A new taxi service powered by Dales ponies will be covering Yorkshire’s tourist trails this summer

A Yorkshire woman has set up business as the only horse-drawn taxi service in the Yorkshire Dales with her pair of Dales ponies and six-seater carriage.

Charlotte Sowerby, 27, received a provisional taxi licence lasting one year from the district council last month. She now has to undergo a driving test and an inspection of her ponies and carriage before she is allowed to carry passengers.

“I’m planning to provide a sight-seeing service for tourists, rather than a real taxi service,” explains Charlotte. “However, to pick up customers from the roadside without breaking the law I have to be registered as a hackney carriage.”

The service will be based in Wensleydale market town of Hawes with hourly drives around the surrounding area during weekends and bank holidays. The carriage will also be available to book for longer drives during the week.

“I was originally planning to be up and running for the Golden Jubilee weekend but things have taking a little longer than I originally planned. I’m now aimingto carry my first passengers in July.”

Charlotte, who has ridden since she was a child, will be assisted in her new business by her two 14hh Dales ponies, 10-year-old Henry and 13-year-old Molly.

Richmondshire District Council leader John Blackie believes the service will be popular with tourists.

“Although horse-drawn carriage rides are usually associated with the seaside, the Yorkshire Dales is full of wonderful scenery so I expect the horse-draw taxi to be a great success, especially if we get some good weather.”

Charlotte, who has been building dry stone walls for the past five years, is aware that the unpredictable British weather could affect the success of her new venture, but she has plans to combat the problem.

I will carry large umbrellas and rugs to ensure my passengers stay warm and dry in bad weather, but hope I won’t need them.”

To find out more contact Charlotte (tel: 01969 667728) orvisit www.drivinginthedales.co.uk

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