Horse riding in the Mendip Hills

I got back in the saddle a couple of weeks ago for a horse trek with my friend Emma and some of her friends, on a trip to celebrate Emma’s birthday. We headed down to the Mendip Hills (which weren’t where I thought they were!!) on a gloriously sunny July day and enjoyed an hour-long trek with Tynings Trekking. I got there a bit early, so I decided to have a little drive through nearby Cheddar Gorge before the ride. The scenery is spectacular, with towering cliffs bordering winding roads. Cheddar itself was very busy, particularly around the caves, so we’ll have to go back there during the winter when it’s a bit quieter.


Tynings Trekking School feels as though it’s in the middle of nowhere, though it’s actually quite close to Cheddar. There are no signs to it, at least not that I noticed, and you drive through a farm and wonder if you’ve come to the right place. Happily I had, and the next half an hour was spent filling in forms and waiting to be paired with our horses. Mine was called Barney and he was quite sweet.


Once everyone was on their horses, it was time to set off. The great thing about this particular trekking school is that there are no roads involved at all. You go straight onto the trekking trails from the farm, so you never see a car. The horses were well-behaved, though one or two of them did seem to take advantage of some of the less experienced riders – they were always helping themselves to grass!


We spent most of the time walking, which suited me fine, but occasionally there were opportunities for the more experienced riders to break away from the main group and do a bit of trotting and cantering. I declined to join the cantering group – still not got my confidence back – but I did do some trotting, so that was nice. The route was a nice mixture of woods and open moorland. The views over the Bristol Channel were spectacular (this iPhone photo doesn’t do justice!), and you could even see the airport, with an EasyJet plane parked and another on the way in.


I was actually quite surprised at there being moorland around this area – it put me in mind of Dartmoor, but I had no idea that there was moorland so close to Bristol.


Here’s one of me on Barney, taken by Karen, who kindly let me use the photo for this post. It was nice to be back in my riding gear after quite a few months of not riding.

Rachel riding Barney

When we got back, I untacked Barney and got a final picture of him before it was time to leave for the pub. I like his pink nose! It reminded me of our pony Oliver, when we were growing up. He had a pink nose too, and we used to have to put suncream on it in the summer.


My legs ached for days afterwards, but it was worth it for such a lovely outing! It was really nice to be able to get out into the countryside for a proper ride, rather than just going round and round an arena like I had to at my last stables. I’d definitely recommend Tynings Trekking if you ever want to do a nice hack, no matter what your experience level is.

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