Brecon Beacons and Beyond riding holiday in Wales - Far and Ride
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Brecon Beacons and Beyond, Wales





Reviews



An excellent holiday with marvellous views across the mountains. My favourite memory was after 3 and a half days riding across the moors, through rivers, up mountains (aching legs!), coming over the crest of a hill and seeing the beach for a gallop. My horse William was ideally suited to me and the guides were helpful, polite, approachable and friendly. I would recommend the Trans Wales Trail for experienced riders.

Norman H.
I’d heard about this ride by reputation from a friend so thought it was worth giving it a go. I never expect horses to be as good in the UK, but I was really surprised. They can sort you out with something that suits you, have great fun blasting over the grassy black mountains, take a journey through Wales that’s full of surprises and end up blasting on the beach on the west coast. My friend had described it as riding really fit good Welsh Cobs and that’s exactly what they are. The overnights are in pubs or B&Bs with hugely warm welcomes, Paul is great entertainment and can tell the story of when his father first pioneered the route of the Trans Wales Trail. One view made me wonder why I had flown so many miles to ride the previous year when this was on my doorstep. Having been brought up living on the river Wye it was a bit of a highlight to ride across the source up in the mountains.

Sue Maling
I had a great time in Wales! Dream horse, amazing scenery, great food and a warm and friendly family to go back to at the end of the day. What more can you ask for? I would highly recommend it... and I will definitely be going back!

Charlotte O.
A fantastic experience which I hadn't expected in my 'advanced' years. It was exciting and challenging and a total change of scene which was so refreshing. My favourite memory was cantering over the welsh hills on a strong and trusty mount and feeling so alive.

Linda H.
Beautiful location, breathtaking scenery, very relaxing. The atmosphere was friendly and you felt like a family member rather than a guest. Emily felt like a friend rather than a guide, she was an excellent rider and very encouraging. This has opened up a whole new world of opportunity and possibilities. The food was very nice and Paul did a good job with selecting the horses for us.

Ruth J.
Great weather, good company, beautiful location, lovely horses, tasty food, welcoming hosts - what more can I say.

Chris W.
An affordable, hands-on riding holiday with willing horses, great guides, cosy accommodation and tasty home-cooked food.

Holly, Far and Ride, Read review
Amazing scenery, great company, a fantastic experience. Really glad I went.

Becky E.
The holiday was excellent. Couldn't have asked for better riding guides, food, accommodation or company. Great group and even the weather was perfect. Would recommend to anyone with a sense of adventure and I can't wait for my next trip!

Louise A.
Amazing horses, riding over challenging ground in stunning scenery. Good accommodation and plenty of delicious, home-cooked food. Horses and tack well looked after and guides were very good and knowledgeable of local area and the horses (as many they bred themselves).

Nikki J.
This is a fast and long trail which is great fun. There is a lot of trotting and canter - this includes going downhill! (Favourite memory?) The pace across the moorland (canter/walk in a 4:1 ratio!) with jumping of small ditches, crossing the bog, the small circular jumping course and the gallop on the beach at the end.

Mark S. (Trans Wales Trail)
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Welsh Cobs and Cob Crosses.

Nature of horses:

Forward-going and sociable. These horse are fit, intelligent and strong, ideally suited to the hills and mountains. Nice natures.

Height of horses:

14.1 - 16.2hh

Weight limit:

85kg (approx 13 stone) as standard, however if you weigh more than this but are an experienced rider and fit, please get in touch as there may be a horse to suit you.

Tack type:

English saddles and some endurance saddles.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

This destination offers world class trail riding over the Brecon Beacons and beyond. These riding holidays are set in some of the most beautiful and undiscovered parts of Wales and are run by a family with over 40 years experience. They have a good reputation for offering some of the best trail riding the UK has to offer. The riding centre is situated in a hidden valley in the Brecon Beacons National Park and it breeds and breaks in fit, fine and mountain-friendly Welsh Cobs.

There is a choice of trails available including a riding weekend, legal hunting and their most spectacular trip, the Trans Wales Trail, which takes riders across the entire breadth of Wales. Each trip offers spectacular scenery and the companionship of a wonderfully sure-footed horse. Although cobs, these Welsh horses are not uncomfortably wide or 'ploddy' as some might think, they are compact, intelligent and most definitely not slow! They are ideally suited to the hilly terrain which includes open moorland, thick forests, picturesque mountain lanes and narrow mountain ridges and they will give you a thrilling gallop when the time is right. There is also the chance to jump logs and ditches (optional!) and to enjoy the balance and strength of these admirable horses.

