Barley Hill Cottage is the quintessential rural retreat with “a view to die for” over the rolling farmland of the Bowmont Valley to the neighbouring hills of the Northumberland National Park. Far from its more humble beginnings as a shepherd's cottage, the building has recently been extensively renovated to a high standard throughout in a rustic style befitting the magnificent, natural surroundings.
The cottage is incredibly light being south facing and the area at the front of the cottage is a fabulous place to sit and have lunch or enjoy a glass of wine in the evening while the setting sun lights up the valley and hills with breathtaking beauty. Equally fabulous views are on offer from the raised garden at the rear of the property.
The beautifully presented interior has been decorated in a simple, rustic style in warm, earthy tones in keeping with the surroundings. The Chalon-style kitchen is handmade by a local craftsman and merges seamlessly with attractive antiques and state of the art beds with ultra-comfortable mattresses and sumptuous White Company linen and towels.
Barley Hill Cottage is well placed for exploring many of Northumberland's natural hidden gems. On its door step in one direction lie the Cheviot Hills, the rolling blanket of people free hillsides that slope and swell amidst the 400 square miles of Northumberland's National Park. Here you will find some fabulous walking and cycling from gentle forays to extensive rambles amidst spectacular scenery. In another direction is the contrasting lower lying land of the River Till valley with its tiny picturesque villages and scattered farm settlements. This is home to “Ford and Etal Estates”, which hosts an award winning range of small rural businesses, visitor attractions and activities. The various venues are linked by equally lovely walks, rides or drives through attractive well kept rural countryside.
One of our favourite attractions, popular with old and young alike, is the delightful miniature steam railway which runs from Heatherslaw to Etal. On arrival in Etal, the visitor is well advised to leave the train and spend an hour or two in the village, exploring the ruins of Etal Castle and its museum, visiting the Black Bull Pub, village shop, Tea Room, the Church, the pine furniture makers' showroom, or simply enjoying a walk or picnic beside the river, before catching a later train back to Heatherslaw. Here, on the other side of the bridge from the train station, the working water driven corn mill, café, and visitors centre are also all well worth a visit.
If you fancy exploring the local area on four feet rather than two, the local stables at Kimmerston offers fabulous guided rides both on the coastal beaches or up into the Cheviot Hills.
History enthusiasts will be amazed at the sheer number and density of sites of historic and cultural heritage that the area has to offer. These include stunning examples of early rock art and stone circles, Norman castles, Churches of every period, and many fascinating nineteenth century agricultural and industrial buildings.
Very close to Barley Hill cottage is Flodden Field, site of the infamous battle of 1513 between the Scots and the English. Here a “battlefield trail" can be followed on foot, pausing to study several well placed illustrated information boards which tell the story of how the events of that terrible day unfolded.
The cottage lies within half an hour's drive of Northumberland's magnificent coastline, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Whether for walking, kite-surfing, riding, sandcastle-building, dune-surfing or just relaxing, the stunning beaches are well worth a visit. One of our favourite spots is Bamburgh Beach, with miles of pristine sand, nestled behind huge sand dunes and overlooked by the impressive Bamburgh Castle. Head home via The Barn at Beal, a restaurant and coffee shop in a spectacular location overlooking Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.
For fishing fanatics, the legendary River Tweed is only a 10 minute drive from the cottage or the River Till is closer still and is one of the area's best kept secrets with an impressive sea trout run each spring said to be the best in the country. Trout permits are available for as little as £5 per day and rods, reels and waders can be hired locally. For fishing parties, the cottage offers rod racks and a drying room.
Barley Hill Cottage is 5 miles from Cornhill-on-Tweed which offers an excellent village shop selling pies and delicious local goodies and the Collingwood Arms which has a lively bar and restaurant specialising in dishes prepared using the wealth of local produce on offer. Also nearby is the charming ancient market town of Wooler which has a variety of local, independent shops including a butcher and grocer selling a good range of local produce, cafes, pubs and restaurants. The ancient towns of Berwick-upon-Tweed, Kelso and Duns are also nearby and Edinburgh is an easy day trip either approximately 1.5 hours by car or 45 minutes on the train from Berwick.
