As seen on BBC CountryFile” 2012
- Runner up in Northumberland WOW Awards – Best Tourist Attraction
- Northumberland Tourism Award – Silver – Small Visitor Attraction
- Trip Advisor – Certificate of Excellence 2017 & 2018
Hay Farm is situated between Ford and Etal on the B6354 and is home to the largest herd of rare breed Clydesdale Heavy Horses within the North of England.
The farm is steeped in history and in years gone by was an integral part of the Estate, the surrounding land being worked with 17 Clydesdales until the last ones left in the 1950s.
These majestic beasts returned to the Estate in 2012 to tell their story both past and present through a dedicated visitor centre, for which there is no fixed admission fee. Instead the centre asks for voluntary donations to support its work.
In 2017 the centre was awarded Approved Rare Breed Centre as not only is it home to the horses, but also to other animals which are now rare breeds but which would have been more commonplace in past times.
Visitors parking is available within the steading area. From here take a leisurely walk around the indoor centre. Housing one of the largest collections of horse drawn machinery, here talking points between the generations are facilitated as memories of days gone by are re-ignited. In addition, visitors are able to come up close and personal with the horses, which at different times of year range from foals to older working animals.
In the adjacent yard other rare breed animals can be viewed, all of which are in breeding programmes to help preserve their future survival. Outside in the fields heavy horses and rare breed sheep can be viewed in their natural surroundings - including the resident Stallion who has a very unusual friend.
On site there are two picnic areas, one outdoors with stunning views and the other under cover. Visitors are welcome to use these facilities whether they bring picnics or purchase from the centre's “On the Hoof” takeaway refreshment area.
The centre is dog friendly and has wheelchair access. Group visits are welcome (homemade picnics available if booked in advance.) School/Educational Visits can be arranged and tailored to specific requirements.
Visitors are asked NOT TO FEED THE ANIMALS as this can encourage biting, however carrots or apples can be left with staff to add to the animals' daily feeds.
Over the course of the year there are a number of activities held at the centre - further details can be found here. These include:
New for 2019 - Brewery Trips (Wednesdays - see website for details)