The Hunt That Binds
Written by Julie A Toft
Nestled in the heart of the Northumberland countryside is a place where friendships are forged through a shared passion for hunting and conservation. This unique and idyllic setting provides the stage and scenery for the exhilarating Mill Valley Estate experience. A private game reserve that offers a variety of Gamebird shooting, Mill Valley houses over 400 acres of field and woodland area set in a rugged yet elegant environment.
From the moment that you turn onto the Estate’s main drive that winds its way through a canopy of cedar and ancient hardwood forest, you can feel the release of life’s daily rigours being replaced by a welcoming and relaxing aura. This is the spirit of Mill Valley and the culture that is woven into the place and its team.
Once on site, patrons enjoy a hearty breakfast allowing time for introductions in an informal and friendly atmosphere. Anticipation quickly builds and the talk turns to the events of the day ahead. After a safety brief, a stroll through the beautiful woodland allows hunters time to enjoy the autumnal and winter charm that graces the Estate through these seasons.
Amidst the spectacular scenery of diverse habitat, professionally handled gun dogs work, pointing and flushing Pheasants, Red-legged Partridge and Quail. The natural skill and hunting drive that the dogs display energizes the hunters, sparking an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation as the Pointing dogs methodically work the ground hunting, pointing, flushing and retrieving the shot quarry to the handlers. The sudden, explosive burst of birds quickly accelerates the adrenalin and proves to challenge and reward the discerning gun.
The strangely gratifying cold hands and toes endured by the hunting team, courtesy of extended time in the great outdoors, all deserve a warming break. This is delivered to the hunter in the form of “elevenses“: a signature mug of indulgent hot chocolate that warms the body and soul.
After a long morning in the field, it’s time for lunch. A Mill Valley lunch is a gastronomic experience in itself. Served in the Cabana, a hearty, healthy and delicious three-course meal is prepared “field to table“ Fine foods and wines provide the perfect compliment to the lively banter of glorious and gallant hunting tales.
Replenished and rejuvenated, the thrill of the hunt continues with everyone striving to contribute to the total bag number and final display of the days pursuit. For display, a “tableau“ in a true European style is beautifully arranged with fir boughs and lanterns, providing both a wonderful presentation for photos of the guests with their trophies and allotting the respect that should be shown to all Game.
Finally, a Mill Valley “apres-hunt“ is offered by way of a fine Charcuterie and cheese board with aged Ports and Whiskey. Cuban cigars are also available for those who care to partake. Overall and without a doubt, a hunt day at Mill Valley is a lifetime experience where fellowships flourish, lasting relationships are formed, ideas are shared and barriers are broken.
Photography courtesy of Allen A. Mekies
Limo courtesy of Global Alliance