Horse-riding the route
The John Muir Way was developed primarily as a walking and cycling route, but also offers some great opportunities to explore Scotland’s heartland on horseback, including a variety of paths, tracks and quiet roads.
Some sections of the route have a long history of equestrian use, or can easily and sustainably accommodate shared use, for example the Strathkelvin Railway Path and some of the tracks which the route follows around fields in East Lothian. Other sections, such as the River Avon walkway and the coastal path around Dunbar, are impassable with a horse due to numerous steep steps.
Please note that none of the route is specifically promoted for horse riding, nor have special provisions been made for riders. Those interested in riding the full long distance route will need to identify their own alternatives for sections which are not currently passable with a horse, for which there may be no alternative but busy roads. Remember that you are responsible for deciding for yourself whether you and your horse have the skills and experience necessary to tackle any particular section of route.
Where can I ride?
We have produced a 'story map' that provides details and locations of features that may restrict multi-use access to the waymarked route. It follows a report originally produced by the British Horse Society (BHS) Scotland and although the focus is on horse riders, the information on potential barriers is relevant to a wide range of other users including cyclists, walkers with pushchairs, and people with mobility issues.
Only those restrictions which may present an issue for experienced riders are noted on the map. Common features such as shallow fords, vehicular bridges, cross drains, gates which can only be opened or closed if dismounted, rough ground, sheep and cattle are all part of riding off-road and so were not documented. Horse riders should also be aware that the John Muir Way passes through the middle of Edinburgh and various other towns, and there are sections that include stretches on busy public roads.
Please remember that whether on foot, cycle or horseback, rights of access in Scotland depend on access takers and land managers accepting individual responsibility for their actions. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides guidance on what this means on the ground. Courtesy, consideration of others’ needs and good communication are the key to sharing paths. Always pass others you meet along the trail at a walk, and elsewhere limit your pace to ground conditions and visibility. On surfaced paths and other well used sections of the route, riders need to be particularly careful to respect other users and clear dung off the path.
For further guidance on responsible riding, visit the British Horse Society (BHS) Scotland website.