We have some truly awesome bridleways for horse riders to explore, here we’ve picked just five of the best bridleways in the UK for you to saddle up and explore.
If you have a recommendation for a ride, we’d love to hear it! Simply add your tips in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Gallow Hill, Stranraer, Scotland
Take one look at this picture and you simply won’t be able to deny that this is one incredible place to hack – just look at those views! Leave your worries behind as you enjoy a canter up to the top of Gallow Hill and then take a moment with your horse to take in the stunning views. This recommendation came from Your Horse reader Steffanie Singleton.
Here’s what she had to say:
“This is my favourite ride of all time! There’s a pretty steep climb to conquer from my yard to the top of Gallow hill which is great for building stamina and if the fields have been cut for hay they offer the perfect opportunity for a good blast up to the top. The views from the top of the hill are breath taking, you can see for miles out to sea, I often let my Mare, Chuienne, stand and graze while I admire the views and feel the stresses of the day drain away. It’s a great ride, a little bracing in the winter time but during the months of nice weather there’s no better place to be. It’s usually very quiet too and you can make it as long or as short as you wish. If you want a longer ride then there’s a track which leads you through some woods and back around to the fields for another good gallop. It’s such a relaxing ride and I’m so lucky to have it right on my doorstep.”
The Cotswold Hills
Think of the Cotswolds and images of honey-coloured stone cottages and rolling grassy hills spring to mind. The choice of routes to hack or drive is endless with miles of quiet lanes and bridleways to explore, not to mention The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.In this area you’ll plenty it’s one of those picture-postcard villages you see in all the guide books! Not to mention pretty village pubs (perfect for a quick stop!).
We’ve been recommended a lovely hack starting in the village of Stanton. Here’s what our seasoned hacker Richard Marshall (pictured right) had to say about the area:
“Once out of the village, the climb up the Cotswold escarpment uses ancient paths and bridleways through grassy fields. Depending on your mood, it’s either a walk or a pipe-opening gallop! Eventually, you’ll emerge onto the gently rolling upland and follow a circular route that has plenty of variety. There’s some road work along quiet country lanes – ideal for a bit of impromptu schooling. There’s also a long uphill canter on sheep-mown grass that’s great for building stamina. There are ancient trackways to conjure up images of a bygone age. Part of the route follows the Cotswold Way National Trail back along the escarpment beside beech woods. On a clear day there are distant views of the Brecon Beacons and in the summer the sound of skylarks fills the air.”
Find out more
The Pennine Bridleway National Trail
The Pennine Bridleway in Northern England runs roughly parallel with the Pennine Way. It can be used riders, cyclists and walkers and offers lots of scenic routes through beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales.
The complete route of The Pennine Bridleway National Trail runs from from Middleton Top in Derbyshire to The Street in Cumbria. It passes through the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, using tracks, quiet roads and the new bridleway itself.
For useful information on planning your route CLICK HERE to visit the National Trails website.
Great Windsor Park
Not an easy access bridleway but one that is possible to explore with a permit, and who wouldn’t want to enjoy a hack with a royal twist?! The recommendation for this ride came form Your Horse reader Helen Taylor. Here’s what she had to say:
“Not many people are lucky enough to spot a royal on their weekend hack but it’s a possibility when hacking in the grounds of Windsor Great Park. I have got a glimpse of Zara and even the Queen herself in the past. You really feel like you’re somewhere special hacking here, there’s so much to see. There are also coffee shops to stop at for a drink which is nice when you’re out for hours. The park covers about 4,800 acres so you’re ride can be anything from thirty minutes to three hours long. In the summer when it’s dry you’re free to roam on the grass but during the wetter months, you have to stick to the roads and tracks which isn’t a problem as there are so many. The sand tracks are great for cantering on; Rupert loves it and does get a little quick! There are a few different permits you can get, some allowing you access to the forest which is well worthwhile.”
To find out about the different permit options, visit The Royal Landscape website (www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk/en/activities/horse-riding). The park does not issue day permits for horse riding within Windsor Great Park – you’ll need an annual Permit. All Permit holders will be able to access Windsor Great Park via forest tracks and will also be able to ride in Swinley Forest.
Join a group ride
Tally Ho Stables in Winkfield, Windsor specialises in taking riding groups of all abilities for gentle rides and exciting hacks through the beautiful Windsor Great Park. To find out more visitwww.tallyhostables.co.uk/riding-and-hacking
Nature reserves, ancient monuments, wonderful views and historic landscapes – there’s plenty to enjoy when riding around Totternhoe in South Bedfordshire. What’s more, a brilliant network of bridleways, starting at Stanbridge Ford, means you can saddle up and get lost for hours.
This recommendation came from Your Horse reader Alison Grant. Here’s what she had to say:
“This ride never gets boring. I moved away for a short while during that time and I really missed it. One very quiet road leads us here from the yard and then it’s off-road all the way. It has absolutely everything – it’s a very relaxing ride. I always say it’s a perfect Friday ride to blow away all the cobwebs and free your mind from the stresses of the week. There’s a real variety on this ride – you can do a quick short loop or extend it and potentially be riding around for hours. It’s been a real confidence builder for me and Bally and I just love it. There’s plenty of opportunity for a blast or just to take it steady if you prefer. The ride takes you down a long stretch of disused railway track, which is surrounded by trees and wildlife. Then there’s a very open part of the ride – with a huge quarry on one side of you and endless fields on the other. The beautiful chalky hills are great for a good gallop and building stamina, and the views from the top are spectacular.
It’s utter bliss!”