New venue for annual show

Action from a previous Festival of the Heavy Horse.
Action from a previous Festival of the Heavy Horse.

One of Britain’s biggest heavy horse festivals has moved to a new venue and organisers of the event hope it will be bigger and better than before.

Nearly 7,000 visitors flocked to Northumberland’s Festival of the Heavy Horse in its first two years at Milfield.

And numbers are again expected to be high in the new venue at Etal Showground on Ford and Etal Estates.

This year’s festival, on Sunday, June 7, sees the introduction of the very rare Stallion Cart Class and will be a qualifier for Equifest for the British Ridden Heavy Horse.

The magnificent driving teams and working-horse displays will be back again with an increase in shows.

Clydesdales are the breed traditionally associated with Northumberland, but the festival brings together heavy horses from all over the UK, including shires and Suffolk punch.

The main ring entertainment will feature all three types, as well as sheepdog and gundog displays and a vintage First World War horse-drawn army vehicle.

On top of this, vintage machinery and traditional agricultural skills can be seen with wheelwright and blacksmith demonstrations.

Visitors will also be able to watch the skills of award-winning tree sculptor Tommy Craggs, along with the prowess of a scythe worker.

There will also be an increase in the number of farriers displaying. The Scottish Young Farriers’ Team is taking part, including last year’s Royal Highland Show champion.

There will be food, craft and demonstrators’ tents. A milliner and a straw-weaver will be showing off their skills as part of the event.

Gates open at 9.30am on Sunday, June 7. Tickets are £10, children free, OAPs £7. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.heavyhorsefestival.co.uk Tickets will include entry to nearby Heatherslaw Corn Mill.