After twenty years away from North Northumberland, husband and wife John and Lorna Speight have returned to their roots and are operating their individual businesses from the old Drying Kiln at Heatherslaw Mill, on the Ford & Etal Estates, with a little bit of help from Billy their dog. John’s Orginal Papercut Art continues a family tradition that began in 1921. A third generation papercut artist, he has an extensive range of designs including local scenes, sports and leisure, cars, animals, and trees. Each silhouette is individually hand-cut using a scalpel, with small differences ensuring that each papercut is a unique original. Lorna has been making jewellery since she was a child and says “I’ve always been fascinated by the many and various shapes and colours of stones and beads, and try to reflect this in the jewellery I make”. Using semi-precious stones her vast array of beautiful, hand-crafted jewellery includes earrings, necklaces and bracelets at prices to suit all pockets. Both the papercuts and jewellery combine traditional methods with contemporary design. The shop is John’s open studio and has been set up so that visitors can watch the papercuts being made, and Lorna will also hold occasional jewellery-making demonstrations too. The couple welcome visitors – and their dogs – to browse the shop and watch them at work. Open daily April-October, see websites for winter hours.
With “colouring in” being more popular than ever among both adults and children, local illustrator and print maker Imogen Aitchison has worked with Lady Joicey over the winter months to design a new book inspired by the stunning 19th century murals painted by Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, on display in the Lady Waterford Hall, Ford.
Heatherslaw Cornmill played host to the Annual General Meeting of The Traditional Cornmillers Guild on 18th March, with traditional Wind and Watermillers from across the country travelling to Northumberland. To make the day a unique experience Head Miller Dave, along with mill volunteer Tom Hammill, were able to demonstrate the operation of the unusual Pearl Barley mill at the site. Dave explained ‘This is equipment that is not normally operated when we are open to the public because, as well as being incredibly noisy with a stone rotating at over 150 turns per minute, it also creates a lot of dust. We decided to run the equipment with a full load for what we believe to be the first time since the 1950s as it is something that even many experienced millers have not had the chance to see before.’
An enthusiastic and entrepreneurial tenant is sought for the Black Bull, famous for being the only thatched pub in Northumberland.
Following several decades of being let to a pub chain the Black Bull has now been returned to Ford & Etal Estates, giving the opportunity for renovation and refurbishment to create a venue which will be at the centre of the local community as well as attracting visitors from further afield.
Lots of activities for half-term when Heatherslaw Light Railway, Heatherslaw Cornmill, Lady Waterford Hall and Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre are all open from 20th-24th February. More details to follow - but the good news is...kids go free at Heatherslaw Cornmill and Lady Waterford Hall.
Great News! The "Joint Ticket" scheme which runs between Lady Waterford Hall in Ford and Heatherslaw Cornmill will continue during 2017, but you'll get even more for your money with a massive 20% discount on normal admission prices. This applies to adult, concession (including children over 5) and family tickets. Make sure that you benefit from this scheme by purchasing a joint ticket of either of the venues - and don't worry if you don't have time to visit both museums in one day as you can visit the other at any point throughout the season, during normal opening hours.
The event is held by the Ashington-based Reivers Section of the national Vintage Motor Cycle Club (VMCC) together with the Marston Sunbeam Club and Register (MSC&R) with the purpose of riding vintage motorbikes - including some of the earliest types from around 1910 - on the quiet roads of North Northumberland where part of the route passes along the road between Seahouses and Bamburgh Castle. Around 40 entrants are expected and the Club welcomes the public to visit, view the bikes and chat with the owners.
Enjoy fangtastic family fun from 24th-30th October when Ford, Etal and Heatherslaw get frightfully festive with alll manner of Hallowe'en antics!
Collect a trail sheet and follow the famous Scarycrow Trail around the villages - score them all to help us choose a winner! Decorate the Hallowe'en Tree in Lady Waterford Hall, dress as a Harry Potter character and take your photo with the Stupefied Owl in Ford Village Shop or get creative and enter the carved pumpkin competition at Lavender Tearooms. Choose a square or two on the Haunted Treasure Board at Heatherslaw Tearoom for a chance to win a high street voucher.
From Tuesday 25th-Thursday 27th there are Terrorific Treats for kids in fancy dress (participating venues only) and Creepy Crafts for you to enjoy at Heatherslaw Visitor Centre. Follow the Beastly Bat Hunt on Heatherslaw Light Railway, try one of the Tricky Trails at Etal Castle or join in the Blood-curdling Baking at Heatherslaw Mill (11.30am and 2pm; booking recommended).
Wednesday 26th gives sellers a chance to empty their attices with a Table Top Sale at Lady Waterford Hall from 12 noon - 4pm (at only £5 for a table it's well worth booking!) and buyers are welcome to come along and bag a bargain! (Admission to the Hall is by donation during the sale). From 4-6.30pm at Heatherslaw Cornmill listen to Spooky Tales from Northumberland. To calm the shivers from this spooky story-telling session warming soup and homemade bread are included. (Booking recommended, cost £2.50 per person - suitable for all ages.
On Thursday 27th it's 'luck-dip loco' at Heatherslaw Railway with Bunty, Lady Augusta and Binky all running at different times - which loco will you travel with to follow the bat trail?!!
Throughout the week funds are being raised for Radio Borders Cash For Kids, so why not come along, have some fun and help support this local charity!
Normal admission charges apply to venues - all activities included in this cost unless otherwise stated.
Jane Jackson, one half of the husband and wife team 'Brightseed Textiles' who live and work in Northumberland, will have a range of her work displayed in the artists' cabinet at Lady Waterford Hall from 18th September until 30th October.
Jane is a textile artist who has developed her own distinctive style of creating needle felted "paintings" from Harris Tweed, a unique heritage fabric that is still handwoven by crofters in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. Her cards and pictures have to be seen to be appreciated - call at the Hall to view and purchase!
When we think of harvest time this usually conjures up images of combine harvesters, trailers of wheat or barley, bales of golden straw and stubble fields. But there are other harvest crops too... for example, pictured here is a potato harvest in full swing, on the centre of Ford & Etal Estates.
The potatoes - 'Juliette' salad potatoes - are grown by Greenseed on contract for Tesco Supermarkets, and will be stored until early next year so reducing the volume of potatoes imported into the UK. The fields yielded 38 tonnes per hectare, gross weight.
Taking into account the average size of a salad potato, that means about 500,000 individual potatoes per hectare (or just over 200,000 per acre). One person, eating a portion of 4 salad potatoes every day, would take 137 years to eat just one acre of production