Derwent Reservoir – Peak District 01.12.16

This is a dead easy one (and boy is it beautiful!)
So, to Derwent from us is around 45 mins. We boxed up with thermals, maps and lunch. The aim really was to get our bearings today, there’s a lot of potential riding round here but much of the routes look fairly untouched. 

Henry was back in action after a strange lame week, and the route being dead easy was a brill choice to get him back in the swing of things. 


Our starting point is the main car park at Derwemt, which is easy to park in, has really helpful staff and a cafe and loo (RESULT!) from here you pretty much follow a quiet lane/road all the way round the outside of the reservoir. With our lunch stop being the top point of the route (and my favourite little spot in the Peak District) Slippery Stones. The route is brilliantly quiet, occasional bikes and cars but very few and far between and enough space for everyone, the second part of the journey is a footpath and we barely saw a soul. 


Now in summer, this would have been a very different ride. I’ve been to slippery stones before and it’s been like a tourist attraction, I’ve never been the only person there, untill now. 


Lunch spots just don’t get much better than that now do they H? 

The way back the footing is slightly harder for a barefoot horse, Henry was fine but took it slower. The Tarmac at the beginning was much easier than a gravel track for him. Nevertheless the ride is nice and you follow the windy route back along the water until you reach the car park. 


All in all it’s about 3.5 hours, but there are several options for routes up and over the surrounding hills and mountains that we’re eager to explore.

There’s a hitching post so you can tie up and have a tea/coffee on return which is lovely. I found this a really nice stress free ride. Here’s the route for you!


 Happy trails  
Xxx

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Mam Tor, Castleton – Peak District 04.11.16

It was a blustery day, and the rain was battering the van on the way through to Edale. Henry didn’t feel 100% on a hind hoof that morning (I suspected an abscess brewing) so I borrowed Rocket a friends Welsh D for the trip instead. This wasn’t the day to take a horse that wasn’t 100%. 

Edale is a beautiful town in the north of the Peak District, unfortunately due to road works we struggled to get to the car park in Edale which was our original plan so we detoured and went to park in Castleton visitor centre car park instead. Both of these towns are at the base of Mam Tor ‘the mother mountain’ which sets a beautiful back drop to the quaint stone houses and pubs. 

The accent was up an old disused road, the A625 (which in itself is quite a climb)! The road was closed in 1979 due to a slow moving landslide and has warped and twisted over the years and at points is falling off the side of the cliff. It’s a popular walking route, and we were joined on our hike by walkers, cyclists and school children. 


The majority of this ride is a climb and is not for the faint hearted (or a horse who’s unfit) you’re riding through desolate parts of the peaks where there is nothing, no people and no phone signal. I don’t doubt that with more planning you could choose a more well trodden route, but the route we chose over the mountain and back again, for the most part looked fairly untouched by anyone other than farmers.

It took about 6 hours over and back, there’s some low land places to stop for lunch and the majority of the trails are well marked providing you’ve had a look at a map before but there’s nothing really in the way of a pub or a shop that we could see. A word of warning, this ride is a much smarter idea in good weather as the mountain is rather brutal, my hands have never been that cold before! Remember to tell someone where you’re going and your planned route before you set off, it wouldn’t be hard to lose track of yourself. 


Scary talk aside, the atmosphere and the views from Mam Tor are stunning, there really is nothing like it and the terrain is super good for your horse. I felt like it was a challenge for even rocket, who is super strong and sure footed. 

Sherwood Forest 25.9.16

Our first adventure away from home! 

I’ve always been so scared of just boxing Henry up and going out, which is ludicrous really, I live on the edge of some of the best riding the UK has to offer. It’s a silly phobia I think lots of people have, I know countless people who have their own transport that they don’t use unless it’s a show day or a vet appointment and fail to see the miles of spectacular riding that’s so close to home! 

So, with my big girl pants on, the horses were loaded and we were off to Sherwood Forest for the day. 

From Sheffield, Sherwood Forest is an hour or so down the M1, it’s really easily accessible from anywhere in the UK really as the road links are brilliant and the car park allowed for super easy parking of our van and trailer combination. We parked right next to the visitors centre, mainly so we could have a tea and loo stop before loading back up. 

Sherwood Forest is a fairly easy ride, there’s nothing too scary (other than lots of school children) it’s all flat and surfaced, the gates are all friendly and there’s lots of maps. It’s also great because you can tailor it to how long you want to go for, if you only want to do an hour that’s fine, and if you want to go all day that’s fine too, the routes all interlink so you can add bits on and take bits off. 

This is the route we took, mapped out using Iride Live. We only hit one small piece of quiet village road which was more due to a wrong turn than anything else, the rest was open and accessible woodland with logs to jump and views to admire. 


Now lunch was a slightly more tricky aspect because our half way point was a little out of the way, it would have been much easier to stop at the visitor centre for lunch before carrying on but we didn’t plan for that, we planned for ‘finding a bench’ which failed and we ended up picnicking in the undergrowth with the horses which actually was rather lovely, other than having to share your lunch with 16hh of greedy horse. 


After lunch we had a fairly quiet stroll back to the car (with some clearings to blast through) Sherwood Forest is such a gorgeous place wether you do it on foot or on a bike or a horse, I felt like this was the confidence boosting trip away from home both me and Henry needed, he’s never boxed up and gone out for the day, and usually has major issues about leaving home, which was why I was apprehensive in the first place. 



There’s room to tie up at the visitor centre to give the horses a break and a snack before boxing back up. The boys had lots of nice attention from people walking past wanting to say hello, it was all really lovely, especially for them to be in that environment. 

Remember to bring your halter, and my clip on reins from Total Horsemanship are perfect for clipping and unclipping in situations like this. I couldn’t be without them.