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Behind the scenes point-to-point


A treasured tradition of the country scene, point-to-points, have become an intrinsic part of our rural heritage.

No one knows that better than current chairman of Eyton-on-Severn’s South Shropshire point-to-point committee, James Tanner. James’ great Uncle, Craig Tanner, was instrumental in bringing the fixture to the well matched topography where the racecourse boasts to be the longest in the country, with a natural grandstand from the steep bank, carved under the Wrekin. Today James leads the South, while Ben Shaw is chairman of Eyton’s North Shropshire point-to-point committee

James explains: “Craig Tanner had moved to farm on the Raby Estate in 1917, six years later, a passionate horseman, he had brought the event from its previous home at Sundorne to Eyton,” His great nephew reflects, “apparently he won all the races on one day at Eyton, he competed in the Grand National and also he won the Aintree Foxhunters. His farming included breeding Hereford cattle and Shropshire sheep, though he almost certainly rode too many horses and died in 1936.”

The 7,000 acre Raby Estate remains home to Eyton race course thanks to host, Lord Barnard. This means that twice each year land farmed both in hand and by tenant farmers is taken over by the North and South Shropshire Hunts, with each alternatively host the Easter Monday and the May Day bank holiday fixtures.

Says Lord Barnard, whose home for ten years overlooked the course: “The track is part of the Estate – and part of a great tradition, it provides a wonderful day out for all those who enjoy country pursuits – and I am pleased to say that, contrary to some point-to-point’s Eyton seems to be thriving.

Behind the scenes managing agent, Richard Jones-Perrott, of Balfours, ensures that the grassy bank and facilities surrounding the paddock are fit for purpose come race days, with grazing licences working around the dates. “We receive a facility fee so that tenants can be recompensed for the disruption to their farming practices,” Richard explains.

Quality of the track is critical, at two and a half miles and crossing 12 fields, it is a course which endorses the original sentiments of huntsman pitting their skills at the end of the season, from “point-to-point.” However this also brings its own challenges, dealing with different tenants and crops.

Clerk of the course, Jonny Cornes, who farms at Lythwood, is painfully aware that without a good track, albeit on a temporary basis twice a year, race entries would be in short supply.  He leads a team of more than 20, from fence builder Jim Squires, to vets, fence stewards and secretaries.

Having himself been in the saddle, riding twelve winners at Eyton between 1988 and 2000, including the remarkable achievement of winning four consecutive men’s open races, on the same horse, Chip ‘n Run, Jonny admits: “It’s a big responsibility, which I took on four years ago from the late John Beddoes, who had been clerk for twenty years. It is my job to make sure that we adhere to all the rules and regulations; thankfully much of which has been in place for many years, but every year health and safety goes a step further. While the racing is amateur, the horses and of course jockeys are riding at great speed therefore it is critical we have optimum conditions.”

Weather and ground conditions vary from week to week and year to year, so for one meeting the ground may need aerating to allow the water to sink in giving better penetration and a more consistent turf, while on another occasion rolling may be sufficient. The two point-to-point committees share a storage building on the estate where the necessary ropes, railings, flags and other race paraphernalia can be stored from year to year.


A similar situation prevails for the Teme Valley and United point-to-points, with the Harley Estateand its tenants hosting the fixtures at the Brampton Bryan racecourse, which provides a natural bowl setting in the landscape. “The setting is wonderfully picturesque giving excellent viewing on the course along the undulating banks of the River Teme,” observes the Estate’s agent, Paul Segrott, of Balfours, who is also on the point-to-point committee having been master of the Teme Valley for six years, retiring in 2012.

Paul observes: “Regulations have certainly challenged many point-to-points in recent years, to hold one day at Brampton Bryan now costs around £18,000. We are finding increasing pressure to leave fences, posts and rail supports in situ to save erection time, but this in turn impinges on the Estate and its tenants carrying out routine agricultural practices.”

Currently point-to-points are rated for business rates by the local authority, but happily fall below the threshold for payment of business rates. However Paul warns that if this allowance were removed it would add a further burden to the sport and rural activity which is treasured by so many.

He adds: “It is a day which provides everyone in the country with the most magnificent facilities; there is the opportunity to walk the course by the beautiful river, with the hub of the event providing food, bars, stalls, the bookies and of course a fair. Everyone is pulling together to put on a fabulous day, the trainers, course stewards, plus of course the jockeys and their mounts. Significantly the track is free draining, so even if we have had snow in the morning, it doesn’t actually mean we won’t be racing in the afternoon.”

