Horse Riding Feasibility Study

Horse riders on a walk along Downhill Beach

Client: DAERA

The Challenge

Feasibility study for the development of a pilot network of multi-use trails suitable for off road horse riding in the Newry, Mourne and Down district council area.

The Role

People want to visit Northern Ireland as an equine tourism destination.

The Associated Objective is “to enhance and promote equine related tourism in NI”.

The Deloitte Report identified a “lack of appropriate infrastructure and off-road riding space” within Northern Ireland and stated that “consideration should be given to potential value and feasibility of additional infrastructure investment, for example accessible off-road routes and bridleways”. This would be necessary to develop equine tourism. 

The Feasibility Study in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Area is to provide information on the trails already available for horse riders and all other user groups and provide a GAP Analysis in the current provision with a view to identifying both circular and linear trails which could be used in future.

The aim is to create the infrastructure which could be used by local horse riders, cyclists and walkers. This would benefit the health and wellbeing of the local community and create a place where people want to live, “work, visit and invest”. With continued development, safe off-road riding infrastructure could encourage the development of trekking holiday businesses which can either use circular trails or linear trails. The trails could vary in length to allow short rides or longer rides (up to 20miles). These could be used to create package horse trail riding holidays where a visitor could ride off road, enjoying walking, trotting and cantering over suitable terrain. There would need to be watering points and feeding points on these routes. Linear trails could be used to create a riding experience where the visitor begins and ends in different parts of Northern Ireland. Circular trails could be used for those wanting to finish in the same place as they started. 

These trails could also be used as competitive venues for Endurance Riding and could attract visitors from ROI and GB. 

Local riders would also be able to avail of this infrastructure, and walkers and cyclists also.  

Staff Lead: Diane Crookes