There are few finer country spectacles than a point-to-point in full flow, so wriggle into your wellies, fill up your flask and find those binoculars.
Cocklebarrow, Gloucestershire (Heythrop)
When: January 25 2015
Cocklebarrow made its debut last year and proved a big hit, reviewers describing it as ‘a jewel in the crown’ of the amateur racing calendar.
The organsising team has not rested on its laurels. This year there will be a new, heated marquee complete with a television screen showing the action. There will be plenty to keep the kids occupied, too, with face-painting, magicians and mechanical horses.
Away from the racing: don’t miss the much-anticipated inaugural ‘Tough farmer’ competition—Heythrop’s answer to the Ironman.
Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire (Harkaway Club)
When: February 2, April 18, May 10 and May 25 2015
Handily located in the heart of the West Midlands, this is a top-class course with fantastic all-round viewing. It features probably the season’s most prestigious race, the Lady Dudley Cup men’s open on April 18. Also keep an eye on the fiercely-fought Anglo-Irish challenge, which takes place at the May 25 meeting and sees teams of four men and four women from each country race against each other. The Emerald Isle will be seeking to claw back a deficit, having been trounced twice on home turf in the last two years.
Away from the racing: there is plenty to keep the family entertained, including a funfair, food, bars, tradestands and donkey rides.
Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire
When: February 8 2015 (South Wold) and March 1 2015 (Brocklesby)
A proper, fun, friendly, old-fashioned point-to-point held in the magnificent grounds of Lord Yarmouth’s estate. The 1000-acre Park and woodlands were laid out in the 1770s by Capability Brown and provide a stunning backdrop for the feast of action.
Away from the racing: Look out for the Brocklesby hounds on March 1: they are the only pack of purebred English Foxhounds in the country, with records of their breeding dating back to 1746. They are all raised on the estate.
Whittington (Vale of Lune)
When: April 4 2015
Racing first took place at Whittington in 1936 and it has been a popular venue ever since. There is a natural bank towards the end of the course that provides excellent viewing of the whole course.
Away from the racing: This is the part of the world that provided poetic inspiration to Thomas Gray, John Ruskin and William Wordsworth—and looking across the Lune Valley towards the Lake District, you can see why. Pack a picnic and park yourself facing the view.
Penshurst, Kent (Old Surrey & Burstow)
When: March 22 and April 18 2015
Tucked away in beautiful rural Kent yet with good access from London, Penshurst is one of toughest tracks in the area and therefore attracts a high calibre entry. Viewing is best from the inside of the course.
Away from the racing: a visit to the historic Penshurst Place, a five-minute drive from the track, is highly recommended. The house—once owned by Henry VIII—and the Grade 1 Listed gardens are open from 30 March.
Lockinge, East Midlands (Old Berkshire)
When: April 6
Etched into the fabric of the Berkshire sporting and social calendar, this fixture is always an Easter highlight. There is excellent viewing and the long run-in to the winning post ensures plenty of edge-of-your-seat finishes.
Don’t miss the pony racing—many professional jockeys hone their skills in the pony ranks and it’s the place to see the next generation in action.
Away from the racing: Lockinge has a reputation for its shopping. Its farmers’ market—a popular new addition last year—provides something a little bit different.
For more information and start times, visit: www.pointtopoint.co.uk
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