Dartmoor Cattle Drive

7 Daysย  |ย  From ยฃ1920pp

England ( Best airport: Exeter)

Move hundreds of Scottish Highland cattle over the vast Dartmoor landscape โ€‹on well-trained Quarter horses with accommodation in a traditional Dartmoor inn or hotel. A rare chance for โ€‹confident riders to join the UK’s only cattle drive.

The Riding

The terrain involves crossing streams, shallow rivers, undulating ground and up and down steep inclines and would not be suitable for novice or inexperienced riders. Cattle respond well to being moved by horses, the cattle are not threatened and have a natural respect for the horses. The horse walks at much the same speed as the cattle and often anticipates the cattles movements. The riders work as a team with most flanking at the sides of the herd with just a couple at the rear, and one or two at the head. Each rider will have a position and a job to do, depending on their ability.

Each spring, the young calves go out with their mothers to learn their grazing areas, where the water is and where to return home to. On Dartmoor the herds grazing area is called their โ€˜learโ€™ and each owner’s herd of cattle will have its own โ€˜learโ€™. Depending on the time of year, the activities on each of the Cattle Drives will change:

Level of Riding and Fitness

The Cattle Drive is for intermediate riders onwards. You should be confident riding at a walk, trot and canter in open countryside and with loose cattle. Riders should be relaxed in the saddle and ride with soft hands. Riders do need to be reasonably fit as there is between 4-6 hours in the saddle each riding day. Hard hats and boots with a heel are compulsory at this destination.

Age range is 18 to 65, experienced 14 โ€“ 17 year olds are accepted if accompanied by a riding parent/guardian. Upper age limit is discretionary depending on rider fitness and experience. The maximum weight is 15 Stone (95kg).

Guides and Group Size

Your guides, Phil and Mandy, are experienced local horse-people with a herd of around fifteen horses to offer guests. This destination specialises in a personal, laid back experience and is the only cattle drive on horseback taking place in the UK.

Maximum number of riders in a group is 8.

The Horses

There is a selection of fantastic Quarter Horses at this ranch. Known for their calm attitude and appetite for work, all are western trained, very sure footed, a pleasure to ride and cross the terrain with ease. Heights range from 14:3 to 16:2hh. Your hosts for this ride often start and back their own horses to suit the type of work, all must be sensible with good manners. In total there are 15 horses.

The tack is all Western and youโ€™ll also be provided with saddle bags for carrying daily essentials.

Dartmoor Cattle Drive

Accommodation and Dining

Accommodation is provided at a local hotel. Depending on availability these range from a beautifully traditional 16th century Devonshire pub with rooms to a welcoming bolthole perched on the banks of the West Dart River, with beautiful countryside in every direction. Rooms are twin or double with en suite (single rooms available for a supplement). All rooms include towels and Wifi.

Shepherd Hut Glamping option
We can also offer an โ€˜On farmโ€™ stay option staying in one of theโ€˜shepherd hutโ€™ style accommodations. Each are very cosy, one has a double bed, the other two singles, (linen provided) each has wood-burning stove (wood provided) table and chairs and seating. Outside there is a fire-pit with utensils etc for open air cooking. Guests staying โ€˜on farmโ€™ also have use of the beautiful guest lodge with kitchen/diner bathroom etc.
We provide the ingredients for your breakfast, bread, cereals, milk etc and we provide lunch on riding days.
We donโ€™t provide an evening meal, guests can cook their own meals on the camp fire or eat out at one of many local eateries.

Breakfasts are usually buffet style offering a choice of a more continental breakfast such as pastries, cereal, yogurt, fruit or a traditional full English; bacon, eggs, beans toast etc. Lunch is a picnic eaten at a picturesque spot on the trail that includes sandwiches, crisps, fruit and a biscuit. Dinner is not included but can be provided by the accommodation you stay at (usually modern British cuisine such as fish and chips, burgers, pies) or at other local eateries which your host will be happy to recommend to you. Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice.

Get a free Dartmoor Cattle Drive mini-brochure in PDF format.


Dartmoor Cattle Drive

7 days / 6 nights / 5 days riding

Single occupancy 2024: ยฃ180
Glamping accommodation (instead of hotel): ยฃ1730

Flights & Airport transfers
The closest airport is Exeter. Return transfers from Exeter Airport, train or bus station from ยฃ150 per booking. Please plan to arrive at Exeter after 2pm on the first day of your holiday. Depart after 9am on the last day of your holiday.

We recommend catching the train that runs from Exeter to Okehampton; a return ticket is in the region of ยฃ10. Transfers from Okehampton station to the accommodation are ยฃ20 return.

Price Includes
  • 5 full days of riding
  • Trail riding horse, tack and saddlebags
  • Twin/double room
  • Breakfasts
  • Lunches
  • Tea, coffee and mineral water
  • Daily transfers from accommodation to the farm
Price Excludes
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Evening meals
  • Drinks