Guests stay in the comfortable 17th century farmhouse with cosy log fires, home-cooked food, goose down duvets and their own spring water on tap. The farmhouse now also produces its own electricity using the natural power of the neighbouring stream. During longer trails the nights are spent at country inns and pubs which provide a welcoming and friendly atmosphere in which to make new friends and to relax with a drink. These holidays are a wonderful choice for the competent adult rider looking to explore the stunning scenery and delights that Wales has to offer. The horses ensure a safe but exhilarating ride across some challenging terrain and will give you a memorable gallop across green fields or along the beach. Some of the best trail riding around!

Both Holly and Sally from Far and Ride have been to this destination so please get in touch with any questions.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation varies between the trails but is either at the farm itself (a comfortable and welcoming farmhouse) or at inviting hotels, inns and B&Bs.

Your holiday base is a tranquil little farmhouse, nestled at the foot of the Black Mountains beside a beautiful stream. This traditional Welsh Longhouse was built sometime in the 1700s and has been recently renovated to the highest standards. Guests are accommodated in comfortable stylish twin or super-king double rooms, all of which have en-suite shower rooms. There is plenty of shared space including a large lounge with a log-burner, and a garden room where guests eat breakfast and dinner each day, with a wonderful view of the setting sun.

When staying at the farmhouse Paul, Emily and their family will give you a warm welcome and ensure that your stay is a fantastic mix of exciting riding, good food, and a relaxing environment. Some night you might like to take a walk in the historic village of Talgarth, just one mile away. It is a very pleasant walk down through fields and you can enjoy a drink in a traditional pub before dinner or explore the nearby waterfalls - or simply relax beside the stream in the gardens around the houseVegetarians and special dietary requirements can happily be catered for.

High quality products that are locally grown or ethically sourced are always used where possible. All the meat comes from Billy George, an acclaimed butcher in the nearby town (who has been mentioned in the Guardian!). Billy has an abbatoir attached to the butchers so this meat is fresh and has never known packaging. Eggs come from a local farm, fruit and vegetables come from the local farmers' market and potatoes and onions are bought from a nearby farm as well. When in season you may find raspberries, blackberries, green beans or fresh herbs on your plate which have been picked from the farmhouse garden. This destination even has its own fresh spring water on tap!

You are welcome to take wine or beer to enjoy with your evening meal.

Meals in hotels, inns and pubs on the trails are traditional pub fare. Pub lunches do not always involve a choice (some do and some don't, so please let us know in advance if you have any specific dietary requirements).

 

Activities

Guests are encouraged to get involved in horsecare (grooming, tacking up etc) in order to build a nice relationship with their horses. Other than this and plenty of riding, the holidays are spent relaxing and socialising with new friends.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: Good physical fitness is required for holidays at this destination. Even the riding weekends and the Black Mountains Trail, which is based at the farmhouse, involve some strenuous hill climbs and long hours in the saddle.

Age limit: competent teenagers aged 13+

Tuition: No

Included: Riding, accommodation, all meals (except dinner Wednesday night on the Black Mountain Trail).

Not included: Flights (if applicable), travel insurance, transfers, dinner Wednesday night on the Black Mountain Trail, alcoholic drinks with dinners (you are welcome to take your own) and drinks to accompany the pub lunches.

 

Travel Information

By Air:

International guests can fly into London Heathrow and a pickup service is available on Saturdays (or Sundays) at 1pm. There is an additional cost for this service of £120 per person, return, for groups of 4 guests. Costs are often less for larger groups.

Other options from Heathrow are:

By coach:

Comfortable and good value coaches run regularly between London Heathrow and Chepstow - see www.nationalexpress.com. The coach takes just over 2 hours, and leaves every 2 hours from Heathrow. A return ticket costs approx £38 (but do check online). We can then arrange a transfer from Chepstow for you (about an hour's drive, for which there is an additional charge of £70 per car, each way), or you could arrange your own taxi.

By rail:

Take the Heathrow Express www.heathrowexpress.com to Paddington - it takes 15 mins and costs approx £15 (depending on time of booking). Then take the train to the nearest station of Abergavenny. From London Paddington, via Newport, the journey can be as little as 2 hrs 20 minutes. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for timetables and fares. The farmhouse is a short taxi ride away from the station (about 20 minutes, £35) - there are usually plenty of taxis outside.

