Do the long summer days make you and your equine friend feel restless for some adventure? So, what are your plans? Are you thinking of taking a break from your normal hacking routes and heading off somewhere completely different? The luxury of owning a decent horsebox is you’re always able to travel further from home in search of the perfect summer hack.
No matter what the season, Wales is a perfect choice for a horse riding adventure. You’re never far from tranquil countryside trails, historic locations and medieval ruins or unique and diverse wildlife. You and your horse will love discovering all the new sights, sounds and smells of this stunning part of the world.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your insurance for a horsebox sorted and get ready for a memorable Welsh adventure together!
Best places to explore in Wales on horseback
Small but oh-so-perfectly formed, Wales can lay claim to some of the UK’s richest and most unspoilt landscapes. Whether you’re just looking for a short and sweet day trip, a weekend away, or something a little longer, there are so many places to choose from to fulfil that urge for travel. But be careful, you may never want to leave!
Snowdonia National Park and Gwynedd
Home to the highest mountain in Wales, Snowdonia National Park is a special place for many outdoor enthusiasts. With an atmosphere that’s simply magnetic, walkers, mountain bikers and climbers all flock to the area’s network of trails and picturesque villages.
However, if you really want to soak up the wonders of nature here, then on horseback is the way to do it. Those rugged peaks and limpid lakes are really best enjoyed from the saddle. But remember, always at a measured pace because of the uneven ground – no one wants to take a stumble far from home.
While you won’t be heading for the summit of Snowdon, at least not on the back of your horse, there are many mountain tracks to cater to a range of different riding abilities. Experienced riders can certainly enjoy a spectacular day or two riding into the vast tranquillity of the high mountain terrain.
But there’s also plenty of scope for the less experienced, too. Whatever route you decide it’s always important to be well prepared as the weather in Snowdonia can be changeable.
There is so much more on offer here that it’s all too easy to miss something incredible. So, be sure to add a couple of these to your sight-seeing checklist when you visit:
- With over 400 castles, Wales boasts more castles per square mile than any other place on earth. So, it’s easy to feel like a medieval knight in shining armour when hacking in this area. Conwy, Caernarfon and Harlech Castles are all UNESCO World Heritage sites and all worth visiting on the back of your trusty steed when in the region.
- The breezy Cilan Headland is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and of Special Scientific Interest located on the tip of the Llŷn Peninsula. Three miles from Abersoch, riding here provides magnificent panoramic views of Hell’s Mouth Bay, Bardsey Island, Snowdonia and across Cardigan Bay.
- Perfectly peaceful countryside trekking in Penmachno can be found not far from the idyllic riverside town of Betws y Coed. The much-vaunted ‘Gateway to Snowdonia’ is a Victorian resort town that’s hard to avoid and offers a truly Welsh experience.
- If it rains (and it probably will) then you’re in for a treat! This area boasts a stunning selection of sensational waterfalls which are of particular beauty after heavy rainfall. On the River Llugwy can be found Swallow Falls, while Conwy Falls is found at the junction of the River Conwy and River Machno. Both are worth looking out for.
Brecon Beacons National Park
Brecon Beacons National Park is not only home to breathtaking scenery, spellbinding river valleys and luscious countryside, but it also has some of the most sensational horse-riding routes in the country.
Just an hour’s drive north from Cardiff, the Brecon Beacons is perfect for both short breaks and longer trips.
With open moorland, forests, rolling hills and narrow mountain ridges the area is worth a visit at any time of year.
Although our favourite time is probably the Autumn when the leaves have changed and the whole area is painted in shades of yellow and rust. Perfect Instagram moments of early morning woodland rides await!
With over 600 miles of bridleways and tracks to explore you’ll be spoilt for choice. A few spectacular sights worth a visit on horseback in the area include:
- The famous book-loving town of Hay-on-Wye is not only popular with literary types but also horse riders who find it the perfect base from which to explore the area. If you’re limited for time then The Hay Triangle is a three-day triangular loop offering plenty of opportunity for canters and gallops. The trail runs through the remote Black Mountains, up Llanthony Valley, and then back to Hay-on-Wye.
- Stunning views are to be had from the foothills of southern Britain’s tallest summit, Pen y Fan, if you follow the Brecon Beacons and Radnor Loop. This is a four-day 75-mile circular route through the National Park. Those red sandstone peaks will never look so stunning.
- Part of the National Bridle Route Network, the Welsh section of the Three Rivers Ride will take you through 35 miles of stunning landscape. You’ll ride along lowland and upland bridleways before exploring the western side of the Black Mountains, round Llangorse Lake, and across the River Usk. The entire ride can be lengthened to a four-day, 95-mile ride if you add in the English section of the route beginning in Tidbach near Bromyard in Worcestershire.
- The Black Mountains are home to four circular horse-riding trails which you can tackle individually or as a whole. Each loop will take about a day to complete and you’ll be treated to forest and woodland rides, not to mention spectacular views.
