FREE ! Find out more about Shire Horses

We are pleased to be able to welcome William the Shire Horse back to Hunsbury Hill Country Park for this year’s Heritage Open Days.

We are starting off in the Play Area Meadow (see map below) at around 11 am with a simple Meet & Greet and an opportunity to ask questions (and, for those who are very well behaved, perhaps an opportunity to feed William a carrot or an apple). William’s Owner, Robert Clarke of Hartwell Shires, has also agreed once again to give some demonstrations to show us how he braids William’s mane and tail in show ground competitions around the country. Robert will also demonstrate one or more of the various types of harness used for the different tasks that William can do.

In the afternoon, at around 2:30 pm, Robert and William will be doing some chain harrowing in our Wild Flower Meadow, to help spread the wild flower seeds and promote stronger growth and wider spread.

This year, Robert has agreed to walk William from the Play Area Meadow to the Wild Flower Meadow, through the main car park, sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 pm, so that everyone will have an opportunity to see this magnificent Shire Horse. The last time William (full name Eastcote William) was measured, he stood at 19 hands, so he is probably the largest horse in the UK. He is only 9 years old and still growing.

After the chain harrowing, around 3:30 to 4:40pm, Robert and William will walk back through the Park to the Play Area Meadow for more opportunity to meet William and ask Robert questions about William and Shire horses generally (4:30 to 5pm).

Please do come and say ‘Hello’ to William but please remember to keep dogs on a short lead when near William, for the safety of all.

Entry to the Park, car parking and the Meet & Greet, demonstrations and chain harrowing are all FREE, although we will be hoping for generous donations to be dropped into our buckets. 100% of everything you give will be split between ourselves and Robert Clarke, who will get at least 50%, to help affray some of the expense of looking after, and showing, William.

Donations are our main source of funding at present[1] so please donate generously if you like what we are doing ~ or better still, buy some Northampton Lottery tickets through our dedicated page and give yourself a chance every week to win up to £25,000, as well as helping to fund us.

The approximate timings for the day are summarised below, although this is only a guideline which is subject to adjustment for the weather, and Robert (and William !) :

  • 10:30 …. Set up in Play Area Meadow
  • 11:00 …. Q&A, with braiding & harnessing demonstrations
  • 13:30 …. walk from Play Area Meadow to Wild Flower Meadow
  • 14:30 …. chain harrowing in Wild Flower Meadow
  • 15:30 …. walk from Wild Flower Meadow to Play Area Meadow
  • 16:30 to 17:00 …….. Q&A in Play Area Meadow

[1] We also rely on Northampton Lottery ticket contributions, and we have had a grant from West Hunsbury Parish Council and sponsorship from Horts Estate Agents for notice boards.