Welcome to the home of the Hylands Horses Project. The project is a partnership between Chelmsford City Council and Hawthorn Heavy Horses and to return working horses to the Hylands Estate. Located on the outskirts of Chelmsford, Essex, Hylands House and the newly opened Stables Centre is a stunning heritage venue set in 574 acres of Grade II* listed parkland.
Using rare breed Suffolk Punch horses, we aim to support the management of the Hylands Estate by providing environmentally sensitive management and visitor attractions, including carriage rides, grass cutting, harrowing, timber extraction and heavy horse related educational talks.
Holly and George, the original Hylands Horses outside Hylands House
The horses are usually at Hylands on Sundays and Mondays, although this may vary due to special events. To find out more please click our diary link on the right of the page.
The Hylands Estate consists of 574 acres of important grade 11* listed parkland, and is the largest area of public open space in the borough. Chelmsford City Council purchased the estate in 1966 (under the Physical Training and Recreation Act of 1937) when the house and other estate buildings were in a very dilapidated condition, with an uncertain future.
Following stage one and two applications, the Council were delighted to hear back in March 2003 that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) approved a grant towards the Hylands Estate restoration project in the region of £3.2 million. The Councils Executive Committee also supported the project and approved the remaining funding for the project, and entered into contract with the HLF in February 2004.
The work covered the restoration of the Repton landscape, including parts of the Pleasure Gardens, the Serpentine Lake, final phase of the Hylands House restoration, the relocation and improvements to the estate grounds' maintenance depot at Home Farm, repairs to flint cottage, and the conversion of the listed stable block to form a new visitor centre. This work was completed by 2006.
The final part of the HLF project was to reintroduce heavy working horses back to Hylands. A partnership was formed between Chelmsford City Council, Writtle College and Hawthorn Heavy Horses to provide the technical expertise to ensure that the project will succeed. The project then commenced in May 2008, and the horses first arrived at Hylands in June. Holly and George were Suffolk Punch horses and were chosen because they are the local heavy horse breed, and also because they were resident on the estate during it’s last period of private ownership by Mrs Hanbury from 1922 to 1962. Local people still talk of the Suffolks who were used at Hylands and on the surrounding farms, and it is a real achievement to have them back and working.
Hylands Horses Grazing
George retired in 2011 and was replaced by Roy a young two year old Suffolk with great potential. Later in 2011 Fergie joined the team, a stunning 17.2 5 year old, who also has great future promise. Both are in training with a view to starting work on the estate in 2012/13.
The horses wadd value to the Hylands visitor experience in various ways, such as for example:-
- Their presence in the Stable Block, the parkland and at other times in Home Farm.
- Available on special event days to provide carriage rides for visitors
- Used to carry out traditional estate management works such as grass cutting, woodland management / logging, clearance etc.
- To promote the estate and the horses at shows and other public events
- To assist in the interpretation of the Stable Block and estate
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The June schedule is now available for download here.
In addition to the formal dates contained in here we will be doing a lot of training with Roy and Fergie over the next few months, and will be out and about a lot on the estate, do keep your eyes open! This month we will be doing a lot of work in the woods and Taking part in the Fathers day 'Boys Toys' event. You can also find out more by viewing our Twitter feed below, or follow us for regular updates.
Bags of firewood logs produced by the Hylands Horses are available from the Stables Visitor Centre. These are the same size as the ones commonly found on forecourts of Garages, and are priced at £4.00 each. Unlike some suppliers our logs are excellent quality hardwood, mainly Hornbeam and Ash, which are produced from the sustainable coppicing that we are now doing on the estate to conserve the valuable woodland habitats at Hylands. In addition it is very sustainable with very little carbon used in it's production, making it possibly the most environmentally friendly fuel in Essex!
As seen on the BBC
Last winter spent 7 days extracting timber from an ancient woodland at the end of Stansted Airport. BBC Look East came to visit and the video can be found here