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Historic Burghley fences: ‘It’s always been called that’ *H&H Plus*

Burghley’s iconic fences have remained since its first running nearly 60 years ago. Catherine Austen traces the history of the Leaf Pit, the Trout Hatchery and more

A large part of the draw for spectators to a major horse trials is the chance to walk the cross-country course, marvel at the size and complexity of the fences, and see what the course-designer has done this time at familiar and famous questions, with the famous Burghley cross-country jumps being no exception.

The Leaf Pit, the Trout Hatchery, the Dairy Mound – fans instantly associate those names with Burghley, in the same way that Huntsman’s Close and the Vicarage Vee mean Badminton. But, while Badminton’s adjustments to the course over the years mean that we no longer watch riders through Luckington Lane or Tom Smith’s Walls, Burghley’s iconic features have remained constant since day one. Most were created by Bill Thomson, Burghley’s first course-designer.

“That’s something Burghley has done that Badminton hasn’t,” says course-designer Mark Phillips. “I first rode there in 1967, and you had the Leaf Pit, the Trout Hatchery, the Dairy Mound, Capability’s Cutting…”

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