CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

The Dartmoor Derby!

PUBLISHED: 15:55 18 July 2016 | UPDATED: 15:56 18 July 2016

Martin Clunes with his wife Philippa and two of their horses

Martin Clunes with his wife Philippa and two of their horses

Archant

Actor Martin Clunes is saddling up to support a special equestrian event on Dartmoor later this year, as he tells Liz Parks

Martin Clunes is well known for his love of horsesMartin Clunes is well known for his love of horses

He’s charmed millions of TV viewers through his role as a grumpy Cornish doctor, but Martin Clunes has set himself a new challenge for 2016 - riding for miles across the wildest parts of Dartmoor. The actor, who lives on a 130-acre farm near Beaminster, in Dorset, will be preparing for the epic Dartmoor Derby this autumn by spending a couple of days riding on the moor in early summer, with his wife Philippa and daughter Emily, and he then hopes to return in September to take part in the event itself.

It turns out that the Clunes family are regular visitors to Dartmoor, thanks to their commute between Port Isaac, where Doc Martin is filmed, and home in Dorset.

“We have loved Dartmoor for years. As an extended family we get to go to various hotels and cottages to meet up there. If I’m working in Cornwall it’s halfway to home so it’s a good family meet-up,” says Martin.

Martin Clunes is well known for his love of horsesMartin Clunes is well known for his love of horses

The actor, who found fame as Gary on ITV’s Men Behaving Badly, is famous for his love of horses. He is president of the British Horse Society and has narrated several documentaries about man’s relationship with the animals. Although he did some riding as a teenager, Martin rediscovered his love of horses when he and his wife moved to Dorset. At present, he thinks they own 15 horses as part of their menagerie, including two Clydesdales, Ronnie and Bruce. When the pair of gentle giants were aged five last year, they spent time with Tim Ancrum, who runs the Adventure Clydesdale trail riding business at Dartmeet. This proved an education for both horses and their famous owner.

“Until I went riding on Dartmoor last year I didn’t realise that there’s something like two thirds of the moor that you can just ride on, without having to stick to bridlepaths. From my point of view, leaving the Clydesdales with Tim and then going back to them, I found that they are just so sure footed because they have come across every kind of obstacle and they have gone across rivers,” he explains.

Martin Clunes is well known for his love of horsesMartin Clunes is well known for his love of horses

This love of riding on the moor saw him agree to be an ambassador for the Dartmoor Derby, a three to five-day ride around the moor organised by Liberty Trails, based near Tavistock, which specialises in organising long distance rides on the moor.

“The Dartmoor Derby is a great idea. It’s lovely to go for a ride round the block but to go on a journey, a mission like that, is a real buzz,” smiles Martin.

Now aged 54, Martin has spent much of the last three decades in the public eye thanks to a range of high profile film and television roles. The time he spends in the saddle has proved to be the perfect antidote to this fast-moving and high pressure world.

Riders taking part in the Dartmoor Derby will travel in small groups, navigating their way through the spectacular moorland landscape Riders taking part in the Dartmoor Derby will travel in small groups, navigating their way through the spectacular moorland landscape

“Horses are just really lovely. They are good for your soul,” he says.

SADDLE UP FOR THE DERBY

Riders taking part in the Dartmoor Derby will travel in small groups, navigating their way through the spectacular moorland landscape Riders taking part in the Dartmoor Derby will travel in small groups, navigating their way through the spectacular moorland landscape

After the success of a pilot event in 2015, this year’s Dartmoor Derby will be held in September. Riders will travel in small groups, navigating their way through the spectacular moorland landscape either staying at hotels, or at high end camps ranging from an African-style bush camp through to Mongolian yurts.

Described as ‘a luxury riding challenge’, the Derby is not a race, although riders do need to be confident. Participants can either bring their own horse, or can ride one of the Liberty Trails’ herd. As well as Martin, the event has two other ambassadors – the Devon-based three day eventers Mary King and Lucy Wiegersma.

Visit liberty-trails.com/dartmoor-derby/

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Friday, November 16, 2018

Actor Tom Burke talks to JUDI SPIERS about his production of Don Carlos staged by his own theatre company Ara, in association with Exeter’s Northcott Theatre

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

In the latest in her series throughout 2018 profiling inspirational women, KATE HASKELL talks to England Women’s Cricket Captain, Heather Knight

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

There is more to Georgia Toffolo than an award-winning TV show, as HOLLY EELLS discovers

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Striving to be the best in the world, homegrown Devon professional squash player Lyell Fuller is seeking sponsorship to help reach his goal. KATE WILLAMS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tavistock Rugby Club in Devon is celebrating after being awarded a grant of £2,500 to fund private showers for referees at their Sandy Park ground, as part of rural energy provider Calor’s annual funding scheme

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Devon’s Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, also known as The Black Farmer, tells KATE WILLIAMS about his new book, Jeopardy, encouraging the embracing of risk to enrich life

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As five members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton celebrate 125 years of collective volunteering, we look back on their time with the organisation

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

CAROLYN SEAGER reveals how long after her mother’s death she discovered her amazing career in the service of her country

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An author known for her novels depicting life on the Channel Islands is nonetheless happiest writing from home here in Devon

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fig Tree Court is a development of 14 apartments in Tiverton for retired and semi- retired over-55s with gorgeous views over the Grand Western Canal

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Alex Green goes behind the scenes on the Dartington Hall Estate to find a community of artists, makers, farmers, and social entrepreneurs living out the legacy of its founders

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Many people know of award-winning Roly’s Fudge, but do they know how much hard work and business insight goes into making it?

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Topsham businessmen Steve Williams and Pete Woodham-Kay take an ethical stance on eating meat | Photos: Nick Hook

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

As llama love grips the nation, we meet a Dartmoor couple who have spent the last 11 years making them their livelihood | Words: Lydia Tewkesbury

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search