Bird watcher or cyclist? History buff or rambler? These are some of the reasons why we moved to an unspoilt part of Cumbria, a peaceful and relaxed spot where, from our garden, we can see Brough Castle on the site of the Roman fort, Verterae.
If you enjoy that kind of holiday, then please consider joining us at Coach House Cottage in Church Brough, Kirkby Stephen. This one up, one down old coach house has been updated and offers comfort and privacy, whilst we live in the adjoining converted stables.
Facilities are all new. We created an open plan kitchen with a fridge/freezer, electric hob/stove, microwave, toaster, slow cooker, tv, Freeview and wi-fi. Cutlery, crockery, glass, linen, tableware and cookware is provided. There’s full double glazing throughout, internal insulation and central heating, plus a smoke alarm link to the centralised system.
Upstairs, reached by a staircase from the sitting area is the light, airy double bedroom with en suite shower room. Open beams above and a truly comfortable bed! Bed linen, bath towels, tea towels are provided. Throughout you’ll find comfortable furnishings and some period country items.
There is ample parking in the courtyard and you have private sitting space in the walled kitchen garden with views of the farmland and hills beyond.
The cottage entry door is opposite the door into our house, we share the main entry door. Your privacy is assured, however – both buildings have solid, thick stone walls!
Worried about the weather so far north? Last winter gave us very little snow, which melted within a few hours. Yes, it rains at times – this is Britain, after all! – but when the sun comes out the light is so beautiful it can have an emotional effect. In fact, we get enough sun every day to have made installing the solar panels worthwhile.
So with Coach House Cottage as your base, what can you do around here?
Church Brough village is a three minute walk away. Brough takes about 15 minutes.
The cottage is on the 100 mile Lady Anne pathway from Skipton to Penrith and close to both the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast route. An extensive footpath and bridleway network right on the doorstep means you can explore little known unspoilt countryside seldom meeting other walkers, unlike the Lake District.
For cyclists, Cycle Route 71 is about two miles away and beautiful, unspoilt countryside all around makes it a pleasure to ride.
For golfers, there’s a choice of two local courses – the Appleby (Gary Wolstenholme’s favourite) and the Ravenstonedale course, close to The Black Swan which was voted the pub of the year 2013. A bit further afield, there are top quality courses at Penrith, Alston Moor, Barnard Castle and Hexham.
For gardeners, we encourage your input into our on-going development of our kitchen garden, the big lawned rear garden, a small patio and small walled area, as well as the courtyard. We love talking about gardening especially the demands of this northern location. Throughout the summer, there are many local garden open days, both in small villages and big country house gardens.
For bird watchers, there is a good range of birds in the immediate vicinity and, in our garden alone, we’ve spotted curlew, peregrine falcons, goldcrests, oystercatchers, great spotted woodpeckers, heron, house sparrows, long tailed tits, cole tits, buzzards and possibly a golden eagle! There is an RSPB golden eagle hide at Riggindale, Haweswater, just over 20 miles away.
For nature lovers, a trip to the North Pennines, which an area of outstanding natural beauty just on our border, is a must. There is a field centre at Bowlees Visitor Centre and several nature reserves and wildflower meadows to visit in both the North Pennines and the Eden Valley.
For explorers, there’s a wonderful mix of moors, dales, scenic villages and market towns nearby without ever going near a large town.
For country lovers, we have a string of local shows and events throughout the summer, all within 20 miles, such as the Brough Hound and Terrier show, the Alston Sheepdog Trials, agricultural shows at Skelton, Penrith, Brough, Appleby, Ravenstonedale, Wensleydale, Crosby Ravensworth, Dufton, Moorcock and Alston, plus Harness Racing in Appleby and Horse Trials at Hutton in the Forest.
For train enthusiasts, the Settle to Carlisle railway is close by as are other restored stretches of defunct, railway routes such as Warcop and Alston should be of interest, as would be Kirkby Stephen’s railway museum and enthusiasts’ centre.
For antique hunters, there are regular auctions at Hawes, Penrith and Barnard Castle.
Finally, a bit about the history. The cottage formed part of what was the Church Brough Rectory estate. The rectory, servants’ hall, stables, coach house, barn and glebe land were privately acquired and converted into four separate properties. The coach house and stables are linked by a glassed entry with separate internal access to the two dwellings.
Located on a bridleway, immediately behind the self contained cottage is a flight of stone steps to St Michael’s, a church with Norman origins. Turning left out of the cottage you pass a well on your right. Take a right turn onto the little used lane/Roman road (see photo 5) with its metamorphic sandstone sides leading to the village green and Brough Castle from which there are fantastic views of the surrounding area. The farm beside the castle has a well-known ice cream parlour and tea room.
