EXMOOR COTTAGE HOLIDAYS
Horse riding holidays are very popular in North Devon and Exmoor, with many spectacular off-road rides and numerous riding stables for all levels of ability. North Devon and Exmoor are more peaceful and less commercialised than South Devon; and more accessible from the South-East and the Midlands than Cornwall, being only fifty minutes from the M5.
If you love riding and want to stay in a character cottage within the Exmoor National Park, then Exmoor Cottage Holidays is ideal for you. The five stone-built cottages are full of charm and character and are surrounded by large enchanting wildlife grounds.
We offer a beautiful place to stay and the personal attention you would normally receive in a B&B or hotel so that you get the very most from your riding holiday. We are on site every day to help you with any enquiries and provide a chambermaid service (unless you don’t want to be disturbed!). We leave a free basket of logs and kindling in the cottage (and you can have more if available) and we are happy to help you light your fire and show you how to keep it going. We can usually provide a BBQ, high-chair, cot, stair gate and fire-guard, and a free laundry service so that you can spend more time riding. Outside each cottage is an enclosed garden, a picnic table and a bird-feeder (filled daily).
We know Exmoor and North Devon well and can help you to plan your days out, show you the best walks and places to visit on an Ordnance Survey map (which you may borrow) and help you make arrangements with local services e.g. riding lessons, taxi, vehicle repairs, guided tours, restaurants, etc. – and we always have some special deals for our guests. We can provide towel and linen hire, self-cook evening meals (home-made by our local shop) and other house-keeping services including full cottage cleaning, B&B and dog-sitting.
The cottages are surrounded by delightful grounds and there is a wildlife pond (with some tame ducks), a children’s play area and you are welcome to help yourself to any of the fruits & herbs in the grounds (not everything is edible, please ask if unsure). We welcome your dogs, there are lovely paths up Humphrey’s Hill to a wildflower meadow ideal for exercising them, and we can usually arrange dog-sitting if needed. There is a traditional pub only 300 yards away with award-winning food, real ales and fine wines (and your children and dogs are welcome). Next to the pub is a friendly local shop and Post Office, which sells groceries, snacks, alcohol and delicious clotted cream teas.
There are many stables in North Devon and Exmoor which offer horse-riding lessons and hacks in the local area. For example:-
Mullacott Stables - Exciting beach rides for all levels of ability, and challenging all day rides on Exmoor.
Roylands Stables – Lessons, including dressage, for all levels of ability, and escorted rides on Croyde beach.
The North Devon Equestrian Centre in Shirwell - Lessons from novice to certificate level.
Shelley's Riding School in Braunton - Riding lessons, woodland hacks and beach hacks to Crow Point.
Brendon Manor - Hacks for all levels of ability around Brendon Manor and the Doone valley (the inspiration behind the novel "Lorna Doone" by RD Blackmore).
Dean Riding Stables – Riding lessons and Exmoor hacks for all levels of ability.
Aside from riding, there are lots of sporting and adventure activities in North Devon and Exmoor, including swimming, surfing, cycling, mountain biking, high rope climbing, canoeing, golfing, clay pigeon shooting, paint balling and quad biking. Please ask and we will be happy to help you arrange the activities of your choice.
There are many wild ruminants on Exmoor, including ponies, deer and goats. Exmoor ponies are the oldest breed of horse in the UK and were mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086AD. Two herds of Exmoor ponies are maintained by Exmoor National Park Authority on the moors with about 200 mares. They can usually be seen along the southern ridgeway road around West Anstey Common, and on the top of Countisbury Hill between Lynmouth and Porlock, near County Gate.
There is a large herd of wild goats in the Valley of Rocks near Lynton, and although there were goats recorded here in the Domesday Book, they have had mixed fortunes. The goats were removed and reinstated in the C19th; died out in the 1960's, and the current goats were introduced from Northumberland in 1976. They can almost always be seen alongside the coast path, where they are often precipitously perched right on the edge of the cliffs.
There are five species of deer on Exmoor, the native Red and Roe; the Fallow, introduced about 1000 years ago; and the Sika and Muntjack, introduced about 100 years ago. The Red deer are the largest wild land animal in the UK and there are roughly 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.
There are lots of other things to see and do in North Devon & Exmoor, for example, visiting the Valley of Rocks outside Lynton; the clapper bridge at Tarr Steps; the wide sandy beaches at Woolacombe; the interesting local towns of Clovelly, Ilfracombe, and Dunster and for children there are lots of nearby attractions, including Exmoor Zoo, Combe Martin Wildlfe Park, Watermouth Castle and Funderzone, a play gym in Barnstaple.
Exmoor Cottage Holidays are ideal for your horse riding holidays in North Devon. The cottages are charming, well-appointed, all have log fires and private gardens, and are surrounded by peaceful wildlife grounds. They are just a few minutes walk from an award winning traditional inn, and within easy reach of many riding schools and stables.