Set in a hollow at the top of the hill to the east of Ford village, with stunning views over the Till Valley and the Cheviots, Ford Moss is an area of wild landscape, exciting flora and fauna, and historical remains of an abandoned mining community.
Ford Moss extends to over 60 hectares (150 acres). It is an area of bog and scrub known as a lowland raised mire. A deep layer of peat, formed by rotting vegetation over many thousands of years, overlies the carboniferous limestone bedrock. Seams of coal were mined on the site from the late 18th to the early 20th century. Ford Moss has become increasingly more dry over the last 250 years mainly through human activity (mining, afforestation and associated drainage).
The bog plant communities in this area include the aromatic Bog Myrtle, while the adjacent woodland contains mature Scots Pine and Oak trees. The Moss is also of interest for its wildlife, the site being home to common lizards and occasional adders as well as birds such as red grouse, woodcock and snipe. Buzzards and kestrels are also often seen above the reserve.
Because of its special characteristics, Ford Moss was notified in 1968 as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and further classified by the European Union as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in 2000. Ford & Etal Estates work closely with Natural England and the National Wildlife Trust to promote positive management of the reserve. The aim is to maintain the conservation interest, principally by reducing the amount of water run-off through a series of small dams on the bog surface. This has retained the mire community.
Ford Moss is dangerous to walk on. Its boggy surface is very soft and treacherous. However, a circular path of 2 miles allows visitors to walk right around the area and gives excellent views of the surrounding countryside as well as the Moss itself.
Park on the road side by the main entrance gate and please wear appropriate clothes and footwear. A seasonal toilet is located 300m further along the tarmac road behind the small stone building.
High quality horses and ponies suitable for all ages and levels of expertise are available.
Hack out along quiet country lanes, across moorland, through grass fields and woodlands, or take an excursion to the beach and hills.
All the family can enjoy the experience of riding together. Booking is advisable but the visitor is welcome to come along and see the horses and ponies. The Riding Centre is situated on a farm one mile from Ford Village.
There is also a comfortable three bedroom self catering cottage for family holidays.
Lady Waterford Hall is an ideal venue to give your children a taste of Victorian school life too! Victorian books, games and slates are all available in the stunning context of the original schoolroom at Ford.
The Hall presents a fantastic opportunity for students of all ages to gain an insight into the contrast between life in the past and the present, in a real village setting. With its stunning murals and wonderful 19th century paintings and sketches Lady Waterford Hall is the perfect venue to study a whole range of subjects such as Religious Education, Art, Creative Writing, Victorian History, Genealogy and much more.
You could consider including a visit to the historic Heatherslaw Mill or a trip on the steam railway, both of which link in with the Victorian theme at Lady Waterford Hall, or simply explore the village with the help of the Hall's "Footsteps round Ford" leaflet and discover its history. Visits can be tailored to meet your requirements, whether on a single subject or cross curricular, and teachers are invited to make a free visit prior to bringing their group.
• We can cater for groups from 11-60+ in number (may need to split group if there is a large number of children). • Discounts on normal admission prices for school groups – details will be supplied at time of enquiry/booking.
• Free pre-visit for teachers • No time limits within opening hours – visit for a couple of hours or stay all day • Outdoor picnic area • Indoor facilities for storing bags or eating lunch • Gift shop within the Hall • Tearoom, Shops, Post Office • Free coach parking.
Please fill out our contact form or telephone 01890 820338 for more information.
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.
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.
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.