Dilapidated farmhouse built in shadow of Roman Fort up for sale

English Heritage are selling a farmhouse just yards from Birdoswald Roman Fort in Cumbria at a guide price of £700,000

Land once gazed upon by Roman soldiers defending Hadrian’s wall is up for sale.

A dilapidated farmhouse in Gilsland’s remote countryside on the Northumberland border comes with no working kitchen or bathroom, and has holes in the floor, yet its land was at the heart of the region’s history.

English Heritage hope the two-bedroom 19th-century home Underheugh Farm and its 56-acre estate, just 500m from Birdoswald Roman Fort will fetch the organisation £700,000. Helen Lancaster, from property consultancy Carter Jonas in Cumbria, said: “English Heritage bought the property when they bought Birdoswald Fort from the local authority over 30 years ago.

“It’s an extremely unspoilt area and it’s very serene and beautiful. It was tenanted for 30 years ago and people can remember it being a working farm, and it’s got a beautiful courtyard and they can remember it being lively and active. It’s a site of specialist scientific interest site and would attract Natural England funding.”

The estate includes recently improved woodland, pasture and 1.3 miles of single bank fishing on the River Irthing, a tributary for the River Eden. The nearby Birdoswald Fort sits up a bank from the house around 500m away and the estate’s land would have at one time been well protected by Roman soldiers patrolling the wall.

The farmhouse has two bedrooms and its original slab stone floors, stone sconces and quoin stones, but needs complete renovation and updating. Helen said it could be extended using the adjoining outbuildings which are set around a courtyard, and it also has former vegetable and flower gardens.

A rare sandbank close to the river is also home to over 70 pairs of sand martins, and the estate’s ancient woodland has roe deer, great spotted woodpecker, blackcaps and willow warblers. Helen said: “It is has the potential to create a special home, rural business or unique retreat.”

The fort and Underheugh were bought as a package by English Heritage in 1984, with the farmhouse being left to fall into disrepair. The estate can be viewed on January 17.


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