Hawks on Walks Battlefield Falconry Centre FEATURE
Take a walk in the stunning Shropshire countryside and become a falconer for the morning at the Battlefield Falconry Centre just minutes from Shrewsbury. BritEvents' Amanda wings her way over to check it out.
By Amanda Arnold
Nestled away in the charming Shropshire countryside is the Battlefield 1403 farm shop and restaurant just outside the county town of Shrewsbury.
The Farm Shop is home to the Battlefield Falconry Centre, recently featured on the BBC TV show 'Country Tracks'.
BritEvents was kindly invited to look around the Falconry Centre to experience the 'Hawks on Walks' experience by owner Mark Southhall, and being half term I was pleased to accept and cheekily dragged along my two enthusiastic children.
Mark is highly trained in the medieval art of falconry and, meeting us with a smile, he gave us a tour of his popular and busy centre, explaining about the birds, where they came from, how they fly and how to hold them.
Mark is very enthusiastic about his birds of prey and is extremely interesting and knowledgeable. He took early retirement in 2010 to concentrate on his falconry hobby, and has quickly become the number one falconer in the Shropshire area.
After seeing how popular falconry was, Mark was instrumental in building the Bird of Prey Centre at Battlefield in Shrewsbury, where it provides a range of activities for bird-lovers, including bird handling sessions, halk walks, and even photography sessions for budding and professional photographers.
We all enjoyed looking around the centre, especially the children as they were blown away by being shown how to hold one of the beautiful barn owls.
Take a Hawk for a walk
Hawk Walks are a unique way to spend time with these beautiful birds, and with the help of Mark you can also become a falconer for the day.
This is a very popular activity and Mark recommends a group of just four people to get the most out of this experience, although more can be catered for.
Participants take a short ride across the historic Albrighton Estate which was the location of the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403.
The Harris Hawks are prepared and you are then shown the correct way to hold and call these beautiful, majestic creatures.
Once you have mastered this fine art, the birds are released and the walk begins.
The walks last for about an hour covering about a mile in a piece of local woodland and during this time these magnificent birds of prey are repeatedly called to your fists whilst you watch and follow them fly gracefully through the trees and surrounding countryside.
This is an amazing experience for all animal lovers and a fantastic memorable gift for loved ones, a great way to get close to these enigmatic creatures.
Photography of the birds is encouraged during this experience, giving you the chance to capture some wonderful close-up shots.
Gift vouchers are available to purchase online from www.hawksonwalks.co.uk or by calling 07866 926184.
Visit the Centre for the Day
You can get involved and gain hands on experience in the day to day running of the centre, learning about this medieval art under the supervision of a recognised Falconer.
Hawks on Walks
07866 926 184
You will be shown how to handle the birds, prepare them for flying and then take in the fabulous Hawk walk where you will be able to take control of the fantastic birds for the duration of the walk.
This is a whole day experience and is packed to the brim with activities; at the end of the day the participant is awarded a certificate to show their involvement during this wonderful day.
The centre is open seven days a week, from 9.30am until 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am - 4pm on Sundays.
This is a great gift for bird lovers that will be remembered for years to come.
Owner Mark has a wonderful way with the children, so why not take the opportunity to book a unique Birthday Party for your child.
For just 15 each, (min 10 children) the children will be able to handle a variety of birds including the beautiful barn owl, a kind kestrel and the Boobok owl called Bok.
The children will be shown demonstrations and the brave have the chance to dissect an owl pellet!
The lovely staff at the Sparrows caf will provide the food and the children will also be given a tour of the visitor centre, where they will learn the history of the Battle of Shrewsbury.
BritEvents.com highly recommends this fantastic centre and all their unique hands on experiences, we would like to thank Mark Southall for showing us round his Falconry Centre and introducing us to his beautiful birds and other animals that he has acquired at the centre just recently.