When: 5th May 2018, from 9.15am
Where: Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
£: Free to watch, all welcome
What is it?
The 409th Riding of the Bounds of the Berwick-upon-Tweed will be taking place this weekend, on Saturday 5th May. The ride is an ancient tradition to check the boundaries of Berwick-upon-Tweed and is the only ride of its kind in England.
Visitors to this unusual annual event should expect to see a spectacular cavalcade of horses.
The ‘Bounds’ or ‘Bounds of the Liberties of Berwick-upon-Tweed’ refers to the land between the border and the River Tweed. The ride first took place in order to keep what was an unofficial boundary, known to the English and Scottish. This method of passing on knowledge of boundaries to local inhabitants was a common custom before maps were commonplace and literacy was widespread. Berwick’s Riding of the Bounds would have originally been carried out by the town’s garrison, but today anyone is welcome to take part.
The annual Riding of the Bounds would be used to check the integrity of landowner divisions and the boundary ditch. In the first year the ride was completed twice, but since then it has only taken place once a year, in May. Many of the original customs are still observed, such as the decorating of the horses with ribbons, a race at Canty’s Bridge (said to commemorate the crossing of the Border by Margaret Tudor on her way to be married to James IV of Scotland in 1502) and a meal afterwards for the participants. The ceremonial ride has taken place every year with just a few exceptions.
This years event will see judging for the best turned out horse and rider taking place on the grass in front of the Barracks at 9.15am. This will be followed by the procession at 10.30am, from the Barracks to the Guild Hall. At 11am the ride will make its way out of the town, where the riders will take part in a gallop and trotting races during the afternoon. The ride will return to the town via Castle Terrace and head back to the Guild Hall at around 3pm.
More info: berwickridersassociation.co.uk