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    Horse Riders To Enjoy New Facilities At Northumberland Equestrian Centre 02/12/05

High Plains Farm
A run-down Northumberland farm that was transformed into a high quality equestrian centre with help from Defra, has been awarded additional funding to expand the service it offers to horse riders.

The original plans to convert High Plains Farm at Riding Mill attracted a grant of £67,000 from Defra's Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES) last year. The money was spent on building 12 livery stables, an all-weather, floodlit, competition-size arena and a cross-country farm track allowing riders of all ages and all standards to explore the Northumberland countryside.

Earlier this year the project was awarded a further £27,500 towards the cost of building another 12 high quality stables, a tack room, shower and toilet facilities and also to create a schooling field with water jumps.

Owner Tom Warde-Aldam is delighted that phase two of his scheme is almost complete. He said:

"Our new stable block is finished and is now virtually full. The schooling field, which has some challenging jumps, is also complete and we are halfway through building the tack room.

"With our top-notch facilities we aim to provide something a little different to other livery stables. Our services range from DIY livery to a comprehensive service provided by our staff. At one end of the scale we have people who keep their horses here and come every morning and night. At the other end, there are people who know they won't see their horse all week and ask us to do it all on their behalf.

"We pride ourselves on being flexible. For example, if someone works irregular hours but can't afford full livery, we can tailor a package to suit their needs and their budget. DIY livery clients can call upon our staff at times when they find themselves unable to get to their horse perhaps due to illness or work commitments."

Mr Warde-Aldam is amazed at the transformation that has taken place in the area since first applying for a grant through the RES.

"This was an incredibly run-down farm that employed one part-time worker. Now it's been transformed and employs two full-time and three part-time staff. I could never have envisaged this project being successful if it hadn't been for the grant from the Rural Development Service (RDS) and I really appreciate all of their help and advice."

Richard MacDonald, an adviser for the Rural Development Service in the North East, said:

"We are pleased to see the second phase of this innovative scheme approaching completion which is providing a wholly comprehensive service to horse riders in this area of Northumberland."

Anyone interested in viewing the facilities or joining the waiting list for livery can contact manager Julie Howard on 07855 440757 for an appointment.

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DEFRA
Department for Environment
Food and Rural Affairs