Twisting, turning, high banked Devonshire lanes

autumn7

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Contemplating buying a property in Totnes region. Are the typical high banked narrow roads a nightmare to hack on, or do vehicles tend to drive with an expectation of meeting something round corners and drive accordingly? Love the look of the wealth of little lanes and picturesque hacking routes but this is slightly putting me off. Is it something you just get accustomed to?
 

ycbm

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Contemplating buying a property in Totnes region. Are the typical high banked narrow roads a nightmare to hack on, or do vehicles tend to drive with an expectation of meeting something round corners and drive accordingly? Love the look of the wealth of little lanes and picturesque hacking routes but this is slightly putting me off. Is it something you just get accustomed to?
I live in similar lanes in the Peak Park. Driving is variable, I never hang about on a blind bend, I hack out looking like a Christmas tree, I take the centre of the road on the straight, I wear 2 cameras, one front one backwards, and I train all my horses to handle a tight squeeze with a big vehicle using the road, using L plates when they are new to it.
 

dixie

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No they are fine, this is all I ride on, cars mostly go slower and are respectful of horses. Much better than a wide road where cars can wizz by.
 

dixie

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It does depend a bit on the roads tho as some will be rat runs, so best to check the area well at all times.
 

Northern Hare

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No they are fine, this is all I ride on, cars mostly go slower and are respectful of horses. Much better than a wide road where cars can wizz by.
Sorry to jump in here, but Dixie, is your avatar photo of you riding in Devon? It looks lovely! I hope you don’t mind me asking, but do you live in north or south Devon? It’s on our list of places to possibly move to as my OH is from North Devon and my family has roots in South Devon. 😊
 

Quigleyandme

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I had a yard near Haytor and never had a problem with drivers, bikers or cyclists. Most will pull up and some will even turn the engine off. I did however spend a lot of time getting out of the way of cars as there was often insufficient room to pass a car in the lanes.
 

dixie

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Sorry to jump in here, but Dixie, is your avatar photo of you riding in Devon? It looks lovely! I hope you don’t mind me asking, but do you live in north or south Devon? It’s on our list of places to possibly move to as my OH is from North Devon and my family has roots in South Devon. 😊
it’s actually at all pleasure ride just over the border in Cornwall (Pentillie, nr Saltash) - there are usually quite a lot in this area.
I live in South Devon near Plymouth. The riding is pretty good depending where you are but Dartmoor can feature quite heavily and obviously great. Beaches are nearby too and lots of narrow lanes!!
 

Spotherisk

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It does depend, I am near Newton Abbot but just on the moor and the lanes are getting busier and busier and not with great drivers, a lot cannot (won’t try to) find reverse or pull in, many are not what would call horse friendly in their knowledge but I would ride out knowing this, be prepared to show yourself in the middle of the road then move back in, trot on to passing places. I moved house about 18 months ago from the east side of Dartmoor (in country thought really) and the roads were a lot quieter.
 

autumn7

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Thanks everybody for your enlightening responses. On the whole this sounds encouraging, and Dixie, I know what you mean about rat run tiny roads. They've become a problem in Norfolk too. That, and the rate of development around here are turning tranquil on the buckle hacks into 'glad I've got home in one piece' hacks which is sapping enjoyment since I hack out a lot.
Spotherisk - interesting re. the differences between east side and west of Dartmoor. Is hacking easy to be found on the moors, and are there loads of gates and cattle grids to negotiate?
Ycbm -I'm with you on the defensive road positioning and high viz. I've a wonderful little hatcam. Small so forget it's even on my hat, yet swear it makes drivers pass me with slightly more care. Win win.
We've sold our property and are ready to go....desperately need a place with land to move to but good safe plentiful hacking from the doorstep is non-negotiable.
 

Spotherisk

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Both places I’ve lived on Dartmoor have been in country ie farmed rather than open moorland, so I’ve only occasionally had to deal with cattle grids, I would be a bit windy about riding a flirty mare (or maybe any mare!) on the open moor, where we are now there are quite a few pony herds. My boy is retired now but when I walk around here and I come down to a gate off the moor and there’s a load of cattle blocking it I do wonder what the hell I would do on a horse, but maybe I’m over thinking it. Depends on where you’re looking really, there are a lot of byways/green lands around Dartington, Rattery etc. I would probably look at South Brent and Buckfastleigh which are within the National Park, or south of the A38 is outside.
 

paddy555

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Is hacking easy to be found on the moors, and are there loads of gates and cattle grids to negotiate?
.
I live in the middle of the moor and hacking is very easy to find. Just ride out and it is everywhere. Lots of narrow high banked roads leading to open moorland. Not too many gates but some. Cattle grids but they all have gates by the side of them.
Lots of animals, sheep, cattle and ponies around the lanes and the common.
Lots of people have mares, probably the same number that have geldings with no problems.
If the cattle get in the way the horses just shift them. The narrow lanes around us can have lots of wandering cattle. We just ride through them. (unless we want to play in which case we round them up :D:D)
 

autumn7

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Paddy - you're more gung-ho than me. I really don't trust cows en masse, nor pony herds after inadvertently getting in a sticky situation between a herd of conservation ponies (all mares) when riding my own mare on a heath local to me. I had a battle to get out of the gate by the cattle grid which has put me off for life I think!

