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UK - Short Break Cattle Drives, Dartmoor
Unique experience, herding cattle on a cattle drive across Dartmoor, the only one of it's kind currently in the UK

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Horse Riding Holidays UK – Dartmoor Short Break Cattle Drives

PRICES & DATES top

Dartmoor Short Break Cattle Drives: Prices & Dates 2020/2021

Explore the fantastic riding and scenery of Dartmoor, 4-5 hrs in the saddle, stopping for lunch, either picnic style or at one of the many local cozy Dartmoor pubs.
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These stays are for experienced riders only, moving cattle and pony drifting can be unpredictable and the terrain is more varied. The pony drifting in particular can be very fast.

Prices 2020

  • 3 nights
    $974
    • GBP: 745
    • EUR: 824
    per person sharing
    $1,072
    • GBP: 820
    • EUR: 907
    single room
    $850
    • GBP: 650
    • EUR: 719
    shepherd hut self catering

Dates 2020

14 – 17 June ‘Bulling cow muster’
12 – 15 July ‘Weaning muster’
23 – 26 August ‘Calving cow muster‘
27 September – 30 October ‘Cow and calf muster’

Prices 2021

  • 3 nights
    $1,033
    • GBP: 790
    • EUR: 874
    per person sharing
    $1,138
    • GBP: 870
    • EUR: 963
    single room
    $889
    • GBP: 680
    • EUR: 752
    shepherd hut self catering

Dates 2021

29 April – 2 May (Thurs-Sun) ‘Spring Turn Out’
13 – 16 June ‘Bulling cow muster’
11 – 15 July ‘Weaning muster’
22 – 25 August ‘Calving cow muster‘
26 – 29 September ‘Cow and calf muster’

Note: Rates are subject to daily exchange rate fluctuations, please refer to our ‘Terms & Conditions’ for full details.

Included – All your riding, guides, accommodation, breakfast and lunches either at the Inn, at Phil and Mandis farmhouse or local pubs en route, excluding the shepherd hut self catering option.

Excluded – Dinners (the Inn does great pub food or you might want to visit other restaurants in the area), drinks at pubs and tips.

Getting There
Drive or you could fly into Bristol airport.

Transfer
If driving to Meldon Farm is not an option, there are plenty of other ways to get there, please see suggestions below.

  • Exeter Airport & Train station is a 45 minute drive to Meldon Farm, the return transfer is £80 per car
  • By Bus, the nearest town is Okehampton which is on the A30, main trunk road. Meldon Farm will pick up from here at no extra charge.
  • Bristol airport is the next closest airport and has more airlines serving it as a destination. Transfer time is 2 hours and we advise hiring a car. We can also easily arrange a private transfer at an additional cost.

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

SUMMARY OF THE TRIP top

Ever fancied a spot of cattle herding but don’t fancy trekking all the way to the states – here’s the perfect solution – visit family owned Cattle Meldon Cattle Farm in Dartmoor which is run by husband and wife team, Philip & Mandi Heard and the only place to offer, genuine cattle driving in the UK.

This Dartmoor Work-hands riding holiday is such a unique experience and the only one of it’s kind currently in the UK. Philip & Mandi keep beef cows and sheep, plus a few ponies, which graze the farm and commons of Dartmoor where they have thousands of acres to roam over. Many towns or parishes have their own part of the moor called a common; many farms in the parish have common grazing rights attached to the land. Meldon Farm has rights to graze cattle, sheep and ponies.

The farm runs two herds of cattle. The first are Limousin x Friesian cows put to a Charolais bull and make use of the more fertile low lying land around the farm and produce fast growing high quality cattle, very popular with local cattle buyers and the second are Welsh Black Cattle. These are a docile hill breed that are excellent mothers and make good use of the poorer moorland grazing and these are the cattle that guests help to move at certain points of the year, like taking them out of their winter housing to the their first pasture of the season.

It’s a great way to see Dartmoor and get involved with a real working farm, plus all the horses have either an English or a Western saddle, so you really can get to feel like a proper cowboy! Apart from herding the cattle, there’s also some lovely riding out, lasso lessons, natural horsemanship demonstrations and a variety of other things to occupy guests depending on the time of year.

THE RIDING top

Dartmoor Cattle Drive: Horses – A mix of Thoroughbreds & Quarter horses.

Dartmoor Cattle Drive: Level of Riding & Pace – Intermediate plus riders only, must be able to ride forward going horses under control in open countryside.

Tack – Each horse can be ridden either in a Western or English saddle, it’s your choice on how you want to ride.