Details of the accommodation are set out below.
Bedroom one with 6' double bed or two 3' beds, fitted wardrobe and chest of drawers. A hair dryer is available in both bedrooms.
En suite shower room with walk-in shower, whb and WC.
Bedroom two with 5' double bed and chest of drawers.
En suite bathroom with bath with shower over, whb and WC.
Open plan kitchen, dining area and seating area
The beautiful, handmade, Chalon-style kitchen is fully-equipped with double gas oven with 4 ring gas hob, fridge with ice compartment and dishwasher. There is ample storage with a handmade welsh dresser for storage of glassware and crockery and an additional pantry cupboard in the hall. There is an additional chest freezer in the storage room outside.
The dining area has a table and chairs for 4 guests, while the charming cosy seating area has a log burner for the cooler months (logs are provided) and two double sofas. There is plenty of indoor entertainment provided including HD television with Sky, DVD player, CD player with idock and a selection of books and magazines.
Accessed directly from the side door is a small entrance hall with an adjacent cloakroom with basin, WC, and small storage cupboard.
Easily accessed from both front and side doors, with its own external door is a utility / boot room with a washing machine. The room houses the boiler and hot water tank, is ideal for drying outdoor kit and also as serves as an excellent sleeping quarters for dogs. External rod racks are also provided. A further outside shed houses a freezer, and can be used for storage of bicycles or other items.
Garden and grounds
To the front of the property is a gravelled patio garden with outside seating area boasting outstanding views across the Northumberland National Park. There is an additional gravelled patio area to the rear of the property with a charcoal barbecue in addition to a raised garden area with fabulous views to the hills. The garden is fully enclosed at the front and rear for the safety of dogs and children.
Guests with small children should be aware that there is a low wall linking the rear garden to the patio area with an unfenced drop of approximately 4 feet at the highest point.
There is private parking for two cars to the side of the house.
Catering and housekeeping
Barley Hill Cottage can be let on a pure self-catering basis or treat yourself to a proper rest and book a cook (either full time or for the occasional, special meal) or home made meals delivered to the house. Alternatively, we offer a food-shopping and wine delivery service. Daily housekeeping is also available. Please contact us for further details.
Facilities for babies
A travel cot and high chair are available on request.
Two dogs are welcome at Barley Hill Cottage. We would ask that owners adhere to the guidelines in the pre-arrival information with regard to dogs.
Electricity supply at Barley Hill Cottage
Due to the rural location of Barley Hill Cottage, and the owner's understandable decision not to ruin the view with overhead power cables, electricity in the cottage comes from a cleverly designed private Power Supply system, incorporating a generator, batteries and inverter. This provides a standard (230 V ac) supply, capable of delivering all the normal lighting and power requirements of the building. As in any normal house, power is available 24 hours a day, though the diesel generator only runs for a limited number of hours each day to top up the batteries. The generator is almost silent, can barely be heard from inside the house, and is only faintly audible when sitting in the garden outside. It is designed to be as economical as possible, and so as to preserve absolute silence, does not run at night. In order to keep the running hours of the generator to a minimum, guests are encouraged to be especially careful not to use electricity unnecessarily. If heavy loads are to be used (for example washing machine, or dishwasher) it is best to ensure this is done during the generator's daily running periods. This will actually minimise both fuel usage, and the time for which the generator runs. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns.
Hot water is provided by solar panels, backed up as necessary by an oil fired boiler which also provides central heating for the colder months. The entire building is insulated to a high standard, so heat loss is kept to a minimum.
Mobile telephone reception
Please note that mobile reception at Barley Hill Cottage is limited. The reception improves if one walks a little way up the hill behind the cottage.