If being with family has taught us anything, it’s that we all value freedom of movement and solitude from time to time, and by the time the first year of the pandemic was over, thousands of homeowners had swapped their city homes for rural retreats.
The biggest exodus has come from London and the pendulum is said to have partially swung back the other way, with many “Covid refugees” returning to the capital after discovering country life was not for them after all.
But for many others the lesson stuck and a steady flow of London money continues to flow outwards, some of it to our region.
For those looking for more space – whether they’re London “exiles” or more locals – large country houses are hard to beat. Manors, farmhouses and barn conversions are all in high demand and for those who have the money, an extra cottage can close the deal. This could be ideal for a semi dependent relative or it could be used to generate income and pay the mortgage either as a holiday rental or as a year round home for local residents. The following three properties all have cottages included in the price and are all currently for sale in our area.
Hardgate house, in Bishop Thornton, is a spacious country house with views south towards Ripley. It has a large master bedroom with ensuite bathroom and dressing room, plus five further bedrooms and an ensuite shower room. On the ground floor there is an eat-in kitchen, a cellar, a parlour, a dining room and a 30-foot saloon.
It stands on nearly 3 acres with gardens, orchard, paddock and pond, and outbuildings including a carport, a detached two-story stone barn, stables and a one-story shoe and laundry room.
The adjacent Hardgate Cottage has a kitchen, living room, bathroom and two bedrooms, plus parking for two cars.
On the edge of North Rigton, Rigton Granges was originally part of the Harewood Estate. Spread over nearly 3 acres, it has five bedrooms, two bathrooms, great hall, dining room, living room, kitchen, utility room, wine room, gym, office, study and attached double garage.
The cottage has two bedrooms with en-suite shower rooms, as well as its own private garden and allocated parking space.
There are also gardens and paddocks with a pond, a summer house and various outbuildings, including a detached barn that has been approved as a studio. There is also planning permission for a further wing which could form a spa complex.
Finally, Bobbin Mill Cottage in Nidderdale was probably built before 1840 as part of a traditional mill complex producing quills and ground corn. The mill was demolished in the 1920s leaving only the mill pond and summer house. Using the natural spring water, the gardens were later used for trout farming.
The house has four bedrooms, two reception rooms and three quarters of an acre of gardens, as well as a two bedroom detached cottage.