Dartmoor Cattle Drive: Weight Restriction – 15 stone / 210 lbs / 95 kg.

Dartmoor Cattle Drive: Group Size – Maximum 8.

ACCOMMODATION top

Phil & Mandi use a lovely, old style Inn just 10 minutes down the road from the farm and they come and collect you in the morning and take you back at the end of the day. The Inn is run by Sue and her husband, he works as the chef in the downstairs pub and restaurant. Sue will take great care of you and you can look forward to lovely big rooms, comfy beds, fluffy towels in the bathroom and a full cooked breakfast each morning.

Afternoon lunches are either at the farmhouse or at a local pub en route and this is also the same for evening meals. Phil and Mandi will also host barbeque evenings at the farm, with scrummy sausages and burgers all locally produced, washed down with the local beer and cider, with some country music playing the background and the chance to practice the art of lassoing!

And a new addition to the accommodation option is 2 Shepherd Huts, which are self catering and on site at the Farm. Each are very cosy, one has a double bed, the other two singles, (linen provided) each has a 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 in the huts also have use of the guest lodge with kitchen/diner and bathroom facilities.

COVID19 Accommodation Update

If the local hotels remain shut over the summer, there is now the option to stay safely at the farm with social distance measure in place in the 2 Shepherd Huts PLUS there will be 3 very comfortable Bell Tents erected to accommodate riders, they are large and airy and include inflatable beds. This option will also include the addition of an evening meal.

Horse Riding Holidays like our Cattle Herding Farm holiday are part of the Zara’s Planet collection of Horse Riding Holidays UK.

Please Ask About

Phil & Mandi also rent out a holiday cottage which is in Sennen Cove, Cornwall. It has spectacular views across the harbour and is recently refurbished to a high standard, think white walls, light blue soft furnishings and a wood burning stove. It’s a great option if you want to have a combination holiday of activity in Dartmoor followed by chilling out by the sea! It’s 90 miles from the farm and takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach.

SAMPLE ITINERARY top

Autumn Cattle Clearance – Here’s an idea of what you might experience day to day on a horse riding holiday here at Meldon Farm.

Sunday

Arrive at Meldon in afternoon, meet family and ride leaders, meet horses and ride out for assessment and horse suitability. Check in at accommodation in evening, where guests can use the hotel restaurant for their evening meal (not included).

Monday

Pick up at 9.30am after breakfast and off to Meldon around 10.00, mount up around 10:30, head off across Sourton & Bridestowe common checking the cattle, on past the old ice works, along the peat works tramway, across Southerly Down arriving at the Fox & Hounds Inn for lunch, where the horses are tied up outside. Home via Nodden, Sourton Tor across Prewley Moor to arrive home at approx 4:30 for afternoon tea and home-made cakes, back to hotel around 6.00.

Tuesday

After breakfast we head off to round up a small bunch of cattle on Sourton Common and return them to Meldon Farm for the winter.

Wednesday

It's your final day and a full day of riding. After Breakfast we head out again for a bigger bunch of cattle, returning them to Meldon Farm, where they are sorted and housed for the winter. A final afternoon tea with cake and farewell to everyone at the farm.

Itinerary is not fixed & likely to alter on a daily basis depending on weather conditions and work being done at Meldon.

DESTINATION MAP top

Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

We have travelled the world testing a huge variety of horse riding holidays to make sure we offer you, our client, the best horse riding holiday experience possible.

Our horse riding holidays are thoroughly researched – we consider all the elements that go towards making our horse riding holidays collection the best in the world. We check the quality of the horses, if they are fit for the job, well produced and looked after. We make sure the riding terrain is good going, the countryside is interesting and, for example, on Classic Dressage horse riding holidays, the arenas are in good condition. We make sure the accommodation, whether it’s a five star hotel, a farmhouse or camping, is clean and comfortable, and offers a great night’s sleep. The food is all important too – we take the time to make sure we tell you if it’s cordon bleu, home cooked, or regional and locally sourced – above all it has to be delicious, plentiful and nourishing. Last but not least, we choose the horse riding holidays that have the best hosts, who are friendly, warm and welcoming.

It’s only when all these elements come together that we add a horse riding holiday into our hand-picked collection of horse riding holidays.

If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holidays collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.

CHECK AVAILABILITY top

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UK Holidays Testimonials

Pat on Wellow Farm Horse Riding Holidays, UK

We had a great time and as a horsey person (Riding for the Disabled Volunteer) we loved staying in the modern holiday cottage in the stable yard. The riding was superb on good horses on some of the best on and off road routes and fields in the south-west. My family from Australia will be

Pat from Norfolk, UK