In our portfolio, Thorphinsty Barn is one of the most exciting properties we are fortunate and delighted to represent and, is maybe one of the finest holiday homes in the UK. When recently presented for sale by the former owners, it was hailed by the Telegraph as one of the top 30 properties to purchase at that time, praise indeed.
A cruck built barn dating from the medieval period, and possibly as early as Circa 1300, it is a true historical gem it was rescued from near dereliction by its previous owners, David and Sonia Guest who deserve this mention. They were granted permission to restore and convert this Grade 2 listed building into a stunning home where, with much imagination, a flare for design and care for the historic past, they created an awesome building that was nominated for a civic award and, on first sight, simply takes one’s breath away.
The present owners, the utterly charming Sarah and Martin Baerschmidt, are based in Dubai and had been looking for a home in the UK for some time. I think Sarah’s words sum up best the attraction and magnetism of this property -
“We had been house hunting for over 3 years in the Lake District and found that most places fell short of the criteria we were looking for. When we were lucky enough to stumble upon Thorphinsty Barn for sale, we knew as soon as we came in that it was for us. It is an absolute pleasure to be in the beautifully hand crafted barn that has been so thoughtfully designed. The quality of workmanship speaks for itself and the location is simply stunning, and we both hope our guests get to enjoy it as much as we do.”
The barn lies in the hamlet of Thorphinsty. A small huddle of architecturally important buildings, they lie in the lea of Cartmel fell, looking out to the great limestone scar of Whitbarrow. The fell straddles the area that runs east from the foot of Lake Windermere and the northern boundaries of the Cartmel peninsular.
A short private gated driveway takes you to the front of the barn and the great barn doors. Surrounding the barn are beautifully planted formal garden areas which fuse perfectly to wild meadows with their wildlife ponds, and on into the further surrounding fields, fell and woodland.
For us it is the perfect venue. True peace, a house that lends itself for families and gathering together, yet allows for finding quiet places for tranquil moments, both within the house and in the grounds with its perfect little shepherd’s hut and ‘garden rooms’. Though large, it has a welcoming, warm, cosy atmosphere, where it would make for a very, very special romantic retreat.
The Living Spaces
There are two entrances at the front of the barn, the great barn doors and the entrance into the boot room. This latter gives you storage for coats, your dog welcome pack, a few pairs of wellies left for your use, along with access to the downstairs WC and a laundry room with washing machine and tumble dryer.
From the boot room you go through into the main living area. The vast vaulted space is divided into three areas. The first is the kitchen area. Screened from the main living space by oak panels, buffed stone surfaces sit on top of hand crafted solid wood units housing a twin Belfast sink and a super Lacanche range cooker. With all mod cons it makes for easy living, perfect to prepare your signature supper dishes, breakfasts and lunches.
From the kitchen you step into the main living space. A polished sandstone flagged floor sits under the canopy of huge ancient oak beams and trusses, where the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the medieval craftsmen cannot fail to hold your attention.
The first area is set out as the dining space with a magnificent but simple oak table set opposite a grand fireplace with stone lintels and flagged hearth fitted with a roaring wood burning stove, giving both warmth and atmosphere.
Moving on through, the central area has a fine Georgian style round table, an easy chair and looks out from the huge glazed barn doors which allow a fabulous light to flood in.
The far end is the sitting room area. A plump leather sofa along with a couple of armchairs and some soft lighting make for a wonderful space in which to relax and still be among your group.
Finally, I should mention the original dovecote. This lies set above the gallery floor behind the tall arched window. Architecturally interesting it is no longer in use and there is no access.
The Garden Room
Opposite the barn doors a door way steps down into the garden room. Furnished with a comfy sofa and armchairs, the long oak window is filled with a view of the garden and meadows beyond and a door to one end leads out into one of the formal garden spaces – perfect.
Stone steps by the sitting room area lead down to the lower floor with the master bedroom and the snug. Here plump sofas are set around a log burning stove and the house TV. With a roaring fire set in the grate, it is the perfect place to tuck up with a book or watch a block buster on the wide screen TV or simply gather to chat, play games and enjoy the view.
Bedrooms & Bathrooms
There are four bedrooms to choose from. At the sitting room end of the great hall is an oak gallery off which lies a zip and link king sized double bedroom with views out to the gardens. It can be made up as two singles if requested when you make your reservation. The second bedroom has full size bunk beds, and though best suited to the young, can accommodate adults. Finally, off the gallery, is the house bathroom with shower over bath, basin and WC.
The master bedroom lies on the lower level opposite the snug. A delightful room with views, you have a plump king sized bed and full en-suite bathroom with bath, separate shower cubicle, basin and WC.
