A century ago, power on farms was provided by one and a half million heavy horses, the pride of rural Britain. Today, heavy horses in the countryside are a distant memory, except Sillywrea Farm in Northumberland. It is the last farm in the country where all the jobs requiring the strength and power usually provided by machinery are still done by horses. John Dodd's family have lived at Sillywrea farm for more than 150 years and horses have always been the source of power. The work is hard, but John, his son-in-law David Wise and their five huge Clydesdales run the farm to the rhythms of the seasons, allowing nature to lead the way. The Last Horsemen provides a glimpse of a unique way of life and, in today's world of intensive farming and mass-produced food, is a reminder that we can still learn from the past.
Charles Bowden is a Northumberland farmer's son who read English at Oxford before joining Thomson Newspapers in Newcastle. He was agricultural editor of the Newcastle Journal from 1975 to 1985 when he moved to Tyne Tees Television to produce the weekly farming programme they made for ITV. He has worked as an independent producer making over 150 programmes about farming, rural issues and wildlife for the BBC and regional ITV companies. He lives in Northumberland, very close to Sillywrea Farm.