Wolds way to go for art lovers seeking new home
As David Hockney’s latest exhibition gets rave reviews, estate agents are bracing themselves for a flood of fresh interest. Sharon Dale reports.
THE dramatic landscapes of the Dales and the North York Moors have always attracted attention unlike the quiet undulating Wolds, which have been largely overlooked.
Now the world is waking up to their extraordinary beauty thanks to David Hockney’s Bigger Picture exhibition at the Royal Academy.
His latest paintings, which include vivid interpretations of Thixendale, Garrowby Hill and Sledmere, have caused a global sensation. Critics have been enthusiastic about them and art lovers everywhere are checking their diaries wondering when they might visit the scenes that inspired our greatest living artist.
While the tourist industry gears up for a bumper year, estate agents too are expecting to benefit from the Hockney effect.
Chris Clubley, of Chris Clubley and Co., says; “Long-term there will be an effect. The Wolds is a lovely area that has never been fully appreciated and I think that long-term the Hockney effect will result in more people buying leisure property like holiday homes and B&BS here.”
New visitors captivated by the countryside, quaint villages and market towns will be impressed with the price of property. You get a lot of bricks and mortar for your money in this part of Yorkshire.
“Frankly it is bargain basement compared to places like the Dales,” said Simon Dee, of the Driffield branch of Dee, Atkinson and Harrison.
A pretty two-bedroom terraced cottage in the market town of Pocklington costs from about £120,000 and a detached cottage from £170,000.
At the top end, there is a sensational thatched country home in Thixendale for £895,000 with Carter Jonas.
Those house hunting in Sledmere, another Hockney favourite, will struggle to find anything as almost everything is estate owned.
Though at the moment there is a rare chance to buy. The former fire station is on the market for £145,000 and comes with permission for conversion into two holiday cottages. The catch is that planning rules dictate they must be used as holiday homes rather than as main dwellings.
Over in Kilham, the scene for another of Hockney’s masterpieces, Dee, Atkinson and Harrison have a three-bedroom cottage with its own art gallery for £229,950.
There are reasons for such keen prices, according to Simon Dee: “The area has been overlooked but our worst enemy is the road network. It’s not the most accessible place to get to.”
The quiet country roads could soon be much busier. Welcome To Yorkshire is creating a Hockney Trail that will feature the Wolds along with Bridlington, where the artist lives. He moved to the seaside town in 2005 to be close to his family, though it has rarely featured in his work.
Richard Graves of the D Dunk Lewis and Graves agency, says: “He has put Brid on the map though it hasn’t always worked to our advantage. Everyone was in uproar last year when an art critic who came to visit him described the town as a ‘decayed, shabby, seaside resort’.”
He forgot to add that it has wonderful beaches, a beautiful coastline and it is flat.
“We have no hills and that is one of our major advantages. We also have lots of bungalows and so a large part of our market is retirees from West and South Yorkshire,” says Richard.
Prices start at about £70,000 for a two-bedroom flat or house, but there is potential for price growth if the town can mimic the success of neighbouring Whitby and Scarborough.
There is hope that Bridlington could be pushed more upmarket with a new marina, a plan that has been debated for years without nearing fruition.
Better and quicker, suggests Richard Graves, is for David Hockney to use the power of the paintbrush.
“Maybe he could paint the best bits of Bridlington, like the promenade, the views to Flamborough and the sea with some fantastic blue sky.”