Humans and animals have worked beside each other for centuries, hunting, surviving and thriving together. Of all the traditions to be passed down, falconry has become one of the most enduring. Dating back as far as the 1st century BC, people have used falcons and hawks for hunting and sporting activities. The birds were seen as status symbols for medieval royalty – Henry the 8th was known to be an avid falconer and rumour has it his falconry mews were larger than his stables. William Shakespeare also enjoyed sending the birds into flight, using them in his plays where possible.
Various falconry centres are dotted around the UK, all dedicated to preserving the art. One of the best in the North of England is the Cheshire Falconry Centre located in Blakemere Village. A number of activities are on offer, from live displays to the popular Raptor Encounter where people can see the birds up close. There’s the opportunity to spend time with owls, buzzards, hawks and falcons. Go the extra mile and the Full Day Falconry involves a trip into the woods to see a hawk show off its natural hunting prowess.
From a personal stand point there was nothing quite like seeing a hawk scope the trees and take down its prey with precision. The staff are friendly, reliable and extremely knowledge in their field. Other attractions include a five day course perfect for beginning falconers who want to pursue their passion. The lessons are intensive, developing knowledge in the aspects of terminology, health care, housing, diet and selection.
Seeing birds of prey in flight is an unforgettable experience. Whether pastime or profession, falconry is an exciting way to spend your time. The staff at Cheshire Falconry are dedicated to what they do and exemplify masters of their craft.