The countryside is constantly changing, both with the seasons and with the activities of man. This week regular visitors to Ford & Etal will notice a big change to the landscape on the road between Heatherslaw Railway Station and Etal. The small clump of Poplar trees beside the cycle path has been felled.
The children from Hugh Joicey C of E First School, Ford Village, became “Heritage Heroes” this summer by taking part in the Heritage Lottery funded Village Atlas Project run by local archaeological group TillVAS.
Hannah Longmuir is a countryside artist, building delicate, detailed drawings by layering thousands of little pencil marks. She combines her love of the great outdoors with her passion for drawing and an obsession with beautiful paper goods.
Ford village, picturesque and secluded, is still recognisable as the place it was a hundred years or more ago. After centuries of border warfare, the union of England and Scotland led to a more peaceful time, and by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the area was a quiet, rural backwater. But it was also an era of change – industry was growing, travel and communications becoming easier, the population was expanding, and agricultural estates like Ford were vital for food production.
Ford and Etal Estates is a quiet and remote part of the country, filled with hidden gems, with many walking trails around the villages and farms. But one of the wildest parts of the estate is a place many visitors don’t get to: the nature reserve of Ford Moss. Situated east of Ford village, it lies away from the main roads, accessible by foot from Ford, or by car along a narrow, winding lane followed by a short walk. The Moss itself is a bog, dangerous to walk on, but a circular path allows visitors to explore the area safely.
The third artist/crafter exhibiting in the Lady Waterford Hall artists display cabinet this year is Jane Jackson of Bright Seed Textiles.
Bright Seed Textiles are Northumberland based husband and wife team Keith & Jane Jackson. 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. Jane's original Harris Tweed "paintings" can be purchased directly from the artist. She is also happy to undertake commissions or produce new versions of originals that have previously sold. Her images are also available as giclee art prints and greetings cards, the latter being available to view and buy in the Lady Waterford Hall from the beginning of July until 2nd September.
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.