Where to Ride
Within an easy drive of <2 hours from the north of England, central and southern Scotland, the South of Scotland is THE place to ride off-road. Here horses are still as much a part of the culture as they have been for centuries.
From leisurely hacking to fast trail riding, cross country to dressage, hunting to horse trials, racing to Reivers, this is Scotland’s horse country, a land of contrasts: rolling heather hills and fertile farmland, historic castles and quaint cottages, crystal clear burns and broad rivers renowned worldwide for their salmon. There’s no better way to enjoy it than on horseback.
There are such a variety of routes that the only problem is deciding which you're going to ride. The Land Reform Scotland Act confirms a right of responsible non-vehicular access on most land in Scotland, including moorland, forests and farmland. You should therefore be able to enjoy legal right of access on horseback on most firm paths, tracks and many other routes, provided you are riding responsibly. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you can always be sure of getting through with a horse.
On promoted riding routes and those shown on BHS EMAGIN, you should have no problem, but as yet, there is no easy way of finding out where you might meet obstructions on other routes. For example, only some sections of the Southern Upland Way, Border Abbeys Way and St. Cuthberts Way are ridable. Elsewhere ladder stiles, kissing gates, footbridges and deep peat occasionally restrict equestrian access.
That’s why promoted riding routes are all the more valuable to riders in Scotland. The routes suggested here have all been developed specifically for horse-riders and are suitable for riders of all ages and abilities. You can link routes together and tailor your itinerary to suit yourself and how far you want to ride. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and how much time you have available!
Once you’ve tried some of the SOSCT routes, we know you’ll be back to enjoy more.
Most of this website focuses on routes developed under the South of Scotland Countryside Trails project.
All of the SOSCT routes are clearly signed and waymarked, drainage issues have been addressed so you can be sure that provided you follow the route, you won't get stuck in a bog, and most of the gates have been replaced with new gates which are easy to open - where possible from horseback, as well as from the ground. Routes developed by other organisations in the South of Scotland which are promoted for horse-riding are also included on this website where appropriate.
Further details of individual routes, or routes within a certain area, are available from the menu to the left.
Riding in Lanarkshire
A new information pack was produced in spring 2011 which includes detailed route guides and maps for eight off-road riding routes in South Lanarkshire. Copies are available from Adrienne McGeechan at South Lanarkshire Council, telephone 01698 453808 or e-mail email@example.com.