THE UK’s leading horse carriage drivers will descend on the district for a prestigious national event.

Bywell Parks, at Bywell Hall near Stocksfield, will host the British Carriage Driving National Championship, from Thursday, August 29, to Sunday, September 1.

The honour has been bestowed upon the venue just 12 months after it hosted the Bywell Horse Driving Trials for the first time.

The British Championship, and the national Para Drivers Championship, will both take place as part of the 2019 Belsay Horse Driving Trials.

It will get under way with dressage on the Friday, before the excitement of the carriage driving marathon on the Saturday, as competitors enter obstacles such as water hazards at high speeds. More competition will follow on Sunday, before the champions are crowed.

An event spokesman said: “The marathon on Saturday is the most exciting part of the event – the aim being to go as fast as possible in each of the obstacles.

“The faster you go, the fewer penalty points you receive. Speed coupled with smoothness and accuracy make for the best times, the lowest number of penalties and the most excitement. It’s a great day out for competitors and spectators alike.”

People are being encouraged to attend the event, where there will be food, teas and coffees, as well as various trade stands. There will be dozens of competitors, with ponies and horses, and single carriages, as well as pairs, and teams of four. More information is on the event’s Facebook page.