Property gallery: Northumberland home is the perfect country escape

Just perfect – that was what Karen and Chris Constable thought the first time they set eyes on their lovely country home

The Mill is one of a clutch of properties which make up a small and friendly community near the Northumberland village of Ulgham, in the midst of beautiful scenery yet convenient for commuting.

In fact, it was this that led the couple to their converted farm steading seven years ago.

Chris explained: “We lived in Newcastle for about 20 years. When our daughter left home, we thought it was time to move on. We genuinely had the thought of an escape to the country. It sounds corny but it was what our thinking was.

“So we literally – because I worked in Newcastle and still needed to commute – drew a circle around the city and started looking. It seemed the logical thing to do. This place came up in searches and we came to look at and thought, ‘It’s just perfect’.

“It’s the perfect distance for me to commute. It’s out in the countryside but not isolated because we didn’t want a house on a hill in the middle of the field type of thing. What it is is an old Northumbrian farm steading converted by a local builder and so there are 11 properties here and it forms a really nice community.”

It also ticks all the boxes for that escape to the country. “Standing at our back door, I can’t see anything except trees and fields,” said Chris. “There’s a wood half a mile from us called Robin Hood Wood, it’s an ancient deciduous woodland which has been conserved.

Chris and Karen Constable at their home in Ulgham, Northumberland
Chris and Karen Constable at their home in Ulgham, Northumberland

“That has deer in it which we see appearing every evening and night time. We were sitting at our bedroom window the other day watching a couple of foxes and we’ve got wild geese in the fields, a plethora of birds that come into the garden and we’ve seen badgers and otters in the stream.”

The development, Ulgham Park Farm, was done to a high standard with quality of craftsmanship and an eye to detail. The Constables’ home has a solid oak staircase and period-style radiators, plus windows and doors individually made to fit the original openings.

Reception rooms include a sitting room and breakfasting kitchen and there are three double bedrooms, the master with a dressing area and en suite shower room with underfloor heating.

One highlight of the property, and the feature which Chris says he will miss the most, is the sun room: “It’s got an original arch, which would have been a double-height double door into the barn, and that’s been glassed in. We sit looking out over our garden and beyond that over the countryside to Robin Hood Wood and that’s got to be the favourite spot.”

The large gardens are particularly attractive and have been a real labour of love for the couple.

Chris said: “Karen is the gardener. When we moved here it was literally a bare field. So we started from scratch and designed the garden which has various sitting areas to catch the sun.

“We have hedging around the edges of the garden, pathways lined with hedges to create visual barriers and we have a lot of shrubbery.

“It’s the sort of garden which has a variety of height, created so you have little secret areas so you can’t see the whole thing from one place, you have to move around.”

The Mill was destined to be the Constables’ forever home and it is only the fact that their daughter has settled away from the North East that has persuaded them to move.

Chris said: “We are leaving with a sad heart. We’ve been very happy
here, it’s a lovely place to live – it’s the best of everything.”

  • The Mill, Ulgham Park Farm, Ulgham, near Morpeth, , is for sale at £495,000 from Strutt and Parker, tel: 01670 516123.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer