While there are no set guidelines about horse riding on the beach in the UK in terms of permits and approvals, you should understand that some beaches are privately owned and some are owned by the local authority. Due to this some require permits to allow riders to use them, while others request “courteous use”.
You may also come across conservation areas — certain areas may be Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and therefore out of bounds.
However, most authorities prefer that horses are not taken on the beach between 10am-6pm during the peak season, which is usually from April to September.
Horse riding on your local beach
If you interested in riding on your local beach, the first step is to ask your local authority about its own guidelines. For example Gwynedd in Wales allows safe riding on the beaches between 1 October and 31 March, providing people do not gallop or “cause danger or annoyance to other users”.
While there are no laws about removing horse dung from beaches, given that dog owners are requested to pick up their dog faeces, many councils kindly request that horse owners either remove their dung, or at least move it away from the shore area, as a courtesy to other beach users.
Remember, creating a good impression gives members of the public more reason to welcome horse riders on to their local beach.
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…
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