EXMOOR COTTAGE HOLIDAYS
North Devon and Exmoor are ideal for horse-riding, and riding holidays are very popular. The countryside is almost all set to pasture (except the moors which are mostly open access) and the west coast has several sandy beaches extending for several miles. There are numerous stables offering riding lessons and hacks to suit all abilities, many other related businesses (e.g. boarding stables and equestrian supplies) and lots of affiliated and non-affiliated events. Exmoor and North Devon are more peaceful and less commercial than South Devon, and just as accessible from the Midlands and south of England.
If you want to ride your own horse over the beach and moors, or enjoy escorted hacks; or maybe you are thinking of owning a horse for the first time, or want to improve your riding abilities; then Exmoor Cottage Holidays in the quiet and peaceful village of Challacombe, is the perfect place to stay for your riding holidays. The five self-catering cottages, converted from a farm, are warm and comfortable and offer a good choice of accommodation, from one to three bedrooms. The stone-built holiday cottages are full of charm and character and each has a log fire in the living room and a private enclosed garden. Pets and children are welcome, and there are delightful wildlife grounds; with a lovely walk around Humphrey's Hill and an exclusive children's playground. You don't have to waste time shopping or cooking as there is a handy shop and excellent pub just 300 yards away.
Some of the nearby stables are shown below (road distance from Challacombe in brackets) with a brief summary of their services.
Dean Riding Stables (6 miles) – BHS and ABRS approved. Nervous and novice riders welcome. All weather arena for riding lessons, including show jumping. Escorted hacks on Exmoor for riders of all abilities.
Brendon Manor (11 miles) - Escorted ½ hour to 2 hour rides on Exmoor for beginners, novices and experienced riders, trotting and cantering if ability suits. Absolute beginner walk with pony and lead rein for smaller children and those under the age of 6. Stabling for your horse, lockable storage and overnight trailer parking.
Thinking Horses (12 miles) - Riding centre with qualified Instructors, caters for adults and children from complete beginners to experienced competitive riders.
Lane End Stables (13 miles) - Ian Wright BHS II sm, professional equestrian trainer with 30 years experience. Instruction available from novice to advanced in basic flat work, show jumping, dressage, eventing and cross country. Show jumping course is available and hacks on quiet lanes, tracks and woodland. Can provide stabling (24 hours supervision) and trailer parking.
Mullacott Stables (13 miles) – Two indoor and two outdoor arenas. Hacks and lessons for most abilities, including lessons for those who have lost confidence, to gallops across the beach. Eventing venue with regular unaffiliated events and competitions. Quad bikes available for non-riders.
Woolacombe Riding Stables (16 miles) - BHSAI instruction in flat work and jumping in full-sized arena, for beginners (minimum age 4 years) and experienced riders. Escorted countryside hacks for those experienced with walk, trot and canter; and beach rides on Woolacombe Beach for those experienced with gallop (over 12 years old).
Roylands Stables (20 miles) – Bridleway hacks for beginners (minimum age 6 years) to experienced riders. Escorted beach rides for experienced riders (minimum 14 years old) on Putsborough Beach (except July and August). Lessons in dressage and show jumping, and training in stable management. Also 'tiny trek' lead rein rides for 4-6 year olds.
West Lynch Farm (20 miles) - Barefoot and Bitless rides on Exmoor for teenagers and adults with riding experience (not novices). Holistic horse workshop in barefoot, diet and management, free schooling, horse pilates, close-contact, lunging, horse agility and liberty work, to help you understand your horse. Also home of the Exmoor Owl and Hawk Centre.
West Anstey Farm Stables (21 miles) - Horses and ponies for all abilities (from 2 years old). Escorted 1-2 hour rides on the moor (children or nervous riders can be lead). Riding lessons from BHSAI qualified/Pony Club instructor.
Several places offer stabling for your horse (as above) but one of the nearest is Sparhanger Equestrian Centre, telephone 01598 753283. North Devon and Exmoor are also well served with equestrian shops including Barnstaple Equestrian Supplies, Acorn Saddlery and Melian Pet Supplies.
There are lots of horses on Exmoor, and also many wild ruminants including ponies, deer and goats. Exmoor ponies are the oldest breed of horse in the UK and were mentioned in the Domesday Book. Two herds are managed by The Exmoor National Park Authority with about 200 mares. These are on Countisbury Hill near Lynmouth, and near the southern ridgeway road at West Anstey Common (close to the Exmoor Pony Centre).
There is a herd of feral goats in the Valley of Rocks near Lynton, and although goats were recorded here in the Domesday Book, they died out and the present herd were introduced in 1976. They can usually be seen from the coast path, often perched precipitously on the edge of the cliffs. Exmoor has five species of deer: the native Red and Roe deer; the Fallow, introduced about 1000 years ago; and the Sika and Muntjac introduced about 100 years ago. Red deer are the largest wild land animal in the UK and there are about four thousand on greater Exmoor; they are very shy but can often be seen on Almsworthy Common near Alderman's Barrow to the north of Exford.
We know Exmoor and North Devon well and can show you the best places to visit on an Ordnance Survey map (which you may borrow for your stay). We also offer (charged extra) towel hire, more logs and kindling, cottage cleaning and a service wash and dry so that you can enjoy your riding holiday to the full.
After a long day riding you can relax in the private garden of your cottage and watch the wild birds (we feed them most days), or settle down in front of the cosy log fire in your living room. Before retiring, take a gentle stroll up Humphrey's Hill and watch the sun set over Exmoor, or down to the local pub for a lovely home-made meal.
Exmoor Cottage Holidays are ideal for your riding holidays in North Devon and Exmoor. The self-catering cottages are well-appointed, comfortable and clean, and all have log fires and private enclosed gardens. Dogs are welcome and there are delightful grounds with lots of wildlife and a playground for children. The cottages are just a few minutes' walk from a shop and pub, and within easy reach of many riding schools and stables. We look forward to welcoming you for your riding holiday soon!