Fly the birds at Hedingham Castle – falconry in the best Medieval setting out there! Where better than a 12th century Norman bailey for spending a day meeting and learning about these magnificent feathered creatures as they majestically soar through the skies over this Essex castle?
The wonderful Hedingham Castle is actually a privately-owned home (albeit one that is open to the public during the summer as well as hosting weddings and other events) with an imposing square keep and the immaculately-kept gardens. It’s also the perfect location for a spot of falconry – the sport of Kings.
You will spend the day with both the human and winged team here at Hedingham. The castle sits in around 160 acres of grounds so there’s plenty of room for the raptors to fly and show off their hunting skills. With fields and hedgerows too it’s the ideal natural habitat that these birds just love to explore and you’ll love watching them and interacting with them too
When it comes to equipment nothing much has changed since Medieval times. The falconer’s main tools of the trade still include jesses anklet sets hoods and chaps often hand-made from leather. Then there are the gloves again nothing much has changed here over hundreds of years save for perhaps the addition of fleece and other technical fibres to keep your hands warm!
And of course the relationship between bird and falconer is just as strong today. The birds that star in these Hedingham falconry days do a variety of jobs from appearing in displays and delivering wedding rings to pest control and TV appearances. They’re a very skilled troupe many of whom were hand-reared from young by this dedicated and passionate team.
There are some real characters here and you may be introduced to the likes of young Poppy the Harris Hawk who loves hunting and trying to untie shoelaces whilst Griffin the Harris Hawk is a gentle and reliable fellow. Sky is a rescued Peregrine Falcon who has been nursed back to health and happiness and Nelson is a stunning Golden Eagle who’ll take your breath away whilst little teeny Wilf the Burrowing Owl will make you laugh as he scurries about!
And then there’s Loki. He’s the bird that makes these Medieval-themed Hedingham Castle falconry days rather unique. He’s a Raven (the largest species in the crow family) who is bursting with intelligence and always out and about getting up to mischief but who will also fly to the gloved hand. A very special guest on these falconry days.