Gallery from the Bromesberrow Rally

Sunday the 10th October saw a small group of us gather at the entrance to the Bromsberrow Estate for a drive across ground lying below the southern end of the Malvern Hills. For me it was going to be something of an unknown venture as I had never been involved with carriage driving before.

Although a bit chilly to start with, the weather couldn’t have turned out better with lovely sunshine throughout. There were just five of us plus two horses and two dogs. My hosts, Richard and Debs, brought along their seven year old pony Dursley, for whom this was to be his first cross country drive in the company of another horse.  Ed turned up with his pony Megan and Emma welcomed us all to the day’s activity with bacon and egg rolls and coffee. I was the lucky guest, for whom this was to be my introduction to ‘off roading’ using real horsepower.

Whilst I looked on and took photographs, the two horses were groomed and prepared for the day, before being coupled to their respective carriage. All very new to me, but interesting to watch and my excitement grew along with that of the horses; they both seemed to anticipate the adventure as much as anyone. It wasn’t long before we were all onboard, Richard in control of Dursley, with Debs and me as passenger and Emma riding as passenger with Ed and his horse Megan. At a gentle pace we crossed a lightly wooded boundary in to a field full of sheep that seemed to have anticipated our arrival, bleating a greeting to us at the field gate! Richard took the lead, keen to keep Dursley’s attention on the way ahead rather than be distracted by the other horse and carriage. I was really amazed by how smooth the ride was, Richard runs his carriage on pneumatic tyres, so this obviously improved things and it was all very comfortable. I was able to relax and enjoy the sounds of the countryside; startled pheasants, circling buzzards and plenty of rooks and jackdaws. Ed and Richard took turns in taking the lead, with both horses proving very willing and responsive. Richard in particular was very pleased with how Dursley was coping and so was also able to relax a little and enjoy the trip.

After about 30 minutes we left the parkland, making a short detour via a stretch of open road, before turning back into the Estate and the lush grass of Chase End Hill with White Park cattle and sheep grazing peacefully as we passed by. The atmosphere was terrific as we drove through well managed woodland with towering sweet chestnut and beech trees, past beautiful agricultural cottages with neat gardens and fantastic views across miles of open county side to the distant Breedon Hill. We just had to make several stops to admire the breathtaking scenery and far reaching views and of course to give the horses a breather; some of the track took us up some steep inclines which must have been quite challenging for them.

After a further 40 minutes or so of driving, we left the Estate grounds via North Lodge Cottage and again took to the open road, this time for a mile or two before turning back into the Estate ground via a track running alongside a stubble field. Rooks and jackdaws feeding on lost grain took to the wing as we stopped for a rest and then thought ourselves very lucky; looking back to the road we had just left, we counted around fifty or sixty tractors drive by obviously on an organised event; we were fortunate to have left the road ahead of them, rather than joined behind them!

Moving on, we drove back into the park land of Chase End Hill, past some renovated farm buildings and then across in front of the Stable Block and Bromsberrow Place, a beautiful Regency Greek Revival house built in 1768. After a pause for photographs, we then descended down to the main lake and gave the horses a chance to ‘up the pace’ as we drove back to the horse boxes and our transport back home. The horses were uncoupled from the carriages and given a good rub down and as they had a well earned net of hay, we sat down to a late picnic lunch. Richard and Debs’ had made some tasty sausage rolls and sandwiches, whilst Emma treated us to slices of home baked fruit cake, coffee, tea and cold drinks.

For me it was a fantastic introduction to carriage driving and, as we sat back in our chairs and soaked up the last of the warm sun, we must have had echoes from Lou Reeds 1972 composition running through our heads, as we all agreed it was ‘Such a Perfect Day’. Thank you for letting me come along and be part of the day out, it really was perfect.