By road:

Renting a car - it's nice to have the flexibility when you are there, especially for longer stays, and the farmhouse is an easy 3 hour drive up the M4 from Heathrow. Please contact us for directions.

Airport: London Heathrow

Alternative Airport: Bristol

 

Programmes


Trans Wales Trail



A world class trail covering almost the length and breadth of Wales. This holiday is a chance to experience historic, beautiful and undiscovered countryside on a trusty native horse. The challenging route passes through four mountain ranges (The Black Mountains, Mynydd Eppynt, the Elan Valley and over Plynlimon) and ends with a final gallop on the beach near Aberystwyth. The routes are mostly forgotten bridleways, open moorland crossings and trails over private land and the guide (Paul) has over 20 years experience of riding these routes.

The trail covers 6 days and 7 nights, running Saturday to Saturday, and is only suitable for more experienced riders.

Saturday: Guests arrive after 5pm, settle in, meet the horses and get to know one another over a home-cooked dinner.

Sunday: You start with a local trail of around 12 miles, so that riders can get a feel for the horses and riding style. The group stops for lunch in a local pub, and afterwards heads up onto the mountain where the hill-riding really begins, and you earn spectacular views of Llangorse lake and the Brecon Beacons. You head back to Cwmfforest Farm for dinner, relaxing or a visit to the local pub, or perhaps an early night!

Monday: You set off in the direction of the coast. 8 miles of rolling farming country followed by 12 miles of fast open moors - without doubt a horseman's paradise. You stop at 2 inns along the way for refreshments before arriving at the comfortable 16th century Caer Beris Manor Country Hotel in Builth Wells on the River Wye for the night.

Tuesday: You keep west of the river Wye and take lunch at a 13th Century pub, (the oldest inn in Powys). The night is spent in a comfortable hotel in Rhayader, where one can normally do some souvenir hunting!

Wednesday: Today you cross the Lakeland of Wales - following the Elan Valley for 15 miles before stopping for a picnic lunch. The final 5 miles through a pine forest. The night stop is at the Blue Bell Inn, where you can relax with a drink, hot bath and a good dinner.

Thursday is a marathon day - 26 miles to the sea, crossing mountains with no trail to follow. Luckily your guide has been riding this route for over 20 years and knows his way! After a refreshing paddle in the waves and a gallop on the firm sand, you and the horses will be glad of the 90 mile lift home, stopping en-route for dinner at the Blue Bell Inn.

Friday: Depending on how your legs feel, guests can either enjoy a full day riding locally with lunch at a country pub, or a half day ride in the morning combined with an afternoon's visit to one of the nearby towns - Hay-on-Wye (world-famous for it's second-hand bookstores), Abergavenny or historic Llanthony Abbey.

Saturday: Bid farewell to your horse and fellow riders. Guests leave after breakfast.



Accommodation: Several nights are spent at the farmhouse with other nights at comfortable hotels and inns.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 13
Ability description: Strong Intermediate - Experienced: Riders will be crossing from the Black Mountains to the Irish Sea, covering great distances, mostly off road. Riders must therefore be fit, have good stamina, and be comfortable riding at speed.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: Long hours in the saddle.
Departure dates: 2017:
30 April-7 May (Fully Booked), 14-21 May, 11-18 June, 1-8 July, 15-22 July, 29 July-5 August, 12-19 August, 26 August-2 September, 17-24 September.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1350 30 April-7 May and 14-21 May only
£1400 All other June to September dates

Single supplement if not willing to share: £40 per night (may not be possible every night).

Prices include 7 nights full board accommodation (shared rooms) and riding as per itinerary. Drinks during pub lunches are not included.



Black Mountains Trail



This 6 day 7 night programme is a based stay that will put you and your horse through your paces over the most varied of terrains - mountain and moorland tracks, valleys and pasture land. Your hosts will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of the Welsh countryside. Their home-bred nimble Welsh cobs are ideally suited to the rough and hilly ground.

As well as improving their outdoor riding, throughout the week guests learn horse sense and skills. Guests are invited to take part in catching, grooming, and tacking up the horses, and are encouraged to develop a relationship with their horse. By the time you mount up on the first day, riders are likely to feel relaxed and comfortable with their horse.

