Martin and Catherine of Feather Down Marks Hall in Essex, just 13 miles north-east of the London M25, are mad on horses and can match your children’s interest with their own, answering questions and teaching all about their lovable team of horses. As every horse-lover knows, every pony and horse has its very own personality. There are quite a range of personalities at Marks Hall on a glamping Essex trip from which to make your choice! Let’s start with the ponies:
Kye 11 hands high black Dartmoor gelding. Kye is the smallest and cheekiest of all the horses and ponies. He is also very greedy and loves apples and carrots.
Sovvy 13 hands high chestnut New forest mare. Sovvy is very calm and sensible, she loves being ridden and will stand for hours being groomed.
Molly 14.1 hands high bay welsh cob mare. Molly is a forward going very safe ride. Lovely for children and adults to ride.
Then the horses:
Leo 15.1 hands high Irish cob gelding. Leo is Mr reliable, he will amble around the school quite happily, but is fast when you want him to be and everyone loves him
Jazz 15 hands high piebald mare. Jazz is a very gentle sensitive mare, she loves attention and is a lovely forward going ride
Knotty 15.3 hands high chestnut thoroughbred ex-race horse. She is the oldest of the horses at 30 years old but is still very lively
Calypso 16 hands high Irish chestnut mare. Calypso is a handful!!! She is only suitable for very experienced riders, but is a real sweetie in the stable
Monty 16.2 hands high Irish chestnut gelding. Monty is a lovely laid back chap who is very calm to ride but does get excited when it comes to jumping!!
Katie 16.1 hands high grey thoroughbred ex-race horse. Katie is super speedy but is a sensible and safe ride
Rupert 16.3 hands high black shire/TB gelding. Rupert is a big gentle giant, with a lovely kind nature
Roman 16.3 hands high bay Irish sports horse. Roman has a lot of character a very friendly horse and is great in the school to jump and for dressage
A Marks Hall glamping Essex trip still only starts with horses
Marks Hall has character to spare and that’s not only among the three ponies and eleven horses. Beyond the horses, nature is a big part of Marks Hall: they having been part of the Entry Level Scheme for Countryside Stewardship for around 20 years. It is a lovely glamping Essex location as the number of weddings that have been held here attests to. Herds of deer come onto their land, very safe to do so. There can be 50 or 60. There is also a very large badger set. Badgers are shy and keep odd hours but a fun challenge is to set up nearby at those times for the thrill of the sighting. Just 10 minutes away, National Trust Hatfield forest is beautiful too and has a boating lake and charming tea room too.
It would be fine to stop here, but Marks Hall’s appeal extends far beyond, still. The tents back onto a charming little river about 10 feet wide, easily wide enough to kayak down as David and Catherine do themselves and offer to guests too. In the river rather than over it, a dip, swim and splash there and in the mill pool in the warm months is a delicious sensation. This is nothing if not an eclectic location, impressively so considering their main appeal is so focused. In the summer, when the straw has been baled, kids will be able to play on it, which is always a hit. During the Feather Down season, the grass is cut short for football/rounders and a volleyball net either up or ready for your glamping Essex getaway.