Please contact the estate directly for more information, questions or requests.

Ford & Etal

Northumberland, UK

Ford & Etal is one of rural Northumberland’s best kept secrets. Home to the Joicey family for over 100 years, this working estate has fascinating heritage attractions, beautiful countryside to explore, tempting places to eat, drink and shop, as well as a
welcoming range of accommodation.


No trip to Northumberland is complete without a visit to Ford & Etal Estates.

Its history dates back not hundreds, but thousands of years. Settlements at nearby Maelmin, as well as Duddo Stone Circle, provide evidence that people have lived in this area for over 4,000 years. Down through the centuries life at Ford & Etal has been far from uneventful. Here you will find tales of battles lost and won, curses, murder, betrayal, raiding, grief, long-held enmity, but also of love, family, hope, pilgrimage and peace. These villages have been home to medieval knights, royal offspring, Pre-Raphaelite painters and industrial magnates.

The recorded history of the Estates dates back to the 11th century, when Ford and Etal were under separate ownership. Lying close to the contested border with Scotland, Ford and Etal were sacked, raided and burned many times during the Wars of Independence in the 13th and 14th centuries. The locals had to defend their homes against invaders from over the border, but also against foes closer to home – a deadly feud existed between the Heron family of Ford and the Manners of Etal.

It was also here that, on 9th September 1513, the path of national and international history was altered at the Battle of Flodden Field. James IV of Scotland was killed, becoming the last British monarch to die in battle.

Subsequent owners of Ford include the Carr, Blake, Delaval and Waterford families, the Estate passing down through inheritance or marriage. Etal has descended through the Earls of Erroll and Glasgow, as well as Lord FitzClarence, the illegitimate son of King William IV. In the 1880s it was sold to the notable shipbuilder, James Laing.

Ford and Etal were united for the first time in 1908 when James, 1st Baron Joicey, bought Etal Estate just a year after purchasing Ford from the Waterford family. Lord Joicey was a successful coalmining magnate from County Durham and his descendants still own the Estates to this day.

Though life on Ford & Etal Estates is now peaceful, you can still find many glimpses into a turbulent past.

The Estate

This is a large (5500ha) rural Northumberland estate comprising farmland and woodland and is centred on the two villages of Ford and Etal, very close to the Scottish Border, the Cheviot Hills and the historic Northumbrian coast.  It also has a significant tourism sector and welcomes visitors to explore its water-driven corn mill, the Flodden battlefield, the unique water-colour mural paintings at the Lady Waterford Hall in Ford, the miniature steam railway, its tearooms, its wildlife and all its other hidden corners.  Approx 30 micro-businesses now operate across the estate.


The Ford & Etal estate is principally farmland with small areas of woodland but with a diversity of landscapes and habitats.  Conservation policies by the Estate and its tenant farmers over many years mean that the area is rich with wildlife.   Management of the land and the forestry has always been a mix of commercial and environmental elements.  Woodland reserves have been designated for one of the last populations of Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in England.  

The River Till is home to the Otter (Lutra lutra), Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar), Brown and Sea Trout (Salmo truta) and Lamprey (Lampetra sp.).  Ford Moss is a rare example of a raised peat bog containing several uncommon species of plants such as Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus) and Bog Myrtle (Myrica gale), mosses (Sphagnum sp.), butterflies and other insects, and birds. Many footpaths and bridleways criss-cross the estates, allowing visitors to enjoy this nature and excellent views of the Cheviot Hills and the River Tweed valley.

Historical sites

*The battlefield of Flodden saw the final defeat of Scotland in 1513.  

*The Duddo Standing Stones are dated at 4200 years old and are a local ‘Stonehenge’.  

*The Maelmin Heritage Trail recreates a Mesolithic site.  

*Heatherslaw Corn Mill, a restored 18th century water mill, still produces flour from locally grown wheat.  

*Etal Castle was ransacked at the time of the Battle of Flodden. 

*Lady Waterford Hall, built in 1860 as the village school, contains unique life-size water-colour murals and works by Louisa Marchioness of Waterford. 

*Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre tells the history of farming and is home to several rare breeds of farm livestock.

*Walking, cycling and canoeing are popular activities and a great way to experience the natural beauty of the estates. Leaflets for walks of various lengths are available from the Visitor’s Centre or can be downloaded from the website.

Sports and Education

-Cycle hire and route guidance is available from Ford.  Lanes and roads are quiet and suitable for inexperienced cyclists. National Cycle Route 68 (560km, from Derby to Berwick-upon-Tweed) runs through the estates.

-There is guided canoeing and tuition on the River Till.

-Visits by schools and other groups are always welcome.  

Food and Drink

Cheviot Brewery is a microbrewery producing a range of real ales which can be purchased in local shops and pubs. Beside the brewery is Cheviot Tap, a bar which is open at weekends for drinks, including their own ales, and home-made pizza.

Heatherslaw Corn Mill produces stoneground wholemeal flours for bread making and baking and offers locally produced oats and traditional oatmeal.

Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre sells jams and pickles, all made to Granny’s secret recipes.

The Old Dairy in Ford produces award-winning jams and marmalades that have scooped numerous prizes in the annual World Marmalade Competition in Cumbria. There are several tearooms and cafes dotted around the Estates. They offer light refreshments, snacks, lunches and delicious, freshly baked cakes.

The Black Bull In Etal, Northumberland’s only thatched pub, serves traditional British pub food and is managed and run by Cheviot Brewery.

The Bluebell, a pub at nearby Crookham, offers lunches and dinners daily.

The Red Lion in nearby Milfield serves lunches and evening meals using local produce wherever possible.

The Black Bull, in the nearby village of Lowick ,serves locally sourced food and offers lunches and evening meals.

Overnight Stays

Bed & Breakfast
There are several privately run bed and breakfast businesses on the Estates.

Holiday Cottages
There is a lovely selection of holiday cottages on the Estates accommodating anything from 2 – 12 people. All are privately run.

Camping and Glamping
Ford Bridge Campsite welcomes campers and caravanners to Ford; Etal Estates, currently visitors must be members of the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Cheviot Glamping

Stay in furnished pods or bell tents on Ford & Etal Estates beside Cheviot Brewery and Cheviot Tap. Meet the alpacas; Hops, Malt and Barley.

The Black Bull at Lowick, The Bluebell in Crookham and The Red Lion at Milfield all have comfortable rooms where visitors can be accommodated.

For further information on all local accommodation please visit our website.

We take real pleasure in welcoming thousands of people to Ford & Etal every year, whether for their first visit or because they come back time and again. I hope you too will come to love the place as much as we do.



Please contact the estate directly for more information, questions or requests.


Ford & Etal 
The Estate Office, Ford

TD15 2QA
United Kingdom

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