So pack a hamper, the binoculars, take a weather check for sunscreen or thermals, and amid the smoked salmon quiche, burgers, or trip to the fair ground, don’t forget the horses. The amateurs’ steeplechase, should not imply a lack of quality; owners, trainers, jockeys are all there for the love of the gallop, three miles or so over fences producing quality racing and exhilarating sport.

Fact file

  • New Hunt Scurry: Last year Brampton Bryan introduced a highly successful, Hunt Scurry. A truly amateur race, this year South Shropshire is following on the same track. The hunt scurry is not under rules and is open to budding jockeys over 16 years of age; neither the horse nor the jockey can have competed under rules, underlining the original end of hunt season competitive hurrah.
  • Point-to-points are governed by Weatherbys
  • Volunteers’ help, is the backbone of each event, from programme selling to car parking.
  • Sponsorship is the life blood which enables each fixture to maintain and stay the right side of regulations, staging a happy memorable day for owners, jockeys and spectators alike.
  • The first Steeplechase ever was over 250 years ago. Chasing from 'steeple to steeple' or point-to-point began when neighbours challenged each other to race across country from church to church and to jump stone walls, ditches and hedges as they presented themselves. By keeping the steeple of the church in sight (steeplechasing) both riders could see their finishing point.
  • The first reference to a hunt holding a point-to-point came in 1875, when the Sporting Gazette contained a detailed account of a Monmouthshire Hunt Point-to-point chase held on 12 January from Llansaintfraed to Tykin-under-Little-Skirrid, which Captain Wheeley won easily from his thirteen rivals.


April 1, Ludlow Hunt, Bitterley, Shropshire

April 9, Teme Valley and United Pack, Brampton Bryan

April 17, South Shropshire Hunt, Eyton-on-Severn

May 1, North Shropshire Hunt, Eyton-on-Severn

May 7, Brampton Bryan - A walk in the park

Sunday 4th June – Brampton Bryan Park Fun Ride

More details and


Craig Tanner eyton1920s

Brampton Bryan  200mm wide

James Tanner blue Alastair Crow orange

Jonny Cornes

RJP and Lord Barnard

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Level land in good heart


Land extending 54 acres (22 hectares) at Letton and eight miles from Kington has been launched to the market by Balfours.

The three level fields at Lower Kinley Farm, are currently down to grass, but could easily be cultivated.  Agent Scott Kemsley of Balfours, says: “The land is in good heart, the soil is generally deep, well drained medium loam soil. In the past grain and potatoes have been grown as cash crops producing good yields. “

The site has mains water and good access. The land is marketed with a guide price of £475,000. A three bedroom farmhouse is available by separate negotiation. For more information call Scott Kemsley on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.


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Balfours appoint new agent


Frances Steer has been appointed to the growing team of land agents at Balfours.

A qualified surveyor and agricultural valuer, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, respectively, Frances brings with her three years’ experience working for a national land agent in West Sussex.

The move has brought her closer to her Cheshire home turf, which she says will help enable her to see more of loved ones.

She explains: “I joined Balfours at the beginning of the year and already have covered a diverse variety of work, including estate management and valuations. I have also been driving an expression of interest application to the Welsh Government, on behalf of a Welsh estate seeking grant funding to install a major biomass district heating scheme.”

Based at New Windsor House, Shrewsbury, Frances is enjoying the work hard play hard ethic which prevails. Partner, Richard Jones-Perrott, says: “Frances is already proving to be a worthy team member, with an eye for detail and the ability to think on her feet.”

This spring Frances is putting down more roots near Shrewsbury, for herself and her black Labrador, when they move into their own home. She is also looking forward to the summer when she can up her game in swimming, running and cycling to compete in triathlons.

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Heritage and beauty in village setting


A four bedroom village house with a striking Georgian exterior has been launched to the market by Balfours.

The exterior of Bank House, Dorrington, six miles south of Shrewsbury belies, the age of this grade II listed house, which is believed to have been built in the mid-17th century.  Internally its oak frame and wealth of exposed beams, studwork and truss detail have been meticulously and tastefully restored to reveal breath taking heritage and beauty.

Dorrington village is virtually equi-distance of six miles from Shrewsbury and Church Stretton, with the main Midlands network converging some four miles north on the A49.

