For a small building, Horseshoe Forge in Ford Village can take quite some time to explore. Its unusual horseshoe-shaped entrance makes it one of the most photographed buildings on Ford & Etal Estates, and once inside it’s a cornucopia of all things vintage and collectable – including a huge selection of rare and antiquarian books, with expert John Marrin on hand to offer advice and valuations.
The 24th North Northumberland Bird Club Dawn Chorus Walk this year took place on Sunday 14th May, starting from Slainsfield, and there was a record turn-out of 27 members when we saw and heard a record number of 53 species.
Having recently acquired a Robinsons Flour Dressing machine from Offley Mill in Staffordshire, Heatherslaw Cornmill is delighted to announce the launch of a new flour to add to its existing baking range . “Heatherslaw Malt” is made by blending wholewheat and the dressed flour, both traditionally milled at Heatherslaw, and adding malted wheat flakes from Silvery Tweed in Berwick.
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.
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.