Keepers Cottage holds many wonderful memories for Rachel Batchelor.
The charming period property in Belsay, Northumberland, has been her family home for almost 40 years.
Rachel’s father bought the then derelict cottage in 1975 and set aside a five-year plan to transform it into a family home.
Rachel has lived in idyllic four bedroomed property ever since.
She said: “My parents bought the cottage when I was a child. They were attracted to the beautiful countryside location, within easy reach of Newcastle where I went to school and my father worked.”
The family bought the empty cottage from the local farmer.
Rachel said: “The cottage was derelict when they bought it. There was no water and no electricity, so we lived in a caravan for a few months while the house was being renovated.”
Located within the former Gallowhill Estate, now Whalton Park, the cottage is deceptively spacious.
The property is full of character and includes a hallway with quarry tiled floor, and lounge with wood burning stove set within an inglenook. The dining room also has a wood burning stove and quarry tiled floor.
“The cottage has some wonderful period features,” said Rachel. “The sitting room has oak beams and a lovely inglenook fireplace. I love the sitting room.
“It’s a lovely room and the log burning stove makes it really cosy in the winter. It’s a warm house but it’s nice and cool in the summer because of its massive thick walls.”
There is a well equipped fitted kitchen, large family bathroom and four bedrooms, one with en suite. The cottage also benefits from an attic study/playroom.
“The cottage is a bit like a Tardis. It doesn’t look huge from the outside, but once you’re in, it has four big bedrooms.
“It would make a lovely house for a family or even couples. It’s a house that would suit anybody. It’s a great space for entertaining and someone could move in without anything to do.”
The gardens, which were lovingly created by Rachel’s father, are a particular feature of the cottage.
There is a delightful cottage garden, lawn on two levels, a range of fruit trees and patio areas. The gardens overlook open fields. There is also a detached garage.
“There are lovely views from the garden. It took five years to get the garden grown as my father wanted it, because part of the gardens were originally fields,” said Rachel.
The location of the cottage is a great selling point.
“It’s very secluded but you’ve got neighbours. Belsay village just five minutes away with a local shop and Newcastle is just 25 minutes drive.
“It’s also a great area for walking dogs as Bolam Lake is right on the doorstep.”
The property’s character is another plus point.
Rachel said: “The best selling point has to be its character. You rarely get country cottages coming on the market. It’s a lovely traditional family home.”
After 40 years, leaving Keepers Cottage will be a wrench for Rachel.
She said: “I’m downsizing as I don’t need a house this big, but am staying in the area.
“I have wonderful memories of parties and all the young farmers used to pop in. I’ll be devastated to leave, but I’ve got to think with my head and not my heart.”
Keepers Cottage, Belsay, Northumberland, is for sale through Rook Matthews Sayer at a guide price of £450,000, tel: 01661 860228.
To read this week's edition of homemaker CLICK HERE