Cross hills, pass dry stone walls and stone bridges to reach Green Cumbriaa trio of self-catering Visit England 5* Gold cottages.
This is a quiet corner of Cumbria in North West England, bordered by fast-flowing streams of sparkling water. If bad weather approaches, downed ponies come down from the heights to take shelter near the hazel-topped dike that runs parallel to the dike. Red squirrels, flashes of rust and vermilion, twirl between the trees. Located in classic dog walking territory, The Green Cumbria is dog friendly.
The Byre, The Carthouse and The Haystore make up The Green’s premium collection of chalet-style accommodation: rustic charm meets the elegance of country living. Almost unbelievable that 15 years ago this site was an abandoned Victorian stone barn. Finding The Green while hiking in the Cumbrian countryside in 2020, Carly and Richard Duckworth bought the property.
They have extensively refurbished the Cottages Away From Home in 2021 and won Cumbria Tourism’s second prize ‘New Tourism Business of the Year’ for 2022.
Precisely a week before the start of our reservation, an e-mail gives us an entry code. Detailed instructions, 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 guests can quickly determine they need to bring very little. Almost everything needed is provided. Butter, coffee, dishwasher tablets, paper towels, toilet paper, milk etc etc… The luxury welcome pack is a delight and all comes from local producers. Handmade Kennedy fine chocolates, sourdough bread from Ivy Cottage Baker, jam from Kirkby Stephen’s Country Flavor and Yorkshire Crisps. A bottle of very good Merlot comes from a little further…
The Haystore has two bedrooms with king-size double beds luxuriously dressed in ivory bedding. Each room has its own thermostat to regulate the temperature of the underfloor heating. Each double bed can be reconfigured into two single beds.
Such flexibility across all three properties, accommodating groups of up to 14 people, attracts extended family reunions, wedding parties as well as cycling and walking groups. An exposed stone wall, local wool rugs and sturdy handmade wooden furniture complete the rural look.
The water for the hot tub and the shower is provided by the borehole of the Green.
Toiletries are provided by local company Bath House with aromas of bamboo and jasmine.
The open-plan, high-ceilinged middle floor of the Haystore extends from the kitchen to the dining room. 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 whipping up something both healthy and hearty from stuffed mushrooms, berries and roast lamb. It is an exceptionally well equipped kitchen. Even having a choice of coffee pot sizes and a three-tier spice rack.
As there is a connecting door to The Byre which can also accommodate four people, the Haystore is designed as the dining centre. Denby’s microwave-safe crockery seats eight and there are more than enough spotlessly clean glasses to keep the beer and wine flowing. If guests tire of self-catering, Ravenstonedale has three food-serving pubs and a local private chef is also available to cook for you in the cottage.
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Continuing into the living room, a wood burning stove with a tall flint and stone fireplace forms a focal point. In this quiet sanctuary untouched by the din of the 21st century, turning on the big-screen TV seems almost a crime. Double doors open onto an elevated terrace with patio furniture for al fresco dining. Upstairs, a mezzanine with exposed beams. A quiet corner to leaf through one of the magazines or choose a book from the shelves.
On the ground floor entrance level, the hall has hooks for hanging coats, space for drying boots. Guests willing to do laundry will find a washing machine, dryer, drying racks and ironing board in the utility room.
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 own Eden. From the high hills around Mallerstang, the River Eden flows through a valley of limestone gorges and green pastures. Sandwiched between its more famous neighbours, the Yorkshire Lakes and Valleys, the Eden Valley offers quieter options.
In wet weather, Sedbergh makes it possible to browse the bookstore. Westwoods, selling new and used books, typically has over 7,000 books on the shelves.
Fairford Mill shipped its last length of fabric in 1992, but has been restored as a tribute to the watermill and loom age. Today, it houses arts and crafts workshops.
Other nice touches A box of local Ordnance Survey maps allows hikers to plan their routes. A pair of binoculars and a bird guide wait by the window to spot finches, chaffinches, kestrels, robins and woodpeckers.
Cling film made from sugar cane and eco-friendly sandwich bags exemplify the theme of kitchen sustainability. Cloths, sponges and brushes are also made from biodegradable materials. The Byre and Haystore have a connecting door allowing groups of 8 to stay together. Offering easy access, The Carthouse has a downstairs wet room. With advance notice, a bed can be provided at ground level.
Prices start from £550 for three nights from November to February, excluding Christmas and New Year. In high season prices rise to £1,550 for a week.
The best piece
Step out of The Green into the spectacular scenery of Cumbria. This is Wainwright walker country. Pack your boots and raincoats.
Richard Duckworth is a certified mountain guide who offers guided hikes sharing his passion for the trails and peaks of northern England.
Welcoming individuals, families or corporate groups, he leads hikes to the local summits of Green Bell, Randygill Top and even expeditions to the Three Peaks.
He often leaves the beaten path for secret places like the Eden River’s deep pools and the source of the Moon River.
The final verdict
Beautifully presented with autumnal and elemental colors, The Green is a luxurious rural base that offers something for everyone. Carly and Richard have thought of everything. The meticulous attention to detail extends from the boot brushes by the front door to the stakes by the washing machine to a stargazing kit in the living room. All guests have to do is relax and enjoy the peaceful, unspoilt location.
Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Green Cumbria.