Tuesday, 10 November 2020 14:34

Best Scarycrow 2020

Best Scarycrow on The Ford & Etal Scarycrow Trail, 2020 is... The Fiendish Hound.

A public poll decided the winner in a closely-fought annual contest and 'The Fiendish Hound' narrowly beat four other Scarycrows to take the title. This fantastic creation, displayed at Ford Common, was one of 30 Scarycrows that were put on show. The runners-up were: 'Who said follow the Sat Nav?' and 'The Very Scary Caterpillar', both in Etal Village, and 'It's Hallowe'en and Michael's back' in Ford Village.  

A huge thank you to all the locals who threw their creative energies into making this wonderful event such a success this year.

We must also thank our wonderful visitors whose generous donations saw over £400 being raised for Radio Borders' charity Cash For Kids. 

LWH Exterior

Welcome to Ford, tucked away in the very north of Northumberland. This beautiful village is testimony to the philanthropic work of a tireless woman. A woman who was also tireless in her artistic achievements.

But who was she?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti described her as ‘an excellent artist’ who was ‘such a swell and such a stunner’.

John Everett Millais wanted her to join a Pre-Raphaelite sketching club.

William Holman-Hunt’s signature is in the original visitors’ book here.

John Ruskin spent many years mentoring her in her art via letter.

George Frederic Watts said she was ‘born an artist greater than any England has produced’.

Have you heard of her?

Lady Waterford

She was Lady Louisa Waterford.

But why need we define her by the words of contemporary men? Let her achievements speak for themselves. Come on in...

LWH Interior

These stunning watercolour murals adorn the walls of the Lady Waterford Hall, a small museum in Ford village run by a charitable trust. The life size Biblical scenes feature the faces of the local villagers, who all came and modelled for Lady Waterford in her studio at Ford Castle. Louisa named this her ‘great experiment’ and it took her 21 years to complete.

Born in Paris in 1818, during her life Louisa became an artist and philanthropist. Although undoubtedly born into wealth and privilege, Louisa gave back through her efforts to improve life for her tenants and workers. This Hall was originally commissioned by her as a school for the local children in 1860 – 20 years before it was compulsory for children to attend school. The model village of Ford was also her creation, providing housing for workers and also installing a nurse for free health care. Louisa was a woman very much ahead of her time, with an extraordinary capacity for compassion and an extraordinary talent for art. Displaying her talent from a young age, this very anatomical painting of a dead greenfinch was completed by Louisa when she was just thirteen years old:

Painting by 13 year old Louisa Stuart of a Greenfinch

Although Louisa’s accomplishments as an artist were recognised by contemporaries such as Queen Victoria, her talent is too often overlooked in studies of the Pre-Raphaelite artists. That’s why here in a small village in Northumberland, we’re shouting about her.

Today Louisa’s work can be seen in the V&A museum, the Royal Collection and the Tate. But it is the Lady Waterford Hall that houses her masterpiece. The museum is run by a charitable trust and relies on a small admission fee to survive. With fewer than 5000 visitors a year, conserving these beautiful murals becomes an uphill struggle.

The Lady Waterford Hall is all about herstory. The story of the Pre-Raphaelite sister you’ve never heard of. In the very north of England, we’re easy to miss, yet unmissable. Come and discover us.

LWH exterior

Open seasonally March-1st November.


Vicky Smith-Lacey Curator, Lady Waterford Hall

Friday, 31 July 2020 17:10

Visiting us & Covid-19

Our attractions, activity providers, accommodation and hospitality venues are all open and welcoming visitors, and we would like to thank everyone who has visited so far and has been respectful of all the Covid-19 safety measures that we have in place. A quick reminder of the key points:

Saturday, 04 July 2020 13:26

We're welcoming you back from 4th July!

It's been a long three and a half months but at last we are able to welcome you back to our beautiful estate.

Thursday, 25 June 2020 16:18

We will soon be open!

As the Government's Covid-19 guidelines are relaxed we are very much looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Ford & Etal Estates. From early July, guesthouses and self-catering accommodation will be open and most are taking bookings now. Our pubs, tearooms and coffee shops are also working towards being able to open, and visitor activities and attractions will mostly be open from the first weekend in July.  Public toilets at Heatherslaw and Etal will re-open on 6th July.

As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased and more people are coming out to enjoy the beautiful weather and our lovely estate we have been very disappointed by the disrespectful behaviour of a few of our visitors. This weekend there has been a huge problem with litter being left lying around and beside an already overflowing bin; cars parking irresponsibly at Etal river so that emergency vehicles, if needed, would not be able to access the area; disposable barbecues and fires buring the already scorched grass.

Please also note that at present ALL FACILITIES including public toilets remain closed.

We DO welcome visitors but ask that you PLEASE observe the countryside code and show respect for our lovely area and all the people who live, work and visit here. Please:

  • Observe social distancing at all times
  • Pick up your litter and take it home with you
  • Do not leave inflatables in the river - take them home
  • keep dogs on leads and pick up their poo
  • DO NOT have barbecues and fires - there is a huge risk of wildfires starting because everything is so dry
  • Park with consideration - where possible use the designated car parks (e.g. beside Etal Castle or Etal Village Hall)

Thank you.

Following our news bulletin on Wednesday 13th May we are now pleased to let you know that restrictions at Ford & Etal are being very gradually relaxed, as detailed below.

  • Anglers are welcome, subject to observing social distancing.
  • Visitors are welcome to access our open spaces, again ensuring that social distancing is observed. This is essential – whilst you may be fit and well you could, unknowingly, be carrying the virus and thus inadvertently infect others.
  • The village shops in Etal and Ford are open (9am-1pm at Etal; 8am-12.30pm in Ford) for general provisions and take away food and beverages.
  • All tourism venues and facilities including public toilets remain closed for the time being.

We would also respectfully remind you that our public rights of way cross farmland and areas of conservation. There are nesting birds, cattle and sheep in fields, hedgerows and woodland. Whilst you may not always see them it is important that they are not disturbed, therefore please keep your dog on a lead at all times, pick up dog poo and dispose of it in the bins provided and make sure that you close and fasten all gates. 

Thank you.

Thursday, 14 May 2020 09:17

Ford & Etal Sawmill & Covid-19

Our sawmill is open for business with strict social distancing practices in place. If you wish to place an order please do so by telephone (01890 820304) or via our website

Collections can be made at the sawmill gate; information/instructions will be given when you make your order.


Since our news bulletin on 24th March the information for tenants, suppliers and contractors remains unchanged with the exception of the sawmill which is open for collection of pre-placed orders.  The Estate Office continues to be manned on a part time basis to maximise business continuity, however it is not possible to meet Estate staff there. If you have a specific enquiry, the following staff are working remotely and can be contacted using the details below:

Wednesday, 13 May 2020 16:05

Covid-19 - Update for Visitors

Following our news bulletin in March our visitor facilities have remained closed and we are very appreciative that people have not made unnecessary journeys to Ford & Etal Estates, so helping to protect our employees, members of our community and the wider population.

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