Come to fish the River Till on the beautiful Ford & Etal Estates waters in rural North Northumberland.
The River Till is England’s only tributary of the mighty River Tweed; as such it is governed by River Tweed fishing regulations. It is particularly well-known for its run of sea-trout from the spring to summer month but grilse and salmon are also regularly taken, as are grayling during winter months.
Night fishing is available during the summer months amidst this beautiful section of the river, in parts graded a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Under Tweed Rules you are allowed to fish fly, worm or spinner. Fly rods should be about 11 feet and generally single handed will suffice. Floating lines are best for summer, sometimes with a sink-tip. Spring and Autumn, sinking lines are useful.
In most instances wading is either not necessary or not possible, though in the summer months it may be useful when night fishing. Maps are provided and advice and even flies/lures are offered to visiting anglers.
Occasionally canoeists may be encountered - they have a right of passage and we would ask that fishermen afford them every courtesty.
Fishing permits for the Ford Beat can be urchased from Ford Post Office, The Estate Office or The Northern Trader in Milfield. Bookings and payments can also be made through Fishpal or by telephone on 01573 470612 (office hours only, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).
The image below is a sample of the maps that are available:
There are four main beats:
Redscar: This beat lies in the Milfield plain south of Redscar Bridge near Milfield Village and is a very easy beat to fish, with good access and level walks on the river bank. It runs to 1.5 miles with 15 named pools which are long and deep (4 to 8 feet) but are not fast running, comprising of glides.
Upper Tindal: The Upper Tindal beat runs downstream of Etal Village with over 1.5 miles and 16 pools and is where the nature of the Till changes, becoming much faster-flowing over rock with white water streams into deep pools, creating ideal fly water. This stretch is fished from the left bank with limited access to the heavily-wooded right bank. A single handed fly rod will cover the pools. The beat is let day or night from May to August during the main Seatrout run.
Lower Tindal: Lower Tindal runs for 2 miles and is a very attractive length of water set in a wooded gorge with numerous white water streams over rock into deep long pools. The left bank is all woodland and kept quiet as a conservation area. This is a beat for the able-bodied but well worth the effort.
Ford: This beat lies near Ford Village and runs for over 1 mile upstream of Ford Bridge. Fishing is allowed from both banks where woodland areas permit. There are several streams near the bottom of the beat, further upstream the pools are long and flow at a slower pace. 12 pools make up the beat, some of these pools stretch for 200-300 yards.
Like all landowners and land managers, Ford & Etal Estates have a duty to keep vermin under control. Particular attention must be paid to controlling species that are non-native (such as Grey Squirrels, Signal Crayfish and Himalayan Balsam) or which can damage agricultural crops, such as Rabbits and Woodpigeons. Carrion Crows are also actively controlled.
Ford & Etal welcomes many visitors from across the UK and Europe in the winter months to shoot game, in particular pheasant and deer. Please refer to the website of Hetton Shoot for further details of such opportunities and for contacts.
River Till The river is a major feature of Ford & Etal and much conservation work is needed to preserve and enhance its environment for the benefit of fish stocks, otters and other river life. The River Till has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
To counteract the effects of erosion and help stabilise the riverbank, willow sapling are planted on more vulnerable areas and stone ‘croys’ are constructed in strategic places to establish a better environment for river life. These help to create deeper pools and faster flowing waters which flush silt from the riverbed making a better breeding area for the minute creatures that the fish feed on.
Grounds Department Staff of the Grounds Department are responsible for looking after the appearance of the villages, other public places and the private gardens of Ford Castle and Etal Manor, giving them work to do all year round. Their duties include tending the formal gardens, trimming hedges, controlling weeds and mowing the large area of grass and verges in Ford & Etal.
Modern technology has affected gardening and grounds maintenance, just as it has affected farming. In former times up to 20 people were employed on the estate for this purpose, at a time when not just Ford Castle or Etal Manor but also larger farmhouses had garden staff. Nowadays there are just five people employed in maintaining the grass and grounds
There’s nothing better than a walk with your dog in the countryside and at Ford & Etal Estates we welcome dogs and their owners but ask that you are respectful of the area and of other people by following the simple advice below.
Ensure that your dog does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control. This means that you:
keep your dog on a lead, or
keep it in sight at all times, be aware of what it's doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command
ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have right of access.
We strongly recommend that in public areas you keep your dog on a lead at all times.
The access rights that normally apply to open country and registered common land (known as 'open access' land) require dogs to be kept on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, to help protect ground nesting birds, and all year round near farm animals.
For your own safety and for the welfare of the animals your dog should be kept on a lead around horses and farm animals. A farmer may shoot a dog which is attacking or chasing farm animals without being liable to compensate the dog's owner.
However, if cattle or horses chase you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead - don't risk getting hurt by trying to protect it. Your dog will be much safer if you let it run away from a farm animal in these circumstances and so will you.
Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and it can cause infections, so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly. Please do not leave poo bags on footpaths - "bag it and bin it" in one of the bins in the villages. Poo bags are available free of charge from Heatherslaw Visitor Centre, Ford and Etal Village Shops, and at the start of the riverside walk at Etal.
Follow the Countryside Code - Respect Protect Enjoy
Respect other people
Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
Leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available
Protectthe natural environment
Leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home