The Trans Wales Trail is a CRACKING point-to-point holiday that traverses the width of this modest-sized Celtic country. It’s a fast-paced ride hosted by a second generation Welsh family who were pioneers in the horse trekking business. You’ll be mounted on A-grade Welsh Cobs that are braver than their nation’s red dragon emblem. Wales may be compact, but she sure packs a punch when it comes to horses, landscapes and quirky folk.
On the Trans Wales Trail you’ll walk, trot and canter through four mountain ranges – The Black Mountains, Mynydd Epynt, the Elan Valley and over Plynlimon – before a final gallop on the beach near Aberystwyth. There is no namby-pamby treatment on this ride, it’s boots and all – the Welsh way! With that said, you’ll love the freedom that this ride offers. Yes, you’ll need to ride nose to tail on country roads and when tiptoeing through bogs and marshes BUT other than that, when the signal comes down the line to trot, canter or gallop (yep, plenty of these) you can spread out at your own discretion. As such, this particular holiday is for advanced riders who are also physically fit.
Some days involve saddlebag-packed lunches and other days, the horses are tied up to snooze while you drop into an ale house to enjoy a roaring fire, a pint of beer and a hearty meal. Every inch of this riding itinerary is positively Welsh – from the Welsh steeds to the crumbling Welsh castles to the quirky Welsh guides and hosts. Don’t discount Wales as a premier riding destination!
- Horse Breed:Fine, fit Welsh Cobs who will surprise you with their surefootedness and superb balance. Compact, intelligent and strong, they are ideally suited to the hills and mountains that will surround you.
- Pace:The pace is fast and varies on a daily basis, with lots of trotting, cantering and some gallops involved.
- Weight Limit:A maximum of 83kg / 182lbs.
- Type of tack:English all-purpose saddles *Please be advised that this is a hands-on ride (it’s the Welsh way) which includes pitching in to help at the end of each day. Not only will you have to help look after your horse, but you’ll also be required to assist with cleaning the saddles, bridles, girths and saddlecloths at the end of every day. For those accustomed to handing your horse to a groom, this might not be the right riding holiday for you.
- Seasons:May through to October.
- Group size:A maximum of 8 guests.
- Time in Saddle:Between 4 to 6 hours per day.
- Riding Ability:Suitable for advanced riders who enjoy a fast-paced ride. You’ll cross great distances from the Black Mountains to the Irish sea, over several mountain ranges, mostly off-road. You must be fit, have good stamina and be comfortable riding at speed over varied terrain, including downhill. Not sure what your riding ability is? Watch THIS video to find out.
- Accommodation:Various 3-star local hotel accommodation options in each town, including a 17th Century Welsh Longhouse, a boutique country house hotel, and a local pub. All rooms have either ensuite bathrooms or shared facilities down the hall.
- Ride Length:7 days, 6 nights, with 5 riding days.
The ride price includes 5 full days riding, 6 nights accommodation, all meals (from first day dinner through to last day breakfast) and luggage transportation throughout the ride.
Price excludes international flights, travel insurance, transfers to and from the ride, alcohol and drinks (other than water).
DEPARTURE DATES & RATES
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*Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.
It’s finally here, that moment when you touch down in Wales and make your way to Blaenau Farm to start your Welsh riding adventure… life is GOOD! You’ll be spending this holiday riding almost the entire length and breadth of Wales on native horses bred for the job, and you’ll experience some of the most historic, beautiful and undiscovered country in Britain. It’s a globetrotter’s dream! The route passes through four mountain ranges – The Black Mountains, Mynydd Epynt, the Elan Valley and over Plynlimon before a final gallop on the beach near Aberystwyth.
Using mostly forgotten bridleways, some open moorland crossings and several trails over private land, this is going to be a riding adventure that will leave a mark on your soul and have you talking about over a pint for years to come. Welcome to Wales!
You can arrive at Blaenau Bach B&B anytime after 5pm today. You’ll have time to settle in, meet the horses and get to know your fellow guests and hosts, Paul and Emily Turner, over a hearty home-cooked dinner.
Get ready to feel the wind beneath your wings as you experience your first taste of riding the tough Welsh Cobs who are purpose-bred for this type of riding. They’re athletic, they’re fast and they’ll go for miles, trit-trotting along the narrow lanes and galloping across the hillside. I dare you not to smile as you set off on your ride today, a local trail of around 12 miles (20km). I guarantee you’ll be grinning from ear-to-ear from the moment your backside hits in the saddle.
Despite being a shorter ride than what you’ll experience throughout the remainder of the week, today will give you the chance to get a feel for your horse and the free riding style of your hosts. You’ll stop for lunch at a local pub before heading up onto the mountain where the hill-riding really begins. It’s here that you’ll earn spectacular views of Llangorse Lake and the Brecon Beacons, before making your way back down to Blaenau Farm for a well-earned dinner. You’re also free to visit the local pub (approximately 10-minute walk) for an ale if you wish – don’t forget to take a torch to use on the way home!
Leaving Blaenau Farm in your wake, this morning you’ll set off in the direction of the Irish coast. Eight miles (12km) of rolling farming country followed by 12 miles (20km) of fast open moors – without doubt a horseman’s paradise! Prepare to gallop across the moor, jumping ditches and other obstacles as you follow your quirky Welsh host. This ride is certainly not for the faint of heart as you’ll be riding at break-neck speeds over uneven and varied terrain – it’s fast, it’s exhilarating and it’s a hell of a lot of fun!
