A place to put down roots
If you’re looking for the Good Life, this smallholding close to Rosedale Abbey could be perfect place to ‘veg out’, says Sharon Dale.
SARAH Agar-Brennan admits that six years ago she was a stranger to chitting, didn’t know her mulch from her compost and couldn’t tell a root fly from an aphid.
Now she could give Bob Flowerdew a run for his money after an exceptional property transformed her from supermarket shopper into a grow-your-own enthusiast who is almost completely selfsufficient.
She and her husband Carl bought Allotment Farm, near Rosedale Abbey, in 2004 after a two-and-a-half year search.
“We lived in Teesside where we had a business but we really wanted a change of lifestyle,” she says.
“We started looking in the Dales but we discovered the North York Moors and we couldn’t believe how beautiful the area is.
“As soon as we saw this place we fell in love with it.”
The location is stunning and the views sensational.
The four bedroom house is set in 24.5 acres and has a hall, utility room, cloakroom, a large dining kitchen with Aga and panoramic views, a study and a living room with wood burning stove.
Upstairs there is a master bedroom suite with dressing area and en-suite, a second ensuite bedroom, house bathroom and two further bedrooms.
Sarah says: “The house didn’t need renovating but we made the kitchen more open-plan and put new bathrooms in when we bought it.”
Outside there are gardens plus a chicken coop, orchard, large vegetable garden and high quality stables. The stableyard at the rear of the house has four purpose-built stables with tack room and a games room.
A large gravelled parking area is suitable to turn a 20ft horsebox or vehicles with large horse trailers.
There is also a modern general purpose barn, workshop, storage buildings and kennelling along with meadow and pasture land in a compact ring fence.
There are shooting rights on the land, which is registered for the Single Farm Payment Scheme.
The micro-climate allows Sarah and Carl to grow everything from fruit, including blueberries and strawberries, to a variety of vegetables, including potatoes, courgettes, peppers and beetroot.
They also have a vine with grapes and keep chickens, ducks and sheep. “It’s a beautiful place and we’ve found so much peace and tranquillity here,” says Sarah, who has three young children aged between seven and nine.
“It’s completely changed our lives. I didn’t know anything about gardening before I moved here and now I love it. In fact, living here has encouraged a few of our friends to move to similar properties so they can live the good life.”
She adds: “The children adore living here because they have so much freedom and they rarely watch TV. There’s so much to do including walking the dogs, feeding the chickens and chopping wood. It’s a kids’ paradise.”
But their rural idyll has been compromised by real life concerns, which is why they’re reluctantly selling.
Sarah, who teaches skateboarding in schools, can’t juggle her work with the school run and the children are keen to see more of their friends.
“When I first bought the house I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now and the travelling just doesn’t fit in with work and child care.
“The school is at the other side of the valley so time-wise it’s tricky dropping children off and getting to work, otherwise we’d never leave this house.”
She and Carl, a sales executive for a software company, are searching for another property with land close to the children’s school.
The house-hunting is proving tricky, says Sarah. “I know we have to move but it is difficult because I know I will never ever live anywhere as beautiful as this for as long as I live and that’s why it’s so hard to leave.”
Wherever she goes must have space for her veg plots and her menagerie.
She says: “I could never go back to buying everything from a supermarket. Everything we grow is organic and tastes wonderful.”
Allotment Farm has a guide price between £850,000 and £950,000. For more details, contact Robin Jessop tel: 01677 425950, www.robinjessop.co.uk
ROOM TO GROW: Allotment Farm is a smallholding in the heart of the North York Moors.
PRACTICAL: There are outbuildings and stables.