A charity dedicated to preserving traditional working horses is to lose its home, just five months short of its 20th anniversary.
The Working Horse Trust was set up back in 1994, starting with nothing but a plot of land that they rented from the Marquess of Abergavenny in his grounds at Eridge Park in Kent. It is now a working farm and home to 15 rare breed draught horses, many of which the trust bred itself.
“When we came to Eridge, we started totally from scratch,” said trustee Jo Ambrose. “There were no buildings, no fences, no water supply, not even any edible grass. But thanks to the outstanding efforts of our volunteers and the generosity of many well-wishers we have built ourselves a modest home that has served the trust well.”
The Marquess has now decided that he wants to use the land for livestock, which will supply meat for Eridge Park Farm shop. So the trust has until September 2013 to find a new home.
“We have to be positive and practical and rise to the challenge,” said Jo. “Looking on the bright side, we hope very much to find a new home with mains electricity and flushing toilets – essentials that we have managed to live without as we could never afford to install them.”
The trust is hoping to find around 50 acres of grazing with out buildings. They also want to stay as close to Eridge as possible so that they can continue to tap into the support they receive from the local community, who help care for the horses as well as raise money.
“We have over 30 dedicated volunteers who keep the trust running, and to lose that would jeopardise our future more than the actual move itself,” said Jo. “The trust is an integral part of these people’s lives so we cannot move too far away and risk losing any of the team, not to mention the skills base that we have worked so hard to build up.”
If anyone can help the trust find a new home they can email Jo Ambrose at [email protected].