• vimeo
  • instagram
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • linkedin
 

Advertisement

 

Review of High Broadwood Hall Cottages, Northumberland, England

Posted by at 11:54 on Thursday 20 February 2014

High Broadwood Hall is in the heart of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - one huge, unspoilt, low light pollution, tranquil place – and on a clear crisp winter night you can see the most amazing stars in the night skies.  Come here for the gorgeous peace and views, stay because of the brilliant welcome, excellent facilities (the towels…!) and hospitality.

>> For prices and availability, see our full listing for High Broadwood Hall Cottages. NB. Quote greentraveller when you book and you will receive a jar of delicious homemade chutney (based on a recipe handed down through Elaine's family)

>> High Broadwood is featured in our Greentraveller Guide to the North Pennines AONB

Dove Cottage at High Broadwood. Photo: Lucy SymonsDove Cottage at High Broadwood. Photo: Lucy SymonsThe Setting
High Broadwood Hall is just outside Allendale, Northumberland, the largest county in England, equidistant from Newcastle and Carlisle (about 45 minutes ) or Durham (about an hour). Sitting proud near a hilltop and exposed to the wide open skies in an area that is commonly known as the hidden part of England – right on the central belt, south of the Tyne – bordering County Durham and Cumbria in the North Penines, AONB.

The Rooms
High Broadwood Hall is made up of two cottages: Swallows’ Rest and Dove Cottage in a shared courtyard (although each with a private patio) over looking fields of languid sheep and the rolling Penines. Swallows’ Rest, a former cow barn, is slightly more modern, all on a single level and has two super king rooms (either convert to twin beds and both are en-suite). There is a large living/kitchen/dining area with doors opening back and front.  There are modern, wooden floors throughout, clean lines and warm, modern comfort. The current inhabitants described it to me as “A relaxed home from home” and their dogs lolled about snoring to drive the point home. Dove Cottage is a converted donkey barn.  A little smaller and more traditional, laid out over two floors, it has a double bedroom with an en-suite and an upstairs kitchen/living/dining room under the exposed eaves with a gorgeous traditional bread oven and queenie stove.  From the window you can see the doves in the dovecote disporting themselves in a picturesque manner. Barry and Elaine are recent incomers and told me with glee that part of the motivation for moving here was that the people are so great up here.  The locals, I was told, are friendly and welcoming and have enabled them to really become a part of the community.High Broadwood Hall Cottages, Bedroom at Dove Cottage.  Photo: Lucy SymonsHigh Broadwood Hall Cottages, Bedroom at Dove Cottage. Photo: Lucy Symons

The Food
The first thing you need to know is that Barry bakes! You will find tea on your arrival set out on a welcome tray with scones and rock cakes (gluten-free, if required). There is a small flock of chickens on site who produce eggs when they feel like it, sheep in the field owned by a local farmer and Posh and Becks the dogs (“They’re “Bitsas”, explained Barry, I nodded, stupidly, “Bitsa this and bitsa that…”  Oh.)

There are modern, wooden floors throughout, clean lines and warm, modern comfort. Photo: Lucy SymonsThere are modern, wooden floors throughout, clean lines and warm, modern comfort. Photo: Lucy Symons

The Activities
Most people come to the Penines with the intention of walking the local area – the cottages are very close to the footpaths here and you can set off from the front door and walk your dogs in the fields, fells and on the lanes. There is a cycle store for your bikes if you prefer to be on two wheels. The area is isolated and pretty, and Allendale is a fabulous hub to be based – the local independent co-op has everything you could possibly need and there are cafes, pubs, the Allendale Brewery and a bakery nearby in the village. Pop in to the Hexham Old GaolHexham Abbey or peruse the local farmers’ market. The Allendale Forge Studios houses an arty commune where you can browse the galleries or buy some little gifties. The gift shop actually in Allendale is a total Alladin's Cave..Walking the local area. Photo: Lucy SymonsWalking the local area. Photo: Lucy Symons.

If you feel a bit more hearty there is a 9 hole golf course at Allendale, or you can explore the local mining heritage. As well as Hadrian’s Wall, you can wander the Northumberland National Park, The Penine Way, or spend some time soaking up some culture in the abundance of National Trust and English Heritage properties that abound. Allendale are hoping to start a folk festival and the Allen Valley Landscape Partnership in conjunction with the AONB and the Heritage Lottery Fund are hoping to set up electric bike hire and are currently looking for a site to set up a pop-up observatory to take advantage of the amazing Dark Skies Status from 2014-2019.  Since 2003, a Heritage Lottery Grant has collated and given breath to the local stories of the Industrial Age and the history of the landscape as part of the Keys to the Past project

The Green
High Broadwood has 10 KW of Photo-Voltaic and 5KW of turbine power.  There is high grade insulation and air source heat pumps in both cottages, LED lighting throughout and everything that can be is recycled.  The cottages come with delicious smelling local, naturally made shampoos, shower gels and washing up liquid and eco cleaning supplies.  To be as far off-grid as possible makes sense up here - given that the usual infrastructure isn't always established.  High Broadwood Hall Cottages, Northumberland, England, Plantation Photo: High BroadwoodHigh Broadwood Hall Cottages, Northumberland, England, Plantation Photo: High BroadwoodBetween the forestry, Natural England and a matching grant from the AONB, Barry and Elaine have created a plantation of 1200 mainly native broad leaf trees, helped by local school children and replacing the parkland trees to extend and closely match the original planting from a map of the property dating back to the 1850’s. Not only have they undertaken this amazing project to restore the land to its historical state, they actually used a local horse logger to cart and mill the trees in situ and used the resulting logs to protect the new trees.  The local land supports an abundance of wildlife including hares and hedgehogs, deer, lapwings, curlews and meadow pippits.  Bring your bins.  During the day you can twitch and at night you can point them towards the night skies and be amazed by the twinkling stars.

How to get there by Public Transport
Take a train to Carlisle or Newcastle then on to Hexham – an irregular bus service runs from Hexham to the square in Allendale. From here, book a taxi or embark on a hearty bike ride. With prior notice and where possible, your hosts will collect you.

>> See our public transport journey planner

Top Tip
This is a place to enjoy the landscape and the peace. And whilst there is wifi available, why not leave your laptop at home? Bring Fido – there are kennels available if you want to go out without him for the day. In the middle of the AONB, you will find one big unspoilt, low light pollution, tranquil place –and on a clear crisp winter night you can see the most amazing stars in the night skies. 

Verdict
Come here for the gorgeous peace and views, stay because of the brilliant welcome, excellent facilities (the towels…!) and on-going hospitality. Elaine explained: "We are just the custodians of this land" and as such she has found the right balance between loving the land and maintaining it without taking anything from it.

This is a place to enjoy the landscape and the peace. Photo: Lucy SymonsThis is a place to enjoy the landscape and the peace. Photo: Lucy Symons

>> For prices and availability, see our full listing for High Broadwood Hall Cottages 

>> High Broadwood is featured in our Greentraveller Guide to the North Pennines AONB

Posted by Lucy Symons

Disclosure

Blogs posts categorised as 'Reviews' have been written with the support of one or more of the following: accommodation owner, activity provider, operator, equipment supplier, tourist board, protected landscape authority or other destination-focussed authority. The reviewer retains full editorial control of the work, which has been written in the reviewer's own words based on their experience of the accommodation, activity, equipment or destination.

Green Travel Blog

Read our latest blog posts in the categories below or go to blog home

Our expert contributors

Follow us on twitter