The last bedroom is accessed by a winding stone stairway by the main hall fireplace. Set above the kitchen, it has a tall arched window that looks through the cruck beams and down to the great hall. Furnished with a king size bed, there is also an en-suite shower room with basin and WC.
Grounds & Gardens
The grounds and gardens are the cherry on an already rich cake and make this truly a place to holiday at, some nine acres of land in total. The immediate areas surrounding the barn are formal lawned gardens planted with herbaceous borders and a wide variety of ornamental shrubs and trees. Divided into garden rooms, there are places to dine, wine and simply relax.
The formal planting has been carried out by an experienced eye, where it fuses beautifully with the surrounding meadows, further fields, fells and woodland. Criss-crossed with mown paths, there is a riot of wild flowers and bull rushes, attracting wildlife, butterflies, dragon flies, deer and, soaring high above, you will likely see the resident pair of buzzards.
The shepherd's hut overlooks the two ponds which reflect the sky and are a natural habitat for newts, frogs and toads. For adults it will be a place to relax, for children it can be whatever and wherever their imagination takes them.
A five bar gate leads out onto the grazing fell, with its two huge boulders. The land here is rented to a local farmer for grazing sheep. At the top of the meadow is a picnic table with views across the grounds to Whitbarrow Scar. Explore a little further and you will discover a small beck that gently tumbles down the fell.
The shepherd's hut is a beautiful traditional timber framed cart made to order in Dorset. Furnished with a couple of wicker chairs, it has a bench bed and working log burning stove and is there for both adults and children to enjoy. It is a splendid place to gather for a night time barbecue or a lazy picnic on a sunny day.
The ponds are planted with marginal plants and bulrushes, attracting a host of insects and wild life including the occasional deer that come down to drink, and where children can use the nets left in the hut to hunt for frogs and other pond life.
The little beck out on the fell is best accessed from the wooded area by the picnic table. Although small it can be slippery on the rocks and may swell in heavy rain, also there is a deep drop at one point.
The owners want you to enjoy to the full all the property has to offer, however with all of these amenities care must be taken especially with children. Please see inventory for full details.
For us this is the perfect holiday venue. A unique home full of special character and detail, where, with the magnificent gardens, it will be perfect for family holidays, a celebration or reunion, as well as a the most wonderful romantic retreat and where we are sure you will leave with memories of a very special time.
Out & About
There are plenty of walks from the doorstep where you can explore the surrounding fells, or strike out for the outlying villages and hamlets such as Strawberry Bank and its famed Masons Arms and closer to home, there is the Crown Inn at High Newton, a 2 mile drive or walk from the cottage.
About a 1.5miles, on a fell track lies Simpson Ground Tarn. Managed by the local water authority as a reservoir, it is a beautiful body of water set amongst a small woodland and makes for any easy walk for a waterside picnic.
A short car ride brings you to the foot of Lake Windermere and the River Leven, where you will find the villages of Newby Bridge, Lakeside, Finsthwaite and Backbarrow, along with The National Trusts Fell Foot Park. Here there are gardens, a cafe and, at the lake shore, fishing, jetties for mooring and hiring rowing and sailing boats, along with a ferry crossing to Lakeside.
Head south down onto the Cartmel Peninsular and you have winding country lanes that lead to the Morecambe Bay. The village of Grange over Sands overlooks the bay with a mile long promenade. There are some excellent shops including Higginson's award winning Butchers, two bakers, a grocer and a host of little cafes and tea rooms.
Over the fell lies Cartmel, one of Cumbria's prettiest villages. Four pubs, a fab wine bar, the Michelin awarded l'Enclume, a huge Norman priory and a national hunt race course along with narrow streets and a little river make for the perfect village setting.
A little further afield you have the coast where you can explore the edges of the bay. For me one of the finest walks in the Lake District is to set out along the shore from Arnside, over to the south side of the bay. Ahead of you stretch miles of silver sand, and as the tide comes in the view is spectacular. It must be noted that the sands are hazardous, but providing you keep to the shoreline the walk is fine.
North from the cottage, up the Rusland valley, you come to the Grizedale forest where you can purchase a map of the trails for both walking and mountain bikes. As you explore the forest you will come across fabulous sculptures, which are part of an ongoing art initiative sponsored by The Forestry Commission. North west lies Coniston Water and the Coniston mountain range offing plenty of water activities and mountain trails to suit all abilities.
Dogs are charged at £20 each per full or part week.
Please note there is a refundable £300 security deposit for this property payable closer to the start of your holiday.