You’ll stay the night at a comfortable hotel in Bulith Wells on the banks of the beautiful River Wye. (Wye not!)
You’ll keep west of the River Wye today, continuing along secluded bridle paths and more open moor country, before taking lunch at a 13th Century pub (the oldest inn in Powys). After lunch you’ll head towards Rhayader where you’ll leave the horses in a nearby field for the evening and bunk down in a comfortable hotel. Rhayader is usually a good place to do some souvenir hunting!
Today you’ll climb up over the hills out of Rhayader and cross the Lakeland of Wales, following the Elan Valley for about 15 miles (24km) before stopping for a picnic lunch beside a fast-flowing river. You’ll navigate through bogs and marshes, before reaching a beautiful tall pine forest where you’ll enjoy a super fast gallop! Get ready to squeal with delight for even the horses know what’s coming and will prance around on their toes when getting close to the place they’re given their heads and allowed to flatten out and go for a burn!
You’ll leave the horses in a local farmer’s field and be transferred down the road to the Blue Bell Inn where you can relax with a drink, a hot shower and a hearty dinner.
Your final day in the saddle (boo!) but you’ll well and truly get your saddle time in for today with a marathon day – 26 miles (40km) to the sea, crossing treacherous mountains covered with deep bogs with no trails to follow. Luckily your guide has been riding this route for over 20 years and knows his way around.
In the late afternoon you’ll reach the Irish sea at Borth, and after one final ‘pootle’ (remember, this is code word for high-speed gallop!) along the firm sand and a refreshing paddle in the waves, you and the horses will be glad of the 90 mile (150km) lift home to Blaenau Bach, stopping en-route for dinner at the Blue Bell Inn.
After one final hearty breakfast at Blaenau Bach, you’ll bid farewell to your horses and fellow riders and depart with fond memories of hurtling across the country of Wales, from one side to the other, at fast-paced, exhilarating speeds!
You will need to make your own way to our ride partner’s farm – Blaenau Bach – where the ride starts and ends, as there are no transfers available. Blaenau Bach is hidden in an unspoilt valley deep in the beautiful Black Mountains of mid-Wales, approximately 17 miles from Abergavenny, 3.5 hours’ drive or train ride from London, and 2 hours from Birmingham.
By car: Depending on which airport you fly into, you may wish to hire a car and drive to Blaenau Bach. You’ll be able to leave your car there for the duration of the ride.
By train: The nearest station is Abergavenny. From London Paddington, via Newport, the journey can be as short as 2 hours 20 minutes. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for timetables and fares. It is then a short taxi ride to the farm (about 35 minutes, £30-35). We recommend a friendly taxi driver named Barry, who you can call on 07854 696 747. If you tell him your arrival time, he will be there to meet you.
By bus: National Express coaches offer a speedy and comfortable journey from Heathrow Airport (and other airports) to Chepstow, where we can arrange a transfer to the farm. The coach trip takes 2 hours, and the drive from Chepstow is a further one hour. The coach ticket costs approximately £39.70 return (price subject to change), and the transfer is £70 – we can hook you up to meet others to share the cost. Full details and a journey planner can be found at www.nationalexpress.com
Guests also have the option of adding a further two days/two nights fully inclusive weekend onto their ride. For this to happen, Friday becomes a rest day to visit nearby Hay-on-Wye (the town of books) with its fantastic range of bookshops, vintage shops and cafes or Brecon. Then you’ll ride Saturday and Sunday on the local trails. Please contact us for pricing.
What our valued Globetrotters say about the Trans Wales Trail
‘This ride changed absolutely everything for me. The horses, the Welsh countryside and the pace – it all came together and has left me with lifelong memories. I was a little nervous initially, finding myself holding my breath before the first few gallops, but by the end, the whole group was waiting in eager anticipation of the next good run! Emily and Paul’s hospitality was immaculate and Rosie and Kirsty, the guides, were absolutely incredible. From the vast fields with wild ponies to the beach gallops at the end of the ride, the Trans Wales Trail has everything. I rode Firefly and Ruby, and both horses helped me feel confident with their surefootedness and knowledge of the trails. The whole herd is fit and very well looked after. One of the group members was doing the ride for the fourth time, and I can see why. I’ll absolutely be back!’
‘The Trans Wales Trail took my breath away! It is hard to put into words how thrilling this ride was. Every day I’d look at the clock and be completely blown away by how fast time flew by. Traveling across the width of Wales on sturdy, strong, well kept horses, sometimes at incredible speed, was a dream! You experience open moors, mountains, farm land, forests and the sea, all in one ride! I couldn’t recommend this enough.’
‘I had never done an equestrian holiday before our Wales trip. I explained to Laura and Kate what we’d like to do and they suggested the Trans Wales Trail. The experience was beyond what I could have hoped for. The scenery, horses we rode, guides, and hospitality of Emily and Paul were lovely. Every day was so different, with stunning scenery and challenging riding. I especially loved the forest rides, galloping along the mountainside, and of course the beach. Most importantly, we were prepared for the trip thanks to Laura and Kate – no surprises. There was constant communication right up until the day before our trek began, which I appreciated. All of the hard work of finding a quality holiday with sturdy horses and honest guides/hosts was already done by Globetrotting. We will never forget our riding experience and have already booked out next holiday! Thank you for a once in a lifetime experience.’