When your children are inexperienced pony riders – in fact, our son, Peter, hadn’t even sat on one, let alone ridden one – it’s reassuring to find stables where the staff make you feel at ease from the moment you arrive; well, that’s what you can expect at the Lakeland Pony Treks (Note: since our visit is, the company is under new ownership and called Lakeland Pony Trekking).
Nestled in the Lake District’s beautiful Troutbeck Valley, just a short distance from Windermere and Ambleside, the stables occupy a favoured setting amongst the fells, alongside Limefitt Holiday Park.
You reach the stables by entering Limefitt and turning left on to a track which twists around to the stables. Originally, the barn, office and tack room were calf pens and cowsheds. Now, they’re home to the 12 horses and ponies, including two native Cumbrian Fell ponies.
The stables are open from March to mid-November, seven days a week, with the first ride of the day normally at 10am. The last is usually 4.15pm. You have to book by phone because there is no mains electricity at the yard to support a computer; it’s preferable to make a secured booking to avoid disappointment, but if you’re passing, it’s worth popping in to see if a pony is free.
The stables’ leaflet states: “…our carefully chosen rides and treks combine some of the finest views and stunning scenery that the Lake District has to offer. With direct access onto the tracks and bridleways of the fells, the majority of our rides have no road work.” It’s the ideal location for stables because within minutes you can be riding up over the side of the hills.
The friendly, knowledgeable staff don’t rush you; they also can adapt their approach to fit in with the standard of their visitors. So, it made for a pleasant morning for all of us, not just Hollie and Peter, when we visited. We opted for the half-hour supervised rein ride around Limefitt Park, which is suitable for children aged four plus and novice riders of all ages. It was an ideal stroll for my two kids, who were even given the chance to ride unaided for a short stretch.
There are four other ride options, ranging from hour-long rides to a three-hour trek for those experienced riders who can control a horse at walk, trot and canter.
At the time of our visit, prices ranged from £30 adults/£20 children for the 30-minute ride to £70 adult/£65 children for the three-hour ride (Note: since the company has changed ownership, Lakeland Pony Trekking has introduced prices which include £25pp for lead by a rein and £35pp for an hour’s ride on the fells).
I highly recommend a visit, not only to experience a ride on one of their wonderful ponies but to do it amid such stunning scenery.
Lakeland Pony Trekking
Cumbria LA23 1PA
t: 015394 31999