The North Northumberland Bird Club Annual Dawn Chorus walk took place at Ford Moss on Sunday 20th May, led by Lord Joicey. He reported "This is surely the Year of the Chiffchaff. All across our area the sharp staccato ‘chiff-chaff-chiff-chiff-chaff’ of the bird is a universal feature. There was probably not a single moment of this year’s Dawn Chorus when a Chiffchaff was not audible."
Ford & Etal Estates, with its wide range of habitats for birds, offers many opportunities for bird watching.Click here for a brief guide suggesting walks along public footpaths and bridleways from where it should be possible to observe or hear some of Northumberland’s best birds. You can also download the reports from this and previous years' Dawn Chorus Walk.
8th June was the final opportunity to view an impressive exhibition of artworks by pupils from local schools, displayed in the Watchtower Gallery, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
As part of the bicentenary year celebrating the life and legacy of Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, the Lady Waterford Trust invited local High Schools to enter an art competition, themed “Portraits and Landscapes.” In order to allow students to explore their creativity to the full the specification for the competition was deliberately open, with no limitation to size or media. Portraits could be of any person, past or present, and landscapes of any location, real or imaginary.
As part of the bicentenary year celebrating the life and legacy of Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, the Lady Waterford Trust has invited local High Schools to take part in an art competition. The response has been excellent with Eyemouth and Berwickshire High Schools, Longridge Towers School and the Duchess’s Community High School, Alnwick, all participating. In addition the Hugh Joicey C of E First School will take part, as it is in the village of Ford and has a strong connection with Lady Waterford.
In January this year major refurbishment works to the Black Bull in Etal began. Bad weather held up the work earlier in the spring, however we are excited to report that progress is now coming on in leaps and bounds. The photograph here shows the new porch on the front of the pub - still to be rough-cast but now slated, using Cumbrian slates recycled/reclaimed from an old building in Edinburgh.
The new season is underway at Heatherslaw Cornmill with new management at Heatherslaw Tearoom. Lauren and Keith Elstob, owners of the Blue Bell Inn at Crookham since 2011, are excited to take over the Tearoom, situated in the former granary at Heatherslaw Cornmill and one of the oldest enterprises amongst the many at Ford & Etal Estates.
Award winning marmalade-maker Lynne Allan, who runs Lady Waterford Preserves at The Old Dairy in Ford, is celebrating even more success at this years World’s Original Marmalade Awards which took place over the weekend in Cumbria.
The awards, which take place every year at Dalemain Mansion near Penrith and described as the Oscars of the marmalade world, are highly prized and can mean opportunities to supply the likes of Fortnum & Mason in London. Both amateur and professional marmalade makers take part from all over the world and compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and this year Lynne has won all three.
This year the sleepy village of Ford celebrates the life and legacy of an extraordinary women: Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, who lived at Ford Castle from 1860 until her death in 1891.
A deeply religious lady and a talented artist, Lady Waterford worked to improve conditions for those who lived and worked on her estate in North Northumberland, employing a nurse to look after their health, re-building homes and commissioning a school (now called the Lady Waterford Hall) for local children.
Her most lasting legacy can be seen inside the Hall. Here stunning life-size watercolour murals adorn the walls along with smaller sketches and paintings by Louisa. The murals, painted over a twenty year period (1862-1883) portray Biblical scenes and have a local feel as the faces portrayed are those of estate workers, the plants and animals depicted being Northumbrian.