Spotherisk - I've perused the areas you mentioned and concluded the maze of lanes from Staverton on up look to be the type of hacking I'm after. Lots of circular routes of varying lengths in what appears to be beautiful scenery. This is solely based on wandering lanes on google though, I know nothing of the reality. Thank you such a lot for your input. Scouring Rightmove fills up many of my waking hours these days. Just need something suitable to come along before we lose our potential buyer.
 

paddy555

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autumn7, the big question for anyone considering relocating to Devon is:-

Can you reverse your car along a narrow lane :D? You will get a lot of practice...
and if you move to Staverton you will get plenty of practise on the commuter route to Ashburton twice a day. :D
 

paddy555

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Paddy - you're more gung-ho than me. I really don't trust cows en masse, nor pony herds after inadvertently getting in a sticky situation between a herd of conservation ponies (all mares) when riding my own mare on a heath local to me. I had a battle to get out of the gate by the cattle grid which has put me off for life I think!

Spotherisk - I've perused the areas you mentioned and concluded the maze of lanes from Staverton on up look to be the type of hacking I'm after. Lots of circular routes of varying lengths in what appears to be beautiful scenery. This is solely based on wandering lanes on google though, I know nothing of the reality. Thank you such a lot for your input. Scouring Rightmove fills up many of my waking hours these days. Just need something suitable to come along before we lose our potential buyer.

very far from gung ho. The cattle are very quiet and easy to deal with. Cannot remember a single incident in nearly 50years when they worried me.
There is plenty of space on the moor for cattle, ponies and horse riders. The thing that really scares me is walkers with dogs running free. Pony herds and moorland cattle I can read and they are pretty polite. Dog walkers are a different matter. The ponies have all been born on the common and are very laid back about it unlike conservation ponies who are introduced to graze an area.

We used to take our yearling hillpony out riding loose with us. He would run between or behind our 2 riding horses. The moorland ponies never bothered him.

I am very familiar with Staverton. I have family there. They had a daughter with a horse. Luckily she was far more interested in jumping in an arena than hacking. I wouldn't want to be riding around many of those lanes for pleasure. The scenery is just very large fields.

Are you tied to the South Hams for work? If not then if I had to move off the moor I would chose the area around Hennock resevoirs. Nicer and quieter lanes and tracks. We used to box there weekly.
Alternatively if you wanted the moor but without much in the way of cattle and ponies but good riding on roads, tracks and bits of common I would choose Manaton. Lots of variety.
 

dixie

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Or the lanes around Diptford are very quiet, possibly because they’re not a cut through to anywhere but not much off road riding from there.
there’s a property just come up near Bittaford with land that would have good riding too and easy access to the moors. It’s too small for me else I’d be interested.
 

autumn7

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Tiddly - can reverse car no problem but Jeep and trailer's another matter. Yet another thing to consider for sure.
Paddy, we're in no way tied as about to retire. Just makes sense if we're uprooting anyway, to live nearer to young grandchildren in Plymouth.
Today I shall google-stroll around the areas both yourself and Dixie have mentioned. I think I've found the Bittaford property but if it's the 1.3 acres it's sadly not enough. Looking for a minimum of 4 acres grazing, ideally more for four horses. Hopefully the housing market will pick up in due course. It's the wrong time of year at the best of times.
 

paddy555

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in that case there are 2 areas which are nice with good riding and civilised roads.
first bordered roughly by Whitchurch nr Tavistock, Yelverton, Sampford Spiney, Walkhampton, Dousland, Burrator, Meavy, Clearbrook. This area has good road links to plymouth.

second Bittaford, Wrangaton, Harford area. again good roads to P.

both are horsey areas.
 

autumn7

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A kind offer neddy man, but if advertised on Rightmove ( keywords 'equestrian, acres, smallholding'), ZooPla, OnTheMarket, Prime Location, News Now Classified and Facebook Equestrian Property sites and any equestrian/country living/leisure sites specific to our areas of interest ie. East Anglia (not fenland), Somerset and Devon, then we're already aware of them. These days properties all make their way to at least one of these sites and more often are advertised on a couple in addition to their local estate agent's sites.
The estate agent who dealt with our house sale here told us that the market is pitiful atm. due to uncertainty over Brexit and repercussions of Covid. The market for properties with our criteria (excellent, plentiful safe hacking with great choice of lanes, some off-road routes, 4 acres+ grazing, 3 bed house (not a total doer-upper), not on top of other houses, ideally with stables, tack room, feed/hay store are not coming on the market in the current climate, whereas new builds without land are there in abundance.
Realistically I don't think the situation will change massively until the country's safer and vaccinated and the weather is better, and until viewings of occupied houses can restart. That aside, it won't prevent me searching though.
 

dixie

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And you’re looking for something that loads of other people are looking for. Including me and in the same area too.
When they do come on the market, they get snapped up incredibly quickly.
 

Mrs B

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I live on the coast in East Devon next to the Dorset border, so Lyme Regis area. I did have the option of a livery yard in my little village but personally the high-banked, narrow lanes put me off. Some people do drive carefully, but some still drive like loonies and as my lad also doesn't like farm machinery and narrow lanes, I opted for a DIY yard 7 miles away in the middle of a tract of Forestry land, which I love.
My reversing was pretty good before I arrived here but now it's near PhD level ... :cool:
 
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