Since the children had such a good time at Knowle
in 2002, we decided last winter that we wanted to go again this
summer. I mentioned it to Michelle Pacyna (the trainer at Fieldstone
Riding Club, where they've been riding), and she thought that
it would be fun to get a bunch of people together in a group. She
organized a trip (eventually with 30 odd people!), and we just adjusted
our travel schedules to line up with hers.
Knowle is an interesting place; it would best be described as a
dude ranch in the English countryside. It's a place to go on riding
holiday, where they have wonderful horses, lovely trails to hack
out on, cross-country jumping, a horse-minded staff, and that happens
to offer accomodations and meals. Contrast this with one of the
other many country-house resort places in England which offer fine
accommodations, fine dining, and incidentally can arrange for you
Knowle Manor is a 150 year old (or so) manor house that has been
divided up into 20-odd rooms on the two upper floors, leaving a
bar, a lounge, and a dining room on the ground floor. We had a room
on the top floor with a double and two single beds, and with a couple
Samantha and Nicole found their beds handy for reading
Here's the view out our window (looking down on the front lawn
Knowle is near Dunster, the village around Dunster Castle. That's
the castle in the background, overlooking the main street. Like
most of these medieval cities, the streets are quite narrow. It
must have been quite a challenge for the bus carrying the rest of
the Fieldstone group to make it through.
Hacking (what we call trail riding, here in California) is done
in groups of 6-8 with a leader.
Some of the trails are incredibly steep. The
horses have huge, tough feet and sturdy legs.
Here's another group going by on an adjacent
First thing in the morning (about 730AM) you have to go out and
bring the horses in from pasture and put them into loose boxes or
tie them up in the stable yard. (I didn't get any good pictures
here, but maybe someone else did?) Then you go and eat breakfast,
returning afterwards to tack up for the day's ride. Each horse has
its own saddle and bridle hanging in the tackroom. Here's Sally
on Bridey, all ready to go, and Nicole and Sami on Blossom and ?.
One of the best parts about Knowle is the countryside and paths
you can hack on.
Here's a view looking down on Minehead (a beach resort town a few
miles from Knowle). You can't see it too well in the photo (because
it's hazy), but that's Wales on the other side of the Bristol Channel.
travel/engsum2004/knowle.htm - 15 August 2004