Looking for a weekend getaway to blow away the cobwebs why not head to the South Downs to explore some or all off the 1200km of bridleways that run through the National Park for riders to enjoy; with a range of landscapes you can have a go at everything from a gentle trot along a country track to a hack up to the top of the Downs.
Obviously travelling with horses comes along with some challenges so we thought we’d help out with a few, firstly, when you arrived you have to find somewhere that is suitable to not only park your horsebox and allow you to get your horse out safely.
The National Park have produced a leaflet, about the South Downs Way National Trail, that should be able to help you with this. It includes a map but also list’s the type of parking, the approach, the space, the safety and what routes to ride are nearby.
Of course, when you’ve been off out on a ride all day, you’re going to want somewhere to lay your head and rest up the tired legs of your riding partner. There are a few options around, some have secure paddocks and stables, some have a field available. Check out some of the options we’ve gathered up for you
Horses can be accommodate in their purpose built stabling and you will be staying in a beautiful B & B, Twin or Double rooms with En-suite.
For more information visit www.thepaddockstables.co.uk
They have both Stables and Fields available for horses to stay alongside a gorgeous B and B set on a lovely farm with Sheep and some cattle, also lakes for fishing and walking routes.
For more information visit www.tywfordfarm.com
Focsle Little Lodge
Is a self-catering loft apartment that has a field available for horses to stay
For more information visit their Airbnb listing
The Long House
Is a barn and stable converted B & B situated in a peaceful valley with views to South Downs with field available for horses.
For more information visit www.thelonghouseeastmeon.co.uk
Deans Place Hotel
If you’re after a bit of luxury for yourself you could try out the Deans Place Hotel, a 4* Luxury Country Hotel and restaurant. It even has a seasonal outdoor pool and 4 acres of exquisite garden and for your horse a paddock with gorgeous green grass
For more information visit www.deansplacehotel.co.uk
Along most of the bridleways on the South Downs Way there are water taps available to refresh both you and your horse (You may want to take some sort of collapsible bucket as they are just standing taps). There is also some troughs available, all of these are shown on the South Downs Way leaflet map.
For those of you that don’t have your own horse but would love to ride the South Downs there is another option! There are a few riding schools and Stables that will offer you lessons but also riding tours that are suitable for most ages and abilities.
If arranged in advance, most of them will also be happy to pick you up and drop you off at the local railway station so you don’t have to worry about having a car for the day and you can just enjoy your whole journey.
Local Stables and Riding Schools
Some general points to make your time in the South Downs as great an experience as possible. There will be other people walking, running and cycling along the same paths so just be aware you will probably not be alone. Also worth considering that the South Downs Way is popular with dog walkers, some of which may be off leads (although they should be put back on when they spot a horse rider) so just be aware that there may be loose dogs & potentially there will also be animals grazing, so keep those eyes peeled. You know what your horse is likely to spook at!
Whether you’re heading out for a quick ride or embarking on one of the huge South Downs Way Challenges please stick to the bridleways and ensure you have a phone to contact someone whilst out and about if needed. Activities are always best done with friends, but if you do go on your own, don’t forget to let someone know your expected time of return and your planned route – just in case!
Come along have fun and enjoy what the South Downs has to offer you. Happy Adventuring!