Welsh Mountain Ride

by Darley Newman

Ride in the Cambrian Mountains in Wales with a longtime horseman and learn about this rural area.

The moors seemed to roll on endlessly as Charlie and I began our ride towards the next challenging part of our trek, a boggy forest that would lead us to our final destination, a secluded mountain lake. I was in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales filming for our PBS TV show Equitrekking, but our film crew was nowhere to be seen. All around me were panoramic views of the numerous greens in the patchwork countryside. While our crew sometimes rides, they decided to save time and drive to the lake instead of joining Charlie and me on the challenging trek over the mountains. Truthfully, I think they feared being saddle sore.

Charlie has been leading riders through this rural farming area in West Wales for over 30 years, and he’s quite a rider. The area is sustained mostly by agriculture, but has a history of coal and gold mining. It’s a quiet place and natural. The terrain is such that in order to travel up into the hills, you must either walk or ride horses. Charlie and I became more and more immersed in the wheat colored grass that grew up to our Welsh Cob’s bellies as we continued on.

I was riding in another area where trusting my horse was vital. Beneath the blonde grass was the sometimes-treacherous sticky, wet soil. I had to rely on my horse to wind through, stepping in the right places so we wouldn’t sink and get stuck. The Cambrian Mountains are called the desert of Wales and prized for these open expanses.

Once we hit the forest, the ride got more difficult and the scenery more magical. My horse’s hooves sunk a bit with each step as we crossed a muddy area amid the damp, moss covered forest, where vibrant red mushrooms populated the fuzzy ground. I knew we’d all be glad to reach the lake and firmer ground for a rest. We did some roadwork on the way back home from the lake that day, opting not to get lost in the desert of Wales after dark. It was I who was saddle sore, but utterly satisfied, after trekking through the peaceful countryside of Wales.

Learn more about riding in Wales on an equestrian vacation with EquitrekkingTravel.com