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Time to connect with your inner history buff on horseback! Years of settlers, battles and conquests – there are lots of stories to tell. Riding the 210km ‘William the Conqueror’ trail is something quite special and is a great way for both novices and experienced riders to enjoy Normandy’s unspoilt landscapes in a historical way. 

Cavaliers pendant la chevauchée de Guillaume

This horse-riding trail follows William the Conqueror’s epic 150km gallop in just one day to reach Falaise. In 1046, at the age of 19, William Duke of Normandy and future King of England was regularly threatened by barons keen to take control of the Duchy of Normandy. One day, when he heard of an ongoing plot to kill him, he decided to flee on horseback from the coast to Falaise. Avoiding busy roads, he raced across the fields, down narrow paths and through deep countryside until he found refuge in Ryes, a village in the Bessin area, before heading south to Falaise for safety.

Today, this 208km horse-riding trail celebrates the journey of this great medieval soldier and ruler. The trail starts at the Baie des Veys (Géfosse-Fontenay), before crossing the Bessin, the Norman bocage (hedgerow country) and the wild mountainous area of the Suisse-Normande (Norman Switzerland) before arriving at the spectacular castle of Falaise.

Passage d'une rivière à cheval pendant la chevauchée de Guillaume

The trail in eight stages

Stage 1: Géfosse-Fontenay to Formigny: Maps 1, 2et 4

Stage 2: Formigny to Ryes: Maps 4 et 5

Stage 3: Ryes to Martragny: Maps 678

Stage 4: Martragny to Noyers-Bocage: Maps 91011 et 12

Stage 5: Noyers-Bocage to Roucamps: Maps 1213, 1415 et 16

Stage 6: Roucamps to Le Vey / Clécy: Maps 1617, 1819

Stage 7: Le Vey / Clécy to Pont d’Ouilly: Maps 19 et 20

Stage 8: Pont d’Ouilly to Falaise: Maps 20, 21 et 22