Take a look at our tips for safe beach riding and if you’re lacking inspiration of where to go, check out our reader’s favourite beaches across the British Isles.
Safe horse riding on the beach
1. Always check if it is permitted on the beach you have chosen — visit www.bhs.org.uk for a list of beaches
2. Riding might be limited to certain times, days or areas
3. Ensure you know the boundaries of where you can ride — they might not always be visible
4. Avoid disturbing wildlife and plants — on dunes, stick to designated paths
5. Check there is a car park near the beach before you go for safe unloading
6. Be courteous to other beach users — remove any dung. And you won’t be popular if your horse kicks sand into a sunbather’s face…
Find the perfect beach for riding
This year 4 of us hired a box and driver and went to Formby beach [in Lancashire]. It was my first time riding on a beach and it was an experience I will never forget. The beach is perfect for long canters, gallops and paddling. It was a lifetime dream fulfilled and lived up to all its expectations.
Holy Island in Northumberland…. fabulous scenery, miles of sand and always quiet.
Holkham [in Norfolk] at 6.30 in the morning. No tourists about, total bliss!
I have been to Brean beach near Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. There is 7 miles of space to gallop and you can park on the beach — but there is a steep ramp to get down onto it. It’s fine in my 3.5t box and would be OK for a trailer but a 7.5t box would need to park elsewhere. It’s very tidal though so if the tide is out you won’t see the sea, and I would advise against trying to ride to it as the sand further out does get like quick sand. The beach is amazing for galloping on, but go early to avoid tourists as there are lots of caravan parks close by.
I use Camber beach in East Sussex as a giant sand school to do my stamina work, and I walk the horses off the day after a competition in the sea. There is a massive car park but in the summer you must be off the beach by 7:30am and can’t go on again until 7:30pm (it excludes weekends). However, in the winter I often have the beach to myself.
Mablethorpe beach [in Lincolnshire] — miles of perfect flat sand all to yourself with the odd pool to splash in! We take our hunters there for a few days at the end of the season to unwind.
When the tide is out at Ynyslas beach near Borth in Wales you can canter all the way up to Borth and the sand dunes are a lovely back drop!
Ogmore-by-Sea in South Wales is pretty good, and if the tide is not out there is always the sand dunes to ride through.
The Gower near Swansea has the most amazing beaches but my favourite for riding was Oxwich beach. I was fortunate enough to grow up a 5 minute ride away from it and galloping along it is 1 of my favourite childhood memories. Beach riding makes the winter all worthwhile — empty beaches so you can go flat out. Perfect!
Keel beach, Achill Island on the west coast of Ireland… stunning cliffs and scenery and a lovely long stretch for a gallop!
Benone and Downhill beaches which join together in Co Londonderry, Northern Ireland — fabulous views over to Donegal and you can see right round to Portrush and Portstewart on a lovely clear day. We really don’t know how lucky we are to have such great beaches here to ride on all year round!
Got to be Lunan Bay, North East Scotland.
Ettrick Bay on the Island of Bute.
Find out what rules and regulations you need to know about when riding on the beach