Of all the different kinds of property a buyer can choose, the English country cottage surely has the strongest personality.
Low, beamy and modestly-sized, cottages – whether thatched, pan-tiled or slate-roofed – tend to have been built as homes, rather than as status symbols. They connote security, peace, continuity and cosiness.
Modern cottages don’t hold quite the same appeal – buildings take time to mature. A century or two of ‘curing’ by habitation and the elements can breathe life into inanimate stone to such an extent that estate agents speak of ‘character cottages’, as though they had a fully-formed personality of their own.
Cottages are also season-proof, in that they hold their appeal no matter what time of year it is. They’re warm and cosy in the winter, but are also the coolly perfect place to enjoy the lazy thrill of England in the summertime.
The following four properties are all rural property delights, and are all currently on the market in our area. Buy one now and you could be in bucolic bliss by the time the weather warms up.
Crispin Cottage is a double-fronted cottage overlooking the beck in the heart of Bishop Monkton, south of Ripon. It was a two-up-two-down until it was extended, and it now has a utility room, shower room and an enlarged – and fantastically light-filled – kitchen-cum-breakfast room.
Upstairs, there are two double bedrooms, and the beamy ceilings have been given a whitewash, making the whole house seem unusually airy for a low-rise cottage. The property fronts straight onto the street, but to the rear there’s a beautiful – and private – stone-flagged garden.
Two miles down the road in Burton Leonard, 1 Royal Oak Cottages is at the more spacious end of the cottage scale; its loft conversion has given it three floors of accommodation, including five bedrooms and three bath/shower rooms.
It has plenty of period features, such as beams, black-leaded fire range, bow windows on the ground floor and Yorkshire (i.e. side-sliding) sash windows upstairs. Outside, there is a lawned garden to the front and it too has a courtyard garden, as well as an outbuilding with mezzanine.
On the other side of the A61, to the northwest of Ripon, Adel Cottage is a spacious family cottage on Kirkby Malzeard’s Main Street. It has four bedrooms, one of them on the second floor, where there is also a very large and potentially useful L-shaped landing.
There are also two reception rooms and a conservatory extension, which looks onto the lawn and seating area of the enclosed garden. Just beyond, there are old stone-built outbuildings, and to the side there’s a large double garage.
Finally, a mile-and-a-half to the north, Oak Cottage is a picturesque stone-built cottage in the centre of Grewelthorpe. It has three bedrooms and an additional spacious loft room, and there’s scope for futher extension.
Parts of it could probably do with some updating, but the panelled doors, exposed beams and wood-burning stove go a long way toward redressing the balance. In addition, it has an attached garage and elevated gardens with extensive seating areas and lovely views, and the tourist attraction of Hackfall Woods is also a short distance away.