Endless stretches of golden sandy beaches, atmospheric moorland, verdant rolling hills and ancient oak forests – the South West of England offers the perfect ingredients for a riding holiday.
Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned rider, Devon and Cornwall have everything you need for unforgettable, varied hacking. From exhilarating beach gallops to wild moorland adventures, we’ve picked out our top destinations for horse riding in the South West, all with riding centres within easy reach.
Exmoor National Park, Devon
The perfect equestrian holiday isn’t just about the riding – it’s about the landscapes you ride through. Riding in Exmoor National Park offers a great mixture of terrain, from heather-clad moorland and tumbling river valleys to inviting woodland tracks and peaceful country lanes. There are over 300 miles of bridleways in Exmoor, offering some of the best riding in the country for all abilities.
Well maintained and signposted, the most popular trails are marked in blue and take in spectacular views – as well as a variety of wildlife, such as wild Exmoor ponies, red deer and buzzards soaring in the sky.
Find somewhere to stay in Exmoor
Bodmin Moor, Cornwall
Galloping through mile upon mile of rugged moorland, crossing sparkling streams, climbing rocky tors and passing by ancient settlements and stone circles – riding on Bodmin Moor is a truly exhilarating experience. This breathtaking land of myth and legend with its wild, untouched character has long ignited the imaginations of those who’ve visited it, and horseback is a fitting way to appreciate it.
One of the last great, unspoilt areas of the South West of England, this moor is steeped in thousands of years of history. After an enjoyable time in the saddle, the notorious smugglers’ haunt Jamaica Inn is the perfect place to stop for a post-ride lunch.
Find somewhere to stay in Bodmin
Dartmoor National Park, Devon
Whether you’d rather experience the freedom of a fast canter on the wild, open moorland or a gentle trot through enchanting woodland trails and historic byways, riding on Dartmoor, one of England’s last true wildernesses, is hard to beat. Many pubs in the national park welcome horse riders, offering places to tie up or paddocks, water for the horses, and convenient picnic tables from which you can keep a watchful eye on them. The High Moor is a must for experienced riders, while the gentle slopes, valleys and undulating moorland of the south-east of Dartmoor are more suited to beginners.
Find somewhere to stay in Dartmoor
Perranporth Beach, Cornwall
There’s nothing more invigorating than whipping up the sand as you gallop across stunning Cornish shores. The 2-mile stretch of golden sand at Perranporth beach in Cornwall is one of the most popular horse-riding spots in the South West. Splash through the Atlantic waves with the sea breeze in your hair, venture over the sand dunes and explore the beauty of the Cornish coast from a different perspective. Riding at Perranporth beach is perfect for all abilities thanks to some great local riding schools. Expect fast canters, paddles, maybe even a swim, before heading home through the dunes.
Find somewhere to stay in Perranporth
Where to stay in the South West
If you’ve been inspired by some of these beautiful horse riding spots in the South West, you’ll now need to choose somewhere to stay. After a long, blissful day trekking through the countryside and coast, there’s no better feeling than returning to a relaxing home-from-home – perhaps with a hot tub to sink into, a warming wood burner and a hearty homecooked meal. South West accommodation provider Stay In offers a wide selection of cottages, hotels, B&Bs and holiday parks throughout Devon and Cornwall, close to some of these spectacular locations.