Your carriage awaits! Ride in style from brewery to pub

Anna Cockburn, standing in front of the horses, John Owen, seated, Black Bull manager Iain Dickson, standing on dray on the left, and Cheviot Brewery sales director Peter Nash, right.
Anna Cockburn, standing in front of the horses, John Owen, seated, Black Bull manager Iain Dickson, standing on dray on the left, and Cheviot Brewery sales director Peter Nash, right.

An iron-wheeled original Vaux Brewery dray pulled by a pair of magnificent Clydesdale horses has marked the start of a new tourism partnership on Ford & Etal Estates.

Cheviot Brewery, the Black Bull pub and the Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre have joined forces to offer a unique experience for visitors.

The partnership was launched last week when Clydesdales Merlin and Scott, driven by Hay Farm’s John Owens, formerly a driver for the Federation Brewery and Beamish Museum and accompanied by Anna Cockburn, one of the owners of the Heavy Horse Centre, made a ceremonial delivery of Cheviot Brewery’s Ale, picking up the casks from their brew house and delivering them to the Black Bull pub in Etal.

The delivery traced the route of a new visitor experience which will be on offer from Easter, when visitors will be able to take a carriage ride from Hay Farm which will include a brewery tour and tasting at Cheviot Brewery followed by a trip to the Black Bull.

This new offer to visitors builds on the already established relationship between these neighbouring businesses. Cheviot Brewery, since it began brewing in July, has supplied its spent malt to Hay Farm as an animal feed for its horses.

The Black Bull was one of the first pubs to serve Cheviot Brewery Ale and serves their Upland Ale as a permanent cask ale on their bar. The pub also uses Cheviot Brewery ale in a number of their dishes in the restaurant.

Viv Cockburn, founder of the Heavy Horse Centre, said: “The dray was gifted to the centre some time ago and we were delighted to be able to use it for its original purpose.”

Iain Dickson, manager of the Black Bull, added: “Our visitors and customers certainly appreciated seeing the horses in action, an unexpected treat indeed.”

Jonathan Hodgson, one of the founders of Cheviot Brewery, said: “It really was an impressive sight to see the horse-drawn dray delivering to The Black Bull.”

Peter Nash, sales director of Cheviot Brewery, said: “It is an excellent way to mark the start of this new partnership and our collaboration with local attractions on Ford and Etal Estates.”

Cheviot Brewery occupies the former North Northumberland Hunt kennels in Slainsfield, which had been empty for some time. Its production facility is able to produce over 2,000 pints every brew.

The Black Bull reopened in June following a two-year closure and after an extensive refurbishment.

It is now operated under a lease between Ford & Etal Estates and Michael Pickard and Marshall Muirhead.