The 'Helmsley Cowboy' and bridleways champion Bill Tait publishes a guide to horse riding on the North York Moors

A new guidebook on the bridleways and green lanes of the North York Moors has been published by the ‘Helmsley Cowboy’, Bill Tait.

Bill Tait's new book which is a guide to the bridleways and green lanes of the North York Moors

A keen western rider which earned him his nickname, Bill, a member of Ryedale Bridleways Association and a rights of way champion, he has written the book to help horse riders enjoy safe hacking in the spectacular scenery of the Moors.

“I have been walking and researching the bridleways around the North York Moors for at least eight years, flagging up problems with the National Park Authority,” he said.

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“I realised there are lots of walking and cycle guides but nothing for horse riders.

Bill Tait has written a horse riders guide to the bridleways and green lanes of the North York Moors National Park

“To come and ride around this area you need a comprehensive guide, there can be all sorts of problems you just don’t see on an Ordnance Survey map, difficult gates, bogs, gullies, It is very easy to get into trouble and need rescuing.

“I wanted to create a guide people could refer to and know what they may come across on particular routes.”

Designed to be used in conjunction with a map, the guide has sketch maps and detailed descriptions, along with tips on where to park and ‘horse friendly’ cafes to visit.

Bill’s experience riding the North York Moors led to him being approached by the not-for-profit Ride Yorkshire Foundation.

Started by Janet Cochrane and John Yeomans with the aim of helping more horse riders enjoy the Yorkshire countryside, the foundation holds a series of guided rides which are graded from one to four, catering for all ages and abilities.

“The rides have been very successful and are a really good introduction to the Moors,” he said.

Bill, who lives in Helmsley with his partner Mel Mellor, is also part of the Western Equestrian Society and competes with his horse Amigo in the trail and pleasure riding elements.

“I had always wanted to ride western and heard a Creo horse was up for sale. When I saw Amigo I fell in love with him. He came with all the tack and now I wouldn’t go back to English riding. I love riding this way, it is much more relaxed and great for riding distances. He was like a bucking bronco to begin with but we have a great partnership now.”

Along with Mel and her Connemara Paddy Skye, Bill and Amigo have ridden most of the dales and coast.

“They are such beautiful creatures and you see the world in a different way on horseback. ”

Bill and the bridleways group work with the North York Moors Park Authority and the British Horse Society on rights of way and, with landowners permission put in measures which make it easier for horse riders.

“It can range from small things like putting easier fastenings on awkward gates or putting in a mounting block to clearing routes,” he said.