The ground floor provides two good sized reception rooms, together with the kitchen, downstairs cloakroom with shower and utility. The first floor has three bedrooms, the master room being en-suite and the other two bedrooms sharing a shower room. The second floor benefits from a superb suite retreat, with bedroom, bathroom and sitting room.

Below stairs is a room which could retain its original purpose of a cellar, or be used as a gym. Bank House is blessed with several other external rooms including one currently used as a workshop, which is attached to the house, an office and a garage. The house benefits from well-kept garden to the front and rear of the property.

Agent Duncan Scobie comments: “This is a very pleasing home, laced with heritage and in an excellent quiet location within Dorrington, where local amenities include primary school, vibrant village hall, popular public house, eateries and village shop and butchers.”

Bank House is marketed with a guide price of £550,000. For more information call Duncan Scobie on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

main Bank House

lounge Bank House

kitchen Bank House

Bedroom Bank House

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Ludlow town landmark on the market


A slice of Ludlow’s heritage is on the market. Castle Lodge, is a magnificent Grade II* listed medieval town house of long standing historical significance and once home to Catherine of Aragon.

Standing in the prime location of Ludlow’s Castle Square, this Elizabethan timber framed town house provides four large reception rooms, plus kitchen dining room and twelve bedrooms; there is also significant attic space on the third floor.

Agent Scott Kemsley, of Balfours says: “This is a very rare opportunity to own and enjoy a piece of Ludlow’s heritage and town landmark, with the prospect for commercial or residential use, from restaurant to boutique guest house or family home, subject to planning consent.”

Used as a film set in the 1960s as the backdrop to the film version of Moll Flanders, Castle Lodge  boasts a Chapel, Great Hall, Court room and drawing room among its reception rooms: Rooms which  live up to expectations with exquisitely carved timber panelling, reputedly originating from Nonsuch Palace.

Castle Lodge has some of the largest collection of oak panelling in England and dates from the early 13th century, rebuilt in 1580. In Tudor times it was the home of Elizabeth I's Master of Requests and was once used as a prison. The principle rooms are each steeped in history, with oak board flooring and original fireplaces.

Probably Castle Lodge, along with Ludlow Castle is most famous for being the residence of Catherine of Aragon, whilst she was married to Prince Arthur. She later went on to marry Henry VIII, Arthur's younger brother after his death from tuberculosis.

Castle Lodge has been privately owned throughout its history and was a hotel up until the Second World War. Scott adds: “Ludlow is not only a lively and diverse market town, but is renowned as a fabulous and growing centre of tourism. Castle Lodge has unmeasured potential to tap into tourism and fine dining. Castle Lodge is marketed by Balfours with a guide price of £900,000. For more information call Scott Kemsley on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

Castle L main

Castle L bedroom

Castle Lodge pendant

castle lodge close panel

Castle L panneling

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Lostford Manor a happy heritage


A charming manor house, combining traditional timber frame with later additions, Lostford Manor, Tern Hill offers a six bedroom home, leisure amenities and a barn with planning permission.

This pleasing on the eye property in the rural hamlet of Mickley, is approached over a drive. It has its own paddocks, loose boxes, tennis court and garaging. The entrance hallway gives access to the main reception rooms, while a rear hallway provides access to the spacious “U” shaped kitchen breakfast room with direct link to the dining room.

Ground-floor accommodation also offers a stunning drawing room with two pairs of French doors and fireplaces. The garden room links through to the sunroom, while the office can be accessed from both the kitchen breakfast room and externally. Cleverly arranged are the boot room, laundry room and wc, with a second wc with external access only.

In addition to the main staircase ascending from the hallway a second staircase is found, adjacent to the service rooms. On the first floor are two en-suite rooms, the master-room with balcony; a third bedroom and the family bathroom. Two additional bedrooms are on the second floor and two attic rooms offer great storage or alternative use.

On the market with Balfours, agent Duncan Scobie says: “This is a fabulous character property, with well-proportioned rooms, add to this its proximity, less than 20 miles from the M6 and major towns including Stoke and Shrewsbury, you have a highly attractive package.”

Balfours are marketing Lostford Manor with a guide price of £900,000, including detached barn with planning, for more information call Duncan Scobie on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

Lostfordmanor main

Lostford Manor paddock 2

Lostford Manor breakfast kicthen 4

Lostford Manor barn 3

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