‘The Only Cattle Drive in the UK’
At Meldon we have always used horses to move our cattle to their grazing areas on Dartmoor.
We ride western on Quarter horses for thier quiet easy going nature along with their agility and turn of speed needed for any uncooperative ones.
Move, muster and check cattle
At various times we invite guests to help moving, mustering and checking the cattle. Become a cowboy for a few days! ‘The fastest way to move cattle is slowly!’
Cattle respond well to being moved by horses. Horses are quiet and the cattle are used to being moved by them, the cattle are not threatened but have a natural respect for the horse. The horse walks at much the same speed as the cattle and often anticipate the cattle movements. The riders work as a team with most flanking at the sides of the herd with just a couple at the rear, and one or two at the head. Each rider will have a position and a job to do, depending on their ability.
There is always a lead cow she is usually an older matriach cow. Each spring, the young calves go out with their mothers to learn their grazing areas, where the water is and where to return home to. On Dartmoor the herds grazzing area is called their ‘lear’, and each owners herd of cattle will have it’s own ‘lear’.
Breathtaking scenery and views
Driving cattle is immensely satisfying, doing something that has barely changed for hundreds of years. The type of country we ride over has some breathtaking scenery and varies, through woodland, along valley bottoms, up steep inclines, down steep declines, across rivers, through rock clitter (rock strewn areas) and over hill tops, where you can look down on everything around.
6 nights (Sun – Sat)
£1,195pp based on 2 sharing
£1,345 for single occupancy
14th – 20th July: ‘Weaning muster’ – ***fully booked***
18th Aug – 24th Aug: ‘Calving cow muster‘ – ***2 places available***
22nd Sept – 28th Sept: ‘Cow and calf muster’ – ***fully booked***
29th Apr – 5th May (Wed – Tues)
14th – 20th June
12th – 18th July
23rd – 29th August
27th September – 3rd October
3 nights (Sun – Wed pm)
£745 based on 2 sharing
£820 for single occupancy
Arrive pm/evening first day, depart after riding (5.00pm) on final day. Extra night B&B £60pp
14th – 17th July ‘Weaning muster’ ***fully booked***
18th – 21st Aug ‘Calving cow muster’ ***2 places available***
22nd- 25th Sept ‘Cow and calf muster’ ***fully booked***
29th April – 2nd May (Wed – Sat)
14th – 17th June
12th – 15th July
23rd – 26th August
27th – 30th September
Our Cattle Driving Year
May: ‘Spring cattle turn-out’
The cows and autumn born calves are moved from their winter quarters up on to the moor for the summer, a distance of about 8km.
June: ‘Bulling cow muster’
Some spring calving cows need to be brought down to the farm to run with the bull for the summer.
July: ‘Calf weaning muster’
The cows and calves need to be brought back to the farm for weaning
August: ‘Late summer turn-out’
The cows that have been running with the bull, for the summer are drove back to Dartmoor
Sept: ‘Cow & calf muster’
The freshly calved cows need to come down to better grazing near the Farm as winter approaches.