Each day from Sunday to Friday you ride different trails - usually between 8 and 15 miles a day, stopping for lunch at village inns or remote picnic sites high up in the Black Mountains. You return to the farmhouse each night for a well-earned dinner and a comfortable bed.

You will ride up and down steep slopes, cross lofty summits, wade through rocky rivers, pass through dense woods and see the best of wilderness Wales. The cobs have fast acceleration, perfect handling and automatic survival instinct! Running on grass and water, they're more environmentally friendly than any machine!

At the end of the week, you will be a more relaxed, confident and knowledgeable rider, and hopefully be ready and keen to try one of the longer and more challenging trails next time.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 13
Ability description: Strong Novice - Experienced: Riders should be comfortable in walk, trot and canter and must bear in mind that groups will be divided by ability. Please bear in mind that although this is technically a based stay, it does still involve long hours in the saddle and strenuous hill riding so good physical fitness is required.
Type of ride: Based stay with day trails.
Total riding time: Long hours in the saddle.
Departure dates: 2017:
9-16 April, 23-28 April (short), 28 May-4 June, 25 June-1 July (short), 22-29 July (Royal Welsh Show), 10-17 September, 24 Sept-1 October.

**The Royal Welsh show date includes one special day where guests have a half day ride and then go to the Royal Welsh show to watch their host compete in the Hunt Team Relay - show entry fee of £26 is payable locally.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£800 per person sharing
There are also one or two slightly shorter dates (5 days riding) and these are £700 per person sharing.

Single supplement is £40 per person, per night. This is only charged for guests who specify a single room (ie. they are not willing to share).

Price includes full board accommodation and riding as per itinerary. Dinner on Wednesday night is not included during this trail as it is a night off for the cook. On this night guests are invited to eat out locally at their own cost. Drinks during the pub lunches are not included.





National Park Trail



This is a 6 day 7 night holiday, running Saturday to Saturday. A wonderful combination of a half week of based trails, riding out from the farmhouse, with a three day trail ride to finish. Riders will spend the first few days exploring the Black Mountains before heading out into Brecon Beacons National Park and on to Hay-on-Wye for a challenging three day trail. Not suitable for novices.

Saturday: Riders arrive, settle in, meet the horses and have dinner.

Sunday - Tuesday: 3 days spent exploring the local Black Mountains, riding between 10 - 15 miles a day, stopping for lunch at country inns or remote picnic spots, before returning to Cwmfforest Farm for a well-earned dinner and comfortable bed.

Wednesday: The trail to Hay begins with with an ascent over Rhiw Trumau and then down an old coach road to the Red Lion Inn at Llanbedr for lunch. After lunch you follow a valley path in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain to Forest Coal Pit, then ride across Bryn Arw finishing the day at the Skirrid Inn, the oldest pub in Wales, near Abergavenny. The horses are turned out and a cup of tea and slice of delicious cake awaits tired riders! Guests stay in a comfortable B&B and dine at the Skirrid Inn.

Thursday: You ride up Hatteral Ridge on 6th Century King Offa’s Dyke path, earning glorious views of the green fields of Herefordshire in England to one side, and on the other the vastness of Wales and the Black Mountains. You may drop down into Herefordshire to visit the Goat Company farm where there is the chance to buy Angora clothes, blankets and rugs - don't miss out on a pair of mohair socks! You then ride up on to Black Hill before descending Hay Bluff and Cusop Dingle towards your bed (and field!) in Hay on Wye.

Friday: Friday's route in the Black Mountains takes you into the Wye Valley where you visit the Three Horseshoes in Felindre. After lunch the horses are keen to head back to Cwmfforest, and you will be treated to a sensational gallop across Felindre Common!

Saturday: Riders leave after breakfast, having said goodbye (and thank you!) to their horses.



Accommodation: First few nights and last night are spent at the farmhouse with the nights in between spent at B&Bs and hotels.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 13
Ability description: Intermediate - Experienced. You will encounter challenging terrain and must be comfortable and capable when riding at speed.
Type of ride: Based stay and then a 3 day trail ride.
Total riding time: Long hours in the saddle.
Departure dates: 2017:
16-23 April, 7-14 May, 18-25 June, 8-15 July, 5-12 August, 19-26 August, 2-9 September.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1050 per person sharing
£40 per night single supplement (if not willing to share)

Price includes 7 nights full board accommodation and riding as per itinerary. Drinks during the pub lunches are not included.