An article from The Cowden Cronicle about our Family Carriage Picnic Drives.

Written by Nicky Adams

Since contributing to the Cowden Chronicle “Family matters” I have really enjoyed discovering things to do closer to home to entertain not only a rising two year old but activities that the whole family can enjoy.  Previous weekend visits to the likes of Peppa Pig World and Sea Life just confirmed our desire to be ‘far from the madding crowd’ on our precious family days out.

So whilst on the hunt for a unique local activity to entertain three generations, I stumbled across a most fabulous and unique way to spend a sunny day and just a stones throw from Cowden.

The Horse Drawn Carriage Company operates from a charming farmhouse on the outskirts of Ashurst Wood. Their core business is weddings but to our delight this summer they have diversified and now offer various other carriage driving experiences including family picnic rides.

The day was booked and we prayed for sunshine and set out on our adventure with my rather apprehensive parents in-law who have a slight aversion to large hairy animals!  Their worries soon dissipated as soon as we arrived and were greeted by the enthusiastic and very friendly owner, Julie and her menagerie of tame creatures from Florence the duck, Tilly the terrier and Teddy the very inquisitive Anglo Nubian goat.

We were introduced to our trusty steeds, Tommie and Charlie, two handsome, grey inseparable half brothers that have driven together all their lives and their synergy certainly shows.

We were helped into the carriage which is an original 200 year old Barouche and enjoyed a welcome glass of bubbly and my daughter, Molly, homed in on a little basket named ‘Goat Treats’ which she held on to intently for the duration of the ride!

For the next ¾ hour we were driven around some beautiful country lanes whilst Tommie and Charlie worked in harmony giving a surprisingly comfortable and exciting ride.  For those who have never travelled in a horse drawn carriage it really does take your imagination to a bygone era.  The in-laws were chatting and smiling and Molly was mesmerised by the whole ‘Clip clopping’ experience (still clenching the goat treats!).

Tommie and Charlie then came to a halt and waited patiently while we climbed down from the carriage. We bid our farewell and set off on a signposted woodland walk which guided us past ‘Goat Corner’ where to Molly’s delight Teddy, Nora Batty and  Gladys were quite literally singing for their treats and had obviously pre-empted the arrival of food as soon as the carriage pulled up!

We continued along the woodland walk to a clearing beside the woods where we discovered our vintage picnic oasis and spent a good couple of hours enjoying a fantastic locally sourced picnic, with treats for little ones plus a thoughtful box of games. Bunting, wild flowers, tea cups and relaxing seating areas all added to the charm of our quintessentially English, fantastic family day out.

Tommie, Charlie and the team are certainly well worth the visit and if you are looking for something pretty unique this summer I can’t recommend them enough.  Visit www.thehorsedrawncarragecompany.co.uk.