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The surrounding countryside is filled with wildlife. Deer graze in the fields, foxes dash through the hedgerows, otters swim in the river and an abundance of birds, including the famed red kite, mesmerise the viewer.
REDISCOVERING & RENOVATING
In 2013, on returning to her favourite childhood walking spot, Deborah re-discovered the farm, now empty and available for her to buy. Over the following two years the neglected house, the derelict stable and the little outbuilding were sensitively restored, bringing back to life one of the few remaining farmhouses in the Valley.
The renovation manages to retain the integrity of the 19th century buildings while successfully creating light an airy contemporary spaces for 21st century living. The family farmhouse has been transformed by adding the glass extension and introducing north and west facing windows that ensure light enters the home throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. The little outbuilding has been rebuilt to house the biomass boiler that supplies all the accommodation on site with hot water and underfloor heating.
With a view to creating an annual artist residency and some quirky spaces at the Farm, Deborah sourced a couple of derelict cargo carriages formerly used on the Derwent Railway Line. This Line was opened in 1890 to carry coal and bricks from Consett to Newcastle but in the early 20th century up to half a million commuters used the trains. It was decommissioned in 1965 and thereafter transformed into the popular Derwent Walk which runs to the North of the farm and attracts walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.
Each 1930s cargo carriage has been converted into tiny houses, stylish and self-contained with little gardens and beautiful views over the valley.
Built in the early 19th century this tenanted farm grew to include barns, outhouses, sheds, cottages and stables. Originally the farmhouse had a cottage extension to the West with a small outbuilding. The pretty little sandstone cottage you see on entry through the farm gate was extended into a stable using Lily brick from the local brickworks. During industrialisation the Derwent Valley was home to numerous collieries and each had its own brickworks. If you look carefully the names of these Brickworks Lily, Ruby and Bute can be found in the restoration of the farm. Much like it is today, lawns spread out beyond the buildings and the flower beds were filled with cottage garden plants. The original quince tree featured in old photographs still grows across the front of the house and blooms beautifully each spring.
The tenanted farm was a working farm until the 1950's and tended agricultural land and livestock including cows that supplyed milk to the villagers.
THE STABLES AND GARDENER'S COTTAGE
The Lily brick stables were added to the original sandstone Gardener's Cottage in the late 1800's creating a horseshoe configuration. However by 2013 they were derelict. The restoration of these buildings required careful dismantling and cleaning of the bricks and sandstone which took months in preparation for the rebuild.
The brick stable was converted into a contemporary spacious 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with a tiered south westerly facing garden that was built on the site of the original metal grain shed.
Gardener's Cottage was restored into a self-contained separate dwelling which was used as a studio until 2020. It has a small circular garden with stunning views over the valley.
The garden is surrounded by woodland, with expansive views over meadows and forests to the National Trust's Gibside Estate and the Column to Liberty situated on the other side of the River.
With a helping hand from her father and friends Deborah has uncovered some original planting schemes and continues to create a garden for all seasons which includes secluded private spaces for guests to relax . While no longer a working farm, the garden is home to beehives providing honey, free range chickens and ducks laying eggs for us daily and a carefully tended organic garden supplying fresh produce year round.
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