Horse Riding on Dartmoor: Preparation


Childs Tomb

Dartmoor weather is changeable and challenging. Mists can come down in minutes, and be so dense you will be completely lost. A map and a compass is essential, and a GPS a useful backup. It can be very cold in the winter, and too hot in the summer. A strong wind can be tiring, and is probably the cause of the least enjoyable trips. Note the wind direction, and remember it may be very useful if you have to head into the fog, to recall which side of your face it was blowing on... It is always much colder and windier on the tops of the hills, so take extra clothes.

It is almost impossible to read a standard O.S. map in the wind and rain; the laminated sections of the riding guide maps make it a lot easier.

The past few years have seen the seasons so mixed up so that you can forget which season it is. Longer trips might be best in April to June and Sept to October. Some days, it can be so bad, you will neither want to or be able to ride out. Plan some alternatives and allow extra day(s) each side of your planned trip for this.

The Routes shown on the maps are what we have done in good weather; anything deeper into the moor and not on an obvious track should not be attempted in anything other than predictably clear weather.

Circular Route C, round the outside of the moor has been designed so that, if the weather gets bad, you are never very far from the edge of the moor, and finding your way off should be easier. The rides also avoid the military ranges, which are often out of bounds except during August