Black Mountains Exploratory Trail Ride
Itinerary (6 nights - 5 full days riding)
Sunday (night 1)

The week’s holiday normally starts on a Sunday evening. If travelling by train, we will meet you at Abergavenny station at around 5.00pm. Later on,  we will collect you from your accommodation and you will be welcomed at a local village inn by Myfanwy, your host. Over dinner meet your fellow riders and talk about the programme for the week ahead.

After dinner, you retire to your accommodation to prepare for the week ahead.

Monday (day 1 / night 2)
After a hearty Welsh breakfast, you will arrive at the stables around 9.30am and be introduced to your mount, who will be fed, groomed and tacked up and waiting for you. Around 10.30am we are all ready to leave. 

lake viewToday is s day ride which heads for the hills towering above Llangorse Lake (Llyn Syfaddan). Reaching 1,645 feet, once we get to the top there is the chance for some long canters, and you may even see some of our beautiful Welsh mountain ponies roaming the hilltop, as their ancestors have done for thousands of years. for lunch, we descend either to the Farmer’s Arms Inn in the village of Cwmdu, which nestles in the valley between Tretower and Talgarth, or we visit the New Inn in Bwlch, a village located in a col high above the Usk valley. After lunch, we ride along bridleways between the hills, before returning to Llangorse. 

This day will allow you to get used to your horse and provides a foretaste of what is to come. Tomorrow, the journey through the Black Mountains really begins!!!

Tuesday (day 2 / night 3)

After breakfast, everyone participates in catching, feeding, grooming and tacking up his or her horse ready for the day’s ride ahead. There is always someone on hand to help for those less familiar with these tasks. The first part of the ride takes us along leafy, flower-lined lanes to the Black Mountains. We have a steep climb of around 2,000 feet ahead of us. The trail then drops down through a beautiful valley to our picnic lunch stop, at the ruins of the Hermitage.

After lunch we skirt the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain (1,955 feet), and ride through ancient oak woods. There will be plenty of opportunities for good long canters before arriving at Pant-y-gelli. By the time we arrive, we will have spent approximately six hours in the saddle since leaving Ellesmere stables, and you will be looking forward to a relaxing bath and dinner at a local hostelry. 

Wednesday (day 3 / night 4)
On departure, we ride along the eastern edge of the Sugar Loaf, then follow quiet byways to the remote church at Patrishow, where we have lunch. Dating back to mediaeval times, this small church is renowned for its marvellous wall paintings, which survived the austerity of Cromwell’s Commonwealth to be enjoyed by visitors today.

Riding onwards, we enter the quiet stillness of the Mynydd Du forest, where you should be able to find a jump or two! Climbing upwards, we leave the forest and ride onto the bleak moorland of Bal Mawr, before crossing into the Vale of Ewyas, with the 12th century Llanthony Priory far below. Destroyed during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, one tower was subsequently rebuilt as a hunting lodge.
Dinner this evening is taken at the Skirrid Inn, reputedly the oldest public house in Wales. Once a rallying point for Owain Glyndwr, the Skirrid became infamous as the seat of the Assize Courts where manty a foot-pad, highwayman and sheep rustler was tried, and between the 12th and 17th Centuries, as many as 180 persons may have met their end hanging from a beam, as the ultimate penalty for their crimes was carried out.

Thursday (day 4 / night 5)
From the centre of Llanthony village, where the horses have spent the night, we ride along the floor of the Llanthony Valley (Vale of Ewyas) and pay a visit to the unique church at Cwmyoy. The origins of this church are wrapped in mystery, but one thing is certain, it is ancient and dates back at least to the Middle Ages. It is unique because no part of it is square or at rtight angles with any other part. This striking irregularity is due to the underlying rock, which is in fact part of a huge landslide, that continues to move to the present day. 

On leaving Cwmyoy, we cross the top of the landslip and pass between huge monliths of stone, before the steep, stony climb to the top of Hatterall Hill (1,726 feet high). Riding along Offa’s Dyke path, originally part of an earthwork built by the 10th century King Offa to separate his civilised Saxon kingdom from the maurading Welsh, it now offers spectacularly views out across Herefordshire as far as the Malvern Hills in the east, whilst westwards are magnificent views of the mountains.

After lunch, we follow bridleways below Bryn Arw to Five Ways, then follow an ancient stone path that was part of the Pilgrims' Way to St David's far to the west. before the climb to the Gaer, an Iron Age hill fort with superb views up the Gwyne Fawr and Llanthony valleys. From here, we follow the hilltop above Llanthony wood, before descending down forestry tracks to the night's stop.

Friday (day 5 / night 6)
At the start of our 20 mile ride back to Llangorse, we climb the steep track out of the Llanthony Valley, following forest tracks and crossing "Windy Ridge", before having a picnic lunch in the woods.

Afterwards, we follow a grassy carriageway to the top of Pen Trumau (2,005 feet), followed by a long steep descent (you will have realised by now our Welsh hills have very few flat bits!!). We have a final long canter along the foot of Mynydd Troed before arriving back at the stables in Llangorse. 

Your horses will then need untacking,feeding and grooming for a final time, before they are turned out into their field for a well earned rest! 

You can expect to be able to leave on Saturday, after breakfast. If taking the train, we will arrange for you to return to Abergavenny station in time for your departure.

This itinerary is typical of a week-long exploratory trail ride. However, the route and content taken may vary slightly dependent upon weather conditions and the availability of accommodation. 

PRICE FOR 2021 - £1656

  • Price includes: horse and tack, accommodation, all meals (breakfast, packed lunch / pub lunch, evening meal - excluding drinks) services of a guide and transport of luggage. Extra night's accommodation before or after the trail ride can be arranged at £120 per rider per night (bed, breakfast and evening meal).
  • Single supplement for requested single occupancy rooms applies at £10 per night.
 Last updated 14 March 2021
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