at Staple Fitzpaine and Wambrook.
5. South Somerset Routes 19-23
The South Somerset area is renowned for its tranquil English countryside and hamstone villages and historic houses. Four routes explore Ham Hill, Limington Level, Corton Denham and Poyntington Hill, while the final route takes you to the Willows and Wetlands landscape of the Somerset Levels.
6. Somerset Levels and Mendip Hills AONB Routes 24 and 25
Towards the northern part of Somerset are two additional routes that enable you to explore two other special landscapes. This includes a route at Priddy in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and at Westhay Moor Nature Reserve on the Somerset Levels.
Accommodation with stabling
There is a variety of accommodation across Somerset and Exmoor that provide stabling and facilities for you to come on holiday with your own horse. Visit Exmoor provides details of over 40 local B&B’s, hotels and self-catering properties in Exmoor National Park and the Quantock Hills. Five properties are featured on Visit Somerset.
If you are not planning to bring your own horse, or would like to enjoy a riding holiday, there are lots of riding stables to choose from. Most will cater for all types of riders and groups and will offer the chance to explore one of the many stunning landscapes listed above. Guides and expert tuition is on hand for those that want.
For something different you could consider riding an Exmoor Pony! The Exmoor Pony Centre, close to Dulverton on Exmoor has been working to promote and conserve what is the oldest native breed of pony in Britain. Some 350 still live free on Exmoor and can be seen in herds all over area.