Hay Farm is home to the largest herd of rare breed Clydesdale Heavy Horses within the North of England. The farm is steeped in history and in years gone by was an integral part of the Estate, the surrounding land being worked with 17 Clydesdales until the last ones left in the 1950s. These majestic beasts returned to the Estate in 2012 to tell their story both past and present through a dedicated visitor centre.
In 2017 the centre was awarded Approved Rare Breed Centre status, as it is not only home to the horses, but also to other rare breeds which would once have been commonplace.
Take a leisurely walk around the indoor centre which houses one of the largest collections of horse-drawn machinery. In the stables you’ll come face to face with the heavy horses, beautiful gentle giants that were the original form of horse power. Their sheer size never fails to impress and even the foals, which are born here most years as part of the breeding programme, are astonishingly big from birth.
In the adjacent yard other rare breed animals can be viewed, all of which are in breeding programmes to help preserve their future survival. Outside in the fields heavy horses can be viewed in their natural surroundings. Visitors are respectfully asked not to feed the animals as this can encourage biting, however carrots or apples can be left with staff to add to the animals’ daily feeds.
All the food in the cafe is homemade and the majority is farm to fork. You can either eat in the charming courtyard garden or under cover in the stable seating area.
Carriage rides are run in the school holidays, weather permitting, on Tues, Weds, Thurs and Sun between 13:00 and 15:00. For more information visit the Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre website, link below. The price for a carriage ride is £5 for adults and £3 for children.
The centre is dog friendly and has wheelchair access. Group visits are welcome (homemade picnics available if booked in advance.) School/Educational Visits can be arranged and tailored to specific requirements.
Over the course of the year there are a number of activities held at the centre – further details can be found here.
Parties, children’s parties and group bookings can be catered for, with a range of options that can include buffets, carriage rides and guided tours. Find full details on the Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre website.
Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre is situated between Ford and Etal and is clearly signposted on the B6354. Visitor parking is available and is clearly signed.
£7.50 per person, children free
Larger events and special activities
Charged per person
School and educational visits
Private group talks/guided tours (min 5, max 40 per group)
£4 per person
Closed for the season, reopens Spring 2024.