The Dartmoor Cattle Drive

Dartmoor England: (IT-ENG02)

Dartmoor England
Attend and be a part of the only cattle drive in the UK!

Whether it is your first time on a drive, or you've done it before, ever rider will play their part in helping out move, muster, and checking cattle. Each day you'll mount up and tend to the cattle depending on their needs and the season. Cattle respond well to being moved by horses as horses are quiet and the and the cattle have a natural respect for them. The horse walks at much the same speed as the cattle and often anticipate the cattle movements.  Riders work as a team with most flanking at the sides of the herd with just a couple at the rear, and one or two at the head. There is always a lead cow who the others follow. Ours is called ‘Dunny’ and is a lighter colour than the rest. She is a young cow, the job used to be her mothers’, (same colour) when she was with the herd. Each rider will have a position and a job to do, depending on their ability. Driving cattle is  immensely satisfying, doing something that has barely changed for hundreds of years. The type of country we ride over has some breathtaking scenery and varies, through woodland, along valley bottoms,  up steep inclines, down steep declines, across rivers, through rock clitter (rock strewn areas) and over hill tops, where you can look down on everything around. Get ready to head 'em up and move 'em out!



This is a stationary ride, so all nights are spent at the same location.

The Castle Inn is a traditional 16th century inn of great character resting on the fringes of Dartmoor National Park. They have a total of 8 bedrooms, all ensuite and privately decorated. All the rooms offer tea and coffee making facilities, hair dryers, flat screen television, bath sheets, hand towels and complimentary toiletries. WIFI is available onsite. The Inn has its own restaurant/pub, where you can order dinner. Laundry is available at the farm for an additional fee.

**Camp-outs are possible upon request for an additional fee. Please inquire

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory if we are unable to find another rider to share.

Breakfasts, picnic lunches, and a snack after rides (tea and cakes) are included. Dinners are not included, but guests are free to make use of the Castle’s excellent restaurant or eat out elsewhere in the evening. Breakfast will either be at the Inn or the farm while lunch will either be at the farm, a packed lunch, or en-route at one of many fabulous local pubs.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to dietary restrictions given prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding Level & Terrain
Riders need to be reasonably fit and at least a strong intermediate standard or better. Riders are expected to have ridden several different types of horses and can independently manage a horse’s care. Their seat is secure, they are able to control a horse at walk, trot and canter and do not apply unintentional aids to the horse when they lose balance or become unseated. They know how to rise or post to the trot and ask for and obtain a specific lead or change in lead. They are capable of riding a less experienced horse.
The terrain involves crossing streams, shallow rivers, undulating ground, up and down steep inclines, and would not be suitable for novice or inexperienced riders. 

Tack and Riding Style
We normally ride Western, however we can provide English saddles if the guests requests. Our style of riding is very much akin to ‘Natural Horsemanship’. We like riders to be relaxed and ride with soft hands.

We have a selection of fantastic Quarter Horses with calm attitude and appetite for work. All are western trained, very sure-footed and a pleasure to ride. We also have a selection of Irish hunters (some western trained some English style), all a pleasure to ride and cross the terrain with ease. Heights range from 14:3 to 16:2hh.

The guides are all local moor men or women, who know the moor well. They know where the best crossings are, and where to avoid, as there are areas where it is unsuitable for horses. Some of the guides are members the Dartmoor Rescue Group; some are range clearers for the army on the moor. All are excellent equestrians, and are first-aid trained.


Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Day 1
We will meet all the clients at the welcoming Castle Inn Lydford in the evening for a briefing about what to expect from their stay.

Day 2
Clients are collected from the Castle Inn after breakfast and taken to Meldon Farm where they meet their assigned horse.
Today's ride is all about making sure the rider and horse are compatible. We will ride in the morning for 4-5 hours, with a stop for lunch. Lunches each day will be carried in saddle bags. Return to the Castle Inn in the evening. Evening meal at the Castle Inn.
Riding: 4-5 hours

Day 3 to 6
We will be doing various cattle moving tasks, 4 - 5 hours riding with a stop for lunch, lunch will be taken with us in saddle bags each day.
**for the 4-day trip, your ride finishes in the evening of Day 4 at 5:00pm 

Day 7
Departure in the morning.

