HORSE RIDING IN THE HURTWOOD
These paths are a broad mix of types – ranging from stony paths to sandy bridleways more suited to horse riders
The OS map covering the Hurtwood and the immediate surrounding area can be seen here on the OS site.
The Hurtwood provides some of the best horse riding country in the South East. There are numerous bridle paths, good connectivity between the different parts of the Hurtwood and very little roadwork.
Holmbury Hill has magnificent broad fire-roads leading up the hill which have excellent going all year round on the verges. Farley Heath and Blackheath are crisscrossed with sand tracks and have lower levels of cyclist activity.
The steep hills are a great draw for mountain bikers. Peaslake is now a biking hub and Pitch Hill is particularly popular, so the car park is usually full at weekends and the hill noisy with bikes. There are also bike trails on Holmbury Hill and Winterfold so be aware.
People on foot, horse and bike have equal access to the Hurtwood, so you will be sharing the Hurtwood with many other users – ramblers, dog walkers, bird watchers, runners and cyclists. We request that everyone shares the responsibility of sensible use of this beautiful area and does their best to be considerate of other users.
As riders we ask that you follow these practices:
- Friends of the Hurtwood charity endorses the “Be nice, say hi” campaign
- If you pass any pedestrians, slow down to a walk
- Thank anyone who catches up their dog for you or steps aside so you can pass
- Before cantering make sure you can see the way ahead
- Common sense suggests approaching other riders slowly
- Do not create jumps on paths nor jump ditches that have been created to keep cars off the heathlands or woods
- Respect the barriers which limit riding or bike access.
Our Favourite rides
Pitch Hill is a narrow sandstone spur that rises from Peaslake to a dramatic summit towering over Ewhurst, with fabulous views to the South Downs. George Harrison’s famous song Here Comes the Sun was inspired by this view. Pitch Hill is a favourite spot for mountain biking so avoid weekends when the car park is jampacked and watch out for bikes using steep narrow tracks that cross major paths.
See PDF of the ride
8k CIRCULAR ROUTE 11⁄2HRS GU5 9QW
Holmbury Hill is one of the great sandstone spurs jutting out over the Weald with fabulous views to the South Downs. From the crest – the centre of an Iron Age fort – you can sometimes see the sea in the Shoreham Gap. Look north and you will see the North Downs and London skyscrapers as well. The hill has a number of wide fire roads, some originallyracehorse gallops. The tracks are sandstone but the edges are soft, and the going is excellent particularly for winter riding. The area is a centre of mountain biking so watch out for bikes on their network of narrow hilly cycle tracks. Avoid Walking Bottom car park at weekends if possible as it gets very crowded.
The countryside at Blackheath and Farley Heath offers some of the best riding in the South East. It is criss-crossed by a network of sandy tracks that are fantastic for horses. The area is very popular with dog-walkers too so beware – it can get quite crowded but the scenery is beautiful and the going is brilliant and almost bicycle free because of the thick sand. This circular ride can be started either from the huge Farley Heath car park or from the small Blackheath car park, which is unsuitable for trailers. It takes roughly 11⁄2 hours.
See PDF of the ride