A perfect homestead package
The desire to find a home for themselves plus stabling for their horses first drove Linda and Malcolm Bood to explore a quiet lane near Withern.
Set within 5.2 acres of paddocks and grounds, Ramscroft Stables and Cottage certainly offered the space and tranquillity which Mr and Mrs Bood had been looking for.
“Our first impression was of this beautiful location at the end of a quiet country lane,” said Linda. “The property is set in its own land with two character cottages which at the time had obvious potential for improvement. The larger cottage was ideal for our home and the smaller cottage was ideal for letting as and when we saw fit. To be able to have a character home and the income potential from a second cottage, surrounded by these extensive and flexible equestrian facilities was a dream coming true. We were able to walk in and use everything from day one and our horses could be at home for the first time in our lives. We moved here in January 2011.”
It is believed that the cottages were built around 1855 and were originally four land workers tied cottages for a local farm. The Ramscroft properties were numbers three and four.
“A couple of years ago a lady came to the house looking for the cottage in which her great grandfather had lived,” continued Linda. “He had been a farm worker here in 1865 and her research led her to our address. She was delighted to be shown the layout now and appreciated how it would have been at that time.”
In keeping with the rural heritage of the property, the priority for the Boods had been to find a quiet, practical and relatively easy to operate equine set-up. Ramscroft Stables offered a large barn, a stable block, a hay barn and the bonus of a floodlit menage which they could move their horses into from day one. Additional to the horses, a large part of life for Malcolm and Linda are their dogs. The large secure garden and fields for them to run in, plus the peaceful setting captured their imagination even more knowing all their animals would be at ease and safe.
Both of the properties needed work, but they were willing to undertake this over time.
In the first year the decision was taken to extend the kitchen and dining room to provide a great space for entertaining family and friends. This area of the main house has been the scene of many get-togethers and celebrations since. A couple of years ago a large conservatory was added onto the garden side of the property, accessed from the dining room.
“That too is very useful when entertaining and it’s somewhere to sit, escape the television on a summer evening and watch the stunning Lincolnshire sunsets.”
The main house also offers superb two bedroomed accommodation plus extensive living areas and a garage attached.
The adjacent two-bedroomed cottage offers plenty of flexibility as guest or live/work accommodation. There is also potential for holiday letting, as a granny annexe or residential letting.
In the garden, the pond is something that has become a great favourite for Linda and Malcolm. There are resident moorhens with young each year, visiting wild ducks and fish that almost come to call for their food.
“We occasionally have special moments. Early this morning we watched a fox , just beyond our garden fence, as it teased our dogs who just wanted to be free and chase it. This is the changing scene of wildlife that we look out on every morning, with the horses, in the early morning summer’s sunlight, grazing contentedly in the fields and in the winter their heads looking up from their barn windows watching for movement from the house.”
Externally, paths around the garden and access routes to the yard have been formalised. “Short runs of scruffy hedge lines have been removed and replaced with small trees,” said Malcolm. “We have changed the layout of some of the fields by adjusting fence lines, added drainage in two of them and placed a hard standing for horse boxes and vehicles adjacent to the yard.”
The Boods have found very little to stress them about owning a property the size and scale of Ramscroft. They decided early on to invest in some modest powered equipment to enable practical control of paddocks, fencing and hedge lines but they have found local farmers have always been willing and able to support them if they needed to do something more extensive or specialised.
The village of Withern is described by the Boods as very much a retirement community. While their location at the end of Chalk Lane means they are slightly detached from everyday village activity, they like the fact they can dip in or out as they please. Pleasant coastal walks are only ten minutes away by car, the lovely town of Alford is six miles away and the Wolds market town of Louth with all its history, character, shopping and facilities is less than ten miles away.
The Boods will certainly be taking fond memories of Ramscroft away with them when they relocate.
“This is a comfortable home where in winter the whole cottage but especially the kitchen and snug lounge provide a warm and cosy living space. With the American Barn at its centre the equine facilities give an easy and comfortable environment for working on and with the horses throughout the year. It has been a happy home for us and all our animals.”
They are planning to downsize on their next move but still stay in the vicinity. There are only two horses now so there is no need for the seven stables (four in the barn and three external) or the five paddocks which the property includes.
“We are looking to move to a smaller equestrian set up in the local area, so that we can stay in touch with the many friends we have developed in our time here.
“This has been an ideal property for us. We will miss the quiet and peaceful homestead package, our comfortable home, the rental cottage, the equine facilities all so neatly placed within our own land. The package works well and is efficient to operate whatever the weather. It has helped us to keep ourselves and the animals safe and well throughout the time we have been here. All of these positive lifestyle building blocks won’t be simple for us to replace but the new owners will, we hope, appreciate their time here as much as we have.”
Ramscroft Stables, Ramscroft Cottage and Land, Chalk Lane, Withern, Alford, Lincolnshire LN13 0LQ is for sale with Masons Rural and Equestrian, Louth Tel: 01507 350500 www.masons-surveyors.co.uk. £475,000 (Guide Price)