SHIRE horses from a heritage tourist attraction are embarking on a farewell tour before retirement.
Jerry and Claire, from Erddig Hall, have been getting ready for their first – and last - tour of National Trust special places in Wales.
This will be the first time the horses, who have been at the National Trust property near Wrexham for more than 10 years, have left the estate and as part of their ‘holiday’ preparations, they have been having their hair plaited, teeth polished and hooves shod.
Pictures by Geoff Abbott / NWN Media
Nearly at retirement, the working shires, aged 19 (66 in human years) and 15 (56), will be visiting Plas Newydd, Penrhyn Castle, Chirk Castle and Powis Castle to encourage visitors to follow in their hoofsteps and visit National Trust attractions.
To help families plan their spring adventures, National Trust Wales has created a guide to spotting animals and wildlife, with details on the likelihood to see them and where.
Medina Dicks, coachman at Erddig, said of the Shire horses: “They might be retiring but they are certainly not shy. Jerry and Claire love meeting new people. They have taken hundreds of visitors on carriage rides over the last 12 years so it is time their hard work was rewarded with a trip of their own before they retire.”
Erddig is currently fundraising to raise £25,000 to buy two new horses to take over from Jerry and Claire, who will see the rest of their days out on the 1,200-acre estate.
Justin Albert, director of National Trust Wales, said: “We hope Jerry and Claire’s tour of our special places will inspire families to come out of hibernation and discover something new for themselves this spring.
“The loveable Shires aren’t the only animals to see at our places. There is so much wildlife at National Trust in Wales.
“Families can download the National Trust Wildlife Guide from the website and explore what is on offer at our places near them.
“We have got lots of exciting developments happening at our places in 2016 so this is a great time to plan a series of firsts with National Trust.”
Children from Victoria Community Primary School visited the Shire horses as they got ready for their tour yesterday.