Drive through fells, past drystone walls, and over stone bridges to reach The Green Cumbria, a trio of Visit England 5* Gold self-catering cottages.
This is a quiet Cumbrian corner of north west England, laced by fast-running sparkling water brooks. If tough weather is approaching, fell ponies come down from the heights to shelter by the hazel tree topped embankment that runs parallel to the beck. Red squirrels, flashes of rust and vermillion, flit through the trees. Located in classic dog-walking territory, The Green Cumbria is dog-friendly.
The Byre, The Carthouse and the The Haystore make up The Green’s high-end collection of country cottage style accommodation: rustic charm meets stylish photoshoot country living. Almost unbelievable that 15 years ago this site was a derelict Victorian stone barn. Finding The Green on a Cumbrian country ramble in 2020, Carly and Richard Duckworth bought the property.
They gave the home-from-home cottages a major refurbishment in 2021 and picked-up Cumbria Tourism’s runner-up award “New Tourism Business of the year” for 2022.
Precisely a week before our booking begins an e-mail arrives giving us an entry code. Extensive directions, including a segment of the appropriate Ordinance Survey map, guide us through the last few miles of scenic single-track roads. A link to their Touchstay App which is a very detailed electronic property guide is also sent beforehand.
The list of what’s provided means that guests can quickly work out that they need to bring very little. Almost all of the essentials are provided. Butter, coffee, dishwasher tablets, kitchen roll, loo roll, milk etc etc … The luxury welcome pack is a delight and is all sourced from local producers. Handmade Kennedy’s Fine Chocolates, sour dough bread from the Ivy Cottage Baker, jam from Kirkby Stephen’s Country Flavour and Yorkshire Crisps. A bottle of very good Merlot comes from a little further afield …
The Haystore has two bedrooms featuring king-size double beds luxuriously dressed with ivory bedding. Each bedroom has its own thermostat to set the temperature for underfloor heating. Every double bed can be reconfigured as two singles.
Such flexibility across the three properties, catering for groups of up to 14, is attracting extended family get togethers, wedding parties as well as groups of cyclists and walkers. An exposed stone wall, local woollen rugs and sturdy handmade wooden furniture complete the rural look.
Water for the whirlpool bath and shower is supplied from The Green’s very own borehole.
Toiletries are provided by local company Bath House with bamboo and jasmine aromas.
The high-ceiling, open-plan middle-floor of The Haystore flows from kitchen through to a dining area. Sourced from a single large slice of ash wood, the sturdy dining table seats eight. At this farmhouse kitchen table, you almost expect to see Delia or Nigella creatively rustling up something both healthy and hearty from foraged mushrooms, soft-fruits and a joint of lamb. It is an exceptionally well-equipped kitchen. Even having a choice of size of cafetières and a three-tier spice rack.
As there is a connecting door through to The Byre which also sleeps four, the Haystore is designed as the catering hub. Microwave-able Denby crockery caters for eight and there are more than enough spotlessly clean glasses for the ale and wine to flow. If guests tire of self-catering, Ravenstonedale offers three pubs serving food and a local private chef is also available to cook for you in the cottage.
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Moving on into the lounge, a wood burner with a tall flint and stone chimney provides a focal point. In this tranquil sanctuary spared the din of the 21st century, it almost seems a crime to switch on the wide-screen television. Double doors open-out onto an elevated patio with garden furniture for al fresco meals. Upstairs there is a wood-beamed mezzanine. A quiet spot for flicking through one of the magazines or choosing a book from the shelves.
On the ground floor entry level, the lobby has hooks for hanging coats, space for drying boots. Guests keen on keeping up with laundry will find a washing machine, dryer, airing racks and ironing board in the utility room area.
At the foot of Cumbria’s Howgill Fells but within the Yorkshire Dales National Park this is a rural retreat where guests immerse themselves in restorative nature. Cumbria has its very own Eden. From the high fells around Mallerstang, the River Eden runs through a valley of limestone gorges and green pastures. Sandwiched between its more famous neighbours, The Lakes and The Yorkshire Dales, the Eden Valley provides quieter options.
On a wet day, Sedbergh provides bookshop browsing. Westwoods, selling new and second-hand books, usually has over 7,000 books on the shelves.
Fairford Mill shipped its last length of cloth in 1992 but has been restored as a tribute to the age of the water mill and loom. Today it hosts art and craft studios.
Other nice touches A box of local Ordnance Survey maps allows walkers to plan their routes. A pair of binoculars and an ornithological guidebook wait by the window for guests to spot chaffinches, finches, kestrels, robins and woodpeckers.
Cling film made from sugar cane and eco-friendly sandwich bags demonstrate the kitchen’s sustainability theme. Cloths, sponges and brushes are made from bio-degradable materials too. The Byre and The Haystore have an interconnecting door allowing groups of 8 to stay together. Providing easy access, The Carthouse has a ground floor wet room. With notice, a bed can be provided at ground level.
Prices begin from £550 for three nights from November through to February excluding Christmas and New Year. In peak season prices rise to £1,550 for a week.
The best bit
Step out of The Green into Cumbria’s dramatic landscapes. This is prime Wainwright-walking country. Pack your boots and waterproofs.
Richard Duckworth is a qualified Mountain Leader who offers guided walks sharing his passion for the paths and peaks of Northern England.
Hosting individuals, families or corporate groups, he leads walks up the local peaks of Green Bell, Randygill Top and even expeditions to the Three Peaks.
He often leaves the beaten track for secret spots like plunge pools in the River Eden and the source of the River Lune.
The final verdict
Beautifully presented with autumnal, elemental colours, The Green is a luxurious rural base that offers something for everyone. Carly and Richard have thought of everything. Meticulous attention to detail extends from the boot brushes by the front door through pegs by the washing-machine to a stargazing kit in the lounge. All guests have to do is to relax and enjoy the unspoilt tranquil location.
Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by The Green Cumbria.