Welcome to Winsford - a small Somerset village in the heart of Exmoor National Park.

This website is designed to give visitors a glimpse of its history, its lovely unspoilt character and the many things to do and see in and around Winsford. It also provides visitors and locals alike with a single source of information about village life: its attractions, its local services, events, sports and voluntary activities and, through the Winsford blog an insight into the life of one of the prettiest villages on Exmoor.    Read our introduction to Winsford.
Village Diary - What's Coming Up     View the full diary
Sun 11 Dec 2016 6:00 pmCarol Service – Young Farmers, St Mary Magdalene Winsford
Mon 12 Dec 2016 2:00 pmCraft Club, Winsford Village Hall
Tue 13 Dec 2016 7:30 pmMoor Movies presents Love & Friendship, Winsford Village Hall
Wed 14 Dec 2016 6:30 pmWINSFORD CAROL SINGING, Winsford Village Green
Sun 18 Dec 2016 10:30 amBasic Obedience Gun Dog Training, Meadow by River Exe
Wed 21 Dec 2016 7:30 pmThe Royal Oak Christmas Quiz Night, The Royal Oak Winsford
Sun 25 Dec 2016 11:30 pmMidnight Holy Communion, St Mary Magdalene Winsford
Wed 11 Jan 2017 2:30 pmThe Winn Club – Age UK, Winsford Village Hall
Wed 8 Feb 2017 2:30 pmThe Winn Club AGM, Winsford Village Hall
Wed 8 Mar 2017 2:30 pmThe Winn Club – Talk by Simon Meade Master Saddler, Winsford Village Hall
November 22, 2016


2016-11-22 14.11.17
Nick Ayliffe – 40 years in racing

January 31st 2016 saw Nick Ayliffe hang up his saddles after 40 years as a National Hunt trainer based in our beautiful village of Winsford.

Nick is a Cornishman, born in Bude in 1934 who, as a teenager got his first taste of racing in Point to Points following in the footsteps of his father who was a jockey but was sadly killed in battle in Algeria during the Second World War.

However he had to leave any aspirations of riding in more Point to Points behind by leaving school at 15 to work in the stables of the celebrated Gerald Balding in Bishops Cannings,Wilts., Gerald was the father of the famous Ian Balding (Mill Reef) who trained in Kingsclere, and the grandfather of Andrew,who now runs the stable, and Clare Balding,one of our foremost female broadcasters.

 

2016-11-22 14.10.57Nick was there for a year and during this year the famous three time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Cottage Rake was temporarily stabled at Bishops Cannings before one of his successful victories in the premier NH race.Also stabled there was the favourite for the 1951 Grand National, Arctic Gold, who went off 8-1 favourite but fell at the first fence!

Nick went on to work with Gerald Winzer and the Devon & Somerset Staghounds in Exford before moving on to be Head Lad for the legendary Leslie Scott at Selworthy and after 2 years there joined the Army with the Household Cavalry. During his time Nick met his wife Eileen and married in 1957. While there he looked after a famous eventer, Starlight,who won Badminton and represented GB in the 1952 Olympic Games.

On leaving the Army Nick re-joined Permit Holder Leslie Scott staying with him for 8 years before again re-joining the Devon & Somerset Staghounds as Head Stud Groom again for another 8 year stint.

Nick set up on his own as permit Holder in 1974 for 2 years before taking out a full licence in 1976 and saddled his first winner Joint Account at Devon & Exeter who was bought for a mere £600 and then went on to run a creditable 4th in the NH Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

 

2016-11-22 14.07.29                                                  Without Pretence at Devon & Exeter

 

Nick hit the headlines with one of his first horses Waltzer who won races at Taunton and Newton Abbot both times ridden by Nick’s son Martin.Button Boy, Tudor Waltz and Routing were also winners in the early days for Nick and Button Boy provided Brendan Powell Snr. with his first winner.

Nick had 6 winners in 1992 which is good going for a stable of 8 boxes not all of which were always filled.

Famous gambles were pulled off by Midsummer Walk backed in at Hereford from 66-1 to 25- and most recently Nick’s last ever winner Dalrymple at Huntingdon priced at 33-1 on 23rd   November 2013.

 

2016-11-22 14.07.01

Sara-Lane at Ludlow ridden by Martin Ayliffe

Nick has never had the luxury of expensive horses or many owners but he has managed to train over 50 winners in his career on a shoestring budget, mainly doing all the work around the yard himself with the help of a number of local stable lads and lasses.In the early days it was a real family affair with son Martin riding the majority of the horses. Martin is now Senior Lad at David Pipe’s yard in Wellington.

For his forty years in racing Newton Abbot dedicated a race to him in October where he was interviewed live on At the Races, a worthy tribute to our Winsford legend!

Making The Most of Your Visit

Whether your here for walking, riding, shooting, mountain biking or simply relaxing - Winsford has something to offer. You can find useful information for visitors below.

Information for Residents
The Weather in Winsford, Somerset
13°
light intensity drizzle
humidity: 100%
wind: 5m/s W
H 13 • L 10
12°
Fri
12°
Sat
9°
Sun
9°
Mon
9°
Tue
Weather from OpenWeatherMap
Receive our Email Newsletter
Enter your email address:

This is a great way to keep in the loop with village news. Your email address will not be shared with anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any time.