2019 Dates

7 days/ 6 nights
28th April – 4th May ‘Spring cattle turn-out’   
16th June – 22nd June ‘Bulling cow muster’     
14th July – 20th July  ‘Weaning muster’         
18th Aug – 24th Aug ‘Calving cow muster’   
22nd Sept – 28th Sept ‘Cow and calf muster’    

4 days/ 3 nights   
16th – 19th June   ‘Bulling cow muster’                          
14th  – 17th July    ‘Weaning muster’                                          
18th – 21st Aug  ‘Calving cow muster’          
22nd- 25th Sept    ‘Cow and calf muster’

What the work involves:

‘Spring cattle turn-out’ May
The cows and autumn born calves are moved from their winter quarters up on to the moor for the summer, a distance of about 8km.

‘Bulling cow muster’  June
Some spring calving cows need to be brought down to the farm to run with the bulls for the summer.

‘Weaning muster’ July
The cows and calves need to be brought back to the farm for weaning

‘Late summer turn-out’ August
The cows that have been running with the bulls for the summer are drove back to Dartmoor

‘Cow & calf muster’ End of September through October
The freshly calved cows need to come down to better grazing near the Farm as winter approaches.

‘Autumn round up’. End of October.
All cattle need to be gathered off the moor by 1st November.

Our routine is very much governed by the weather, which can be changeable, occasionally preventing us from going on the moor. During any stay guests are free to take a day out of the saddle, if they wish, and explore the area, the granite way cycle route is 200m from the farm, you can cycle or walk to Okehampton (5km), or just relax and put your feet up. We have 2 acre coarse fishing lake, or crystal clear rivers to bathe in.

Rates and Dates for The Dartmoor Cattle Drive

Rates include:

All accommodation, breakfasts, lunch, tea & cakes after riding each day. 5 (or 3) riding days

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionGBP ~US$
    20197-day trip, B&B£1195$1600
    • Single supplement£150$200
  • B
    20194-day trip, B&B£745$1000
    • Single supplement£75$100
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.34

Rates Note:

Camping out possible, please inquire

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Camping out possible, please inquire

Transfer and Other Charges:

2019 Transfer from Exeter, roundtrip, per car
This is a "Group Rate"
£ 80 $115

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 09/22 - 09/28 7d / 6n 7-day trip, B&B 2 /8 Expired
B 2019 09/22 - 09/25 4d / 3n 4-day trip, B&B 2 /8 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Dinners, gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Castle Inn Lydford
Airport: Exeter
Transfer: Exeter

                                            Okehampton area














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Source: NOAA

Dartmoor has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than locations at similar height in the rest of England. The weather year round varies from approximately 5 °C - 18°C. July and August are the warmest months and the fall and winter sees more rainfall. However, you should keep in mind that Dartmoor is known for its changeable weather.

The Farm sits at 800 ft, we rise to 2,000ft where it can be quite a bit cooler than at the farm. We strongly recommend warm riding wear and good riding waterproofs, a long slicker type is usually the most practical.

What To Bring:
What to bring

'There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing!’

Meldon Farm sits at 800 ft, we rise to 2,000ft where it can be quite a bit cooler than at the farm, we strongly recommend warm riding wear and good riding waterproofs, a long slicker type is usually the most practical.
  • Riding hat (mandatory- best to bring your own because we only have a very limited supply and cannot guarantee fit)
  • Boots with heels are also mandatory
  • Comfortable warm riding wear, jeans, polo shirts, jumpers, fleece shower-proof coat etc.
  • Chaps full or half. (optional)
  • Waterproof coat, ‘Drizabone’ slicker type is recommended
  • Lip balm and sun cream
  • Casual evening wear