Spofforth house with added appeal

16/1/13  Mike and Liz   Ward on decking in their garden  next to the viaduct to nowhere at Spofforth
16/1/13 Mike and Liz Ward on decking in their garden next to the viaduct to nowhere at Spofforth
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A property with an unusual garden feature looks set to have potential buyers steaming round to have a closer look.

For there in the middle of Mike and Liz Ward’s back garden in Spofforth is a 35 feet high viaduct.

16/1/13  Liz and Mike  Ward on top of the  viaduct to nowhere in their  garden at Spofforth

16/1/13 Liz and Mike Ward on top of the viaduct to nowhere in their garden at Spofforth

Liz said they were looking to move closer to their granchildren in Lincolnshire and added: “We will miss it and hope it will go to another family who will love the viaduct as much as we have.”

The redundant railway bridge is hidden behind the standard four-bedroom detached and most visitors to the quaint cul-de-sac don’t even realise it exists.

The Victorian viaduct was a big selling point for Mike and Liz when they bought the house 30 years ago.

It was built in 1848 when the York and North Midland railway opened from Church Fenton to Harrogate.

The line was one of the first to be axed by Beeching in the 1960s. But although the track has disappeared, the bridge and its five stone arches remain.

Although it is not listed, it is considered to be a fine specimen of 19th century railway engineering.

Mike, a retired typographer and advertising designer, said: “We were relocating from South Manchester and we looked at loads of properties between Leeds and York.

“Spofforth is a lovely village with a fantastic school and the house was family-sized, but it was the garden that really sold it to us.

“We thought the viaduct was great, although people still don’t quite believe us when we say we’ve got a railway bridge in the garden.”

The unusual extra was added when the previous owner bought a third of an acre from a local landowner.

The idea was to demolish the viaduct and use the stone to build another house, but access was an issue and planners refused to allow the demolition of the historic structure.

Estate agent Paul Baxter, of Dacre, Son and Hartley, which is marketing the house at £450,000, was certainly surprised when he saw it.

“It took my breath away.

“I’ve been in the business for years and I have never seen anything like it. It’s absolutely amazing,” he said.