This was my view for most of today. We were stewarding at a pleasure ride in Hulne Park. Horse riders were able to ride a set route through the Duke of Northumberland’s Estate here at Alnwick, either a shorter route of about 7 miles, or with an additional loop across the moors to give them a 10 mile ride. I mainly sat in the car and knitted while K pointed the riders in the right direction!
The estate is kept in pristine condition, with perfectly maintained fencing and immaculately mown verges. Some is kept as farmland with grazing sheep, but much of it is used for shooting: there are pheasants everywhere.
The park is open most days from 11am for visitors on foot. No vehicles (including cycles) are allowed (we had special permission) and no dogs are permitted (in case farm stock or game is disturbed) There are marked trails to follow. The park is occasionally closed to the public but details of closures are on the website.
Sometimes the views are just a little too perfect to be natural, then you remember that in the 18th Century the park was redesigned by Lancelot “Capability” Brown, who was famous for exactly that! There are beautiful specimen trees and well-constructed stone walls hidden in dips so they can can enclose farm stock without obscuring the view. The buildings are pretty special too, including Brizlee Tower, an 87 ft high, six storey gothic folly, designed by Robert Adam, and completed in 1783.
We were stationed at the point where riders had to decide on whether to take the long or short route. Apart from gusty winds, it was a lovely day, so most opted for the longer ride.
We saw everything from tiny children”s ponies to a massive Shire horse taking part, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
There are worse places to spend a Sunday!
Have you visited anywhere interesting this weekend?