There are plenty of people – especially from the west of our county – who will know just what ‘horizontigo’ feels like. It describes a feeling of unease induced by exposure to a flat landscape. If you’ve ever felt a little unsettled driving through East Anglia you’ll know exactly what it means.
There are plenty of others, though, who would choose a lateral terrain over a hilly one any day of the week. Perhaps they feel claustrophobic when ‘cradled’ by the land, but freer when ‘unleashed’ by a broad expanse of sky.
Of course, mobility can be a consideration too; without a car, getting about is much easier on the flat. Not for nothing do the Netherlands and Denmark have vastly more cyclists per head of population than Switzerland or Norway.
Yorkshire is invariably considered a county of inclines; that’s what attracts the organisers of international cycling races. But of course, being a geographically diverse region, Yorkshire has its flat parts too. The main one, right in the heart of the county, is the Vale of York, which stretches from the Vale of Mowbray in the north to around Selby in the south; laterally, from the Howardian Hills in the east to the Pennines in the west.
The fertility of its soil makes it one of the agricultural powerhouses of the North, which means that it has an abundance of beautiful old farming properties. Hallmarks of the vernacular architecture include old brick walls and pantile roofs – a style emulated by builders to this day.
The Vale’s location between the uplands makes it the major road and rail route linking the South to Scotland, and that in turn means that those lovely old houses are also close to one of the country’s main transport arteries.
If that ticks all your boxes, you might want to consider one of the following properties – so long as you don’t suffer from horizontigo.
The Homestead is a spacious Georgian house at Hopperton, close to where the M1 and the A59 to York cross, making it ideal for commuters. Originally double-fronted, it has been extended on one end and now has four double bedrooms, three bathrooms, an entrance hall, kitchen and four reception rooms.
Outside, there’s half an acre of south-facing back garden with pond and terrace, plus parking for several vehicles and a single garage.
Linfoot Cottage is a period property at Nun Monkton, which marks the eastern limit of the Harrogate district and is only seven miles from the centre of York as the crow flies. Three of its bedrooms and the bathroom are reached via the main staircase, but the master bedroom suite, which has double doors opening onto a wraparound balcony – is accessed via its own staircase.
Downstairs, there is a dining kitchen, sitting room, utility room and conservatory, which links to a second open-plan living kitchen.
Outside, there’s a drive leading to an open-fronted double garage, plus gardens, sheds and outbuildings.
Finally, at Great Ouseburn – the northern apex of our triangle of properties – is Tasselbush Cottage, a semi-detached house built in 1994 in the old brick-and-cobble style. It has two bedrooms, bathroom, dining kitchen and sitting room, off-street parking, single garage and front and back gardens.