- The gorgeous but fairly remote Radnor Forest trail will take you 70 miles through glorious Welsh terrain. See the Cambrian Mountains and Brecon Beacons National Park on horseback as you explore bridleways, quiet lanes and byways that lead you gradually further off the beaten track. Be aware there are few pubs and restaurants along the way so you’ll need to be well organised. But it’s well worth it for a truly restful escape from the hustle and bustle of life. Remember to have horsebox insurance in place if you’re exploring remote locations.
Heading west into the Welsh coastal county of Ceredigion offers a fantastic network of bridleways, ancient grassy tracks and quiet country lanes to explore. Ride in the footsteps of centuries of shepherds and drovers as you journey along the river valleys, mountain tracks and woodland trails of this stunning county.
Lying between the two national parks of Snowdonia and the Pembrokeshire Coast it’s often unfairly overlooked. However, it perfectly combines the stunning mountain scenery of Snowdonia with the sandy beaches of Pembrokeshire.
If you’re looking for inspiration for your laid-back Welsh hack then look no further than the marvellous little booklet put together by Ceredigion County Council. Here you can choose from a dozen waymarked routes, and a brilliant 78-mile long north-south linear route.
This long distance route starts in Machynlleth before snaking its way across Ceredigion taking in the Rheidol, Ystwyth, Aeron and Teifi Valleys and finishing at Newcastle Emlyn on the Carmarthenshire border.
You’ll be pleased to hear all the routes listed in the booklet are suitable for any horse that’s ridden regularly. A great ride to begin with is the fine circular ride starting in the village of Penbryn. About 8 miles from Cardigan, this gentle 6-mile route takes you along quiet country lanes and field edge paths.
If you fancy more of a challenge then the 21-mile long Llanilar circular route could be for you. The route uses quiet country lanes and also a disused railway track.
Be aware there are some steep climbs and descents on rough tracks and tarmac, some woodland trails and remote crossings of upland pasture. There are many fine views from hilltop ridges linking the Rheidol and Ystwyth river valleys.
Many of the routes provide you with the opportunity for shorter and longer loops as well as links to other waymarked routes. The perfect destination for hoofed exploration!
If you do have a spooky horse then it’s also worth remembering that while some routes have been developed primarily for horse riders, they are also suitable for mountain bikes.
If you need help with training your spooky horse then read our guide before you go . Or get some other professional help to make sure your holiday goes without a hitch.
Whether you’re looking for guidance on horse behaviour or insurance cover it’s always well worth speaking to the professionals first. At Equesure, we can provide specialist input on horsebox insurance and so much more.
If you’re searching for a coastal hack then look no further than Pembrokeshire, the country’s only coastal National Park. Whether you’re an avid bird watcher, amateur historian or just enjoy fun outdoors, then this part of south west Wales has to be on your hack wish list.
So which spots do we recommend visiting with your horse?
Riders come from miles around to visit Druidston Haven beach and frolic on its long, secluded sands. Enclosed on three sides by steep cliffs, there are some eye-catching cliff formations to enjoy here. But make sure to keep an eye on the sea as you can get cut off by the incoming tide.
Also be aware the beach is often used by a riding school, so expect to bump into large numbers of horses either here or on access paths. There’s also no parking at the beach. The nearest car parks are in nearby Nolton Haven or half a mile south at Haroldston Chins.
You’re never far from stunning scenery in Pembrokeshire, and the waters around here are a popular playground for seals, whales, dolphins and a vast array of seabirds. From your high vantage point, you’ll have an enviable position to enjoy both the scenery and wildlife – something many visitors miss when on foot or in their cars.
More experienced riders and their horses can head off-road along ancient bridleways across the open hills and moorland of the Preseli mountains. These old drover tracks provide panoramic views, lonely stone circles, encounters with wild ponies and birds of prey.
A trip to the beach provides a great holiday treat for you and your horse, but can be tricky if you aren’t well prepared. Read our top tips for riding a horse on a beach to make sure your seaside adventure is as perfect as can be.
Don’t forget essentials like horsebox insurance
To ensure your Welsh hack goes off without a hitch, there are a few essentials to remember before you both set off from home.
If you’re planning on heading to more remote destinations, or riding some distance from any major towns in Wales, it’s best to have the most comprehensive insurance cover in place in case of any injuries, accidents or breakdowns.
With specialised horsebox insurance you can make sure you’re covered should the unexpected happen, you can even be covered for breakdown, too.
With over 60 years of experience in the equine insurance market, our team can find cover for many makes and models of horsebox. From Equi-Trek, Tristar and Ascot to Empire, Ifor Williams and Alexanders, we’ve got you covered.
Other benefits can also include:
- Comprehensive and third party, fire and theft
- Cover for social, domestic and leisure
- Business use available
- Limited mileage discounts
- Windscreen cover on comprehensive policies
- Personal accident cover on comprehensive policies
- Values up to £750,000
- Legal cover available with all policies
- EU cover included on all policies
- Breakdown cover including vehicle and horse recovery
For a horsebox insurance policy that suits your needs and budget, get a quick quote from Equesure today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.