Brough lies at the foot of the Stainmore Pass that crosses the Pennines. The Romans built a military road from York to Carlisle and a chain of forts one of which was Verterae. A 1,000 years later the Normans built a castle on the Verterae site. Over the years the castle was destroyed, rebuilt, burned down and in the 17th century it was rebuilt by Lady Anne Clifford. A 100 mile pathway that follows the route Lady Anne Clifford took to visit her many castles from Skipton, passes through Church Brough going on to Penrith. Market Brough, the northern part of the village, was an important centre of trade from 1330 when a charter for a weekly market was granted. There are multiple sites of historical interest. Castles of note are at Carlisle, Brougham, Brough, Raby, Barnard Castle, Middleton, Shap Abbey and Pendragon Castle, plus Roman fort sites and, of course, Hadrian’s Wall.
A practical note: there are two hospitals within 35 miles away and major supermarkets within about 20 miles, although Sainsburys, Tesco and ASDA deliver on-line orders. Our local market town, Kirkby Stephen, is just three miles away and you’ll find it unspoilt and undeveloped.
Depending on time of year our rates are from £350 to £495 per week. Short breaks are available. To check availability you can either call Val Reynolds on 017683 42530 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More images on http://coachhousecottage.bksites.net/
So sorry but we are unable to accept pets.
Val & John Reynolds
Here is some recent feedback from our guests this year:
We had a wonderful time at the cottage. First impression on walking in is that everything is clean, neat and looks new. I have not slept so well in years the bed is so incredibly comfortable and large. We found the whole place very welcoming and well appointed. We both like walking and it was so great to be able to leave the front door and walk in stunning scenery without having to use the car. The pubs we went to for lunch provided really good food, people were friendly and helpful. At the end of each meal we had out I never once thought “I could do better than that at home” as so often happens on our walks at home when we try a new place. On the days we did use the car it was so great to drive and find a parking place. I am so used to the overcrowded road conditions and parking wardens so keen to fill their quotas of greater London. So we had a great holiday. Dave, London, UK
Very comfortable retreat in the North Pennines. All mod cons and very attractive, stylish decor. Ideal location for people who love peace and quiet, within easy reach of wonderful walking areas. J & K, London, UK
A quirky, comfortable holiday retreat for two. The Coach House Cottage is very well equipped and beautifully furnished. The peaceful location in a wonderful area for walking and exploring. J&A, Brittany, France
We had a fantastic time at the Coach House Cottage. The local area has plenty of things to do, walking being our favourite. We loved the fact that the cottage was so well equipped, everything we needed was provided. M&S, Doncaster, UK
Belleville Rendez-Vous is an animated feature film available on video. What little dialogue there is, is in French in this French/Belgian/Canadian co-production
Watching it is quite an extraordinary experience because it is like no other commercially successful animated film.
The storyline is very basic: a lonely young boy, Champion, lives with his caring, club-footed grandmother, Mme Souza, who first of all gives him a young puppy, Bruno, and then a tricycle.
Years pass (in a flash) and suddenly we find that Champion has lived up to his name and is a front rider in the annual bicycle race, the Tour de France. What follows is a breathtaking adventure as Champion is kidnapped by ‘men in black’ and Mme Souza and Bruno give chase and find themselves in an urban sprawl that just might be Manhattan. They are aided by the Triplettes de Belleville, a trio of ageing female singers à la Andrews Sisters and against all odds, of course, they rescue him – a real triumph for the little guys.
But a jumble of words tumble out when trying to describe this film: anarchic, grotesque, warped, expressionistic, surreal … And more than one reviewer has read a deeper meaning into the film by declaring it decidedly anti-American. Well, perhaps.
The inhabitants of Belleville are shown largely to be overweight, over-helpful people and the city itself is one of hectic traffic chaos. But the singing sisters, the good guys, are also are given a most bizarre characteristic, that of catching frogs and eating them stewed and kebabbed – the whole frog that is, not just the legs! So maybe looking for a deeper meaning should be given a miss and the film should just be enjoyed for what it is, an extraordinary experience from start to finish. I confess that when it was first released in cinemas I gave it a miss as I’m not a lover of cartoons. But having been persuaded to watch the video I’ve seen the error of my ways. Try to catch this one if you can – it’s unlikely you’ll ever see anything quite like it again!
Belleville-Rendezvous is available on video at Amazon
Jeannette Nelson A bit of a culture vulture, Jeannette enjoys art exhibitions, cinema and classical music, but her main interest is the theatre. For several years she ran theatre discussion groups for which her MA in Modern Drama together with teaching skills stood her in good stead. She prefers to concentrate on the many off West End and fringe productions as well as that real treasure of the London theatre scene, the National.