There’s a taste of the high life at Walshaw Lodge, among Yorkshire’s wild and windy moors, where the wind tickles the walls and the hills come dotted with woolly dogs. Deep inside Bronte country, this is a grown-up luxury retreat for the walkers, the peace-seekers, the aficionados of fine views, the celebrators and the reuniters.
Sleeping 20 in 11 bedrooms, Walshaw Lodge lives on the end of Hardcastle Crags, with its welter of wooded walking trails and home to self-powered Gibson Mill, Yorkshire’s oldest. But you might simply want to stick on site and stare at the endless fells and fields while the fires crackle in the grate.
Settle back to catch Netflix and Sky Q in the TV room. Bring your devices for the BT broadband. Sing loud and proud around the grand piano. Kick a ball around the gardens. Pick a book from the shelves. Play ping-pong in the garage. Burn some bangers on the coal barbie. Try a taste of freedom, high above Earthly concerns.
Walshaw Lodge has direct access to Hardcastle Crags, a National Trust site, so grab your walking boots (and four-legged friends) and step out into the wooded valley with 19th-century Gibson Mill at its centre. With miles of bridleways, footpaths and beauty spots, you can head off in search for Heathcliff on the Moors, this is Wuthering Heights country after all.
The grounds are fenced and run right around the house, giving you scarlet sunrises and sunsets along with unrestricted views of sheep, fields and rolling grouse moors. Relax on the front terrace with plush seating in the summer months and dine under the wide-open sky at the terrace table. If you take a deep breath of clean countryside air, you’ll catch the scent of heather carried by the Yorkshire winds.
You probably don’t stay at Walshaw Lodge for the in-house entertainment – you come for the wind and the woolly dogs. But it’s there after a day marching over the moors or wild swimming at Lumb Hole Falls. So wrap up your day in the TV lounge with a little Netflix or Sky Q as your boots dry in the washroom.
Get a fire going and light your evenings with real flames and the crackle of happy laughter. Stream away on the BT broadband. Get a singalong going around the grand piano – but hands off the Steinway in the entertainment room. That’s for recitals only. Yes, there’s an entertainment room and it’s a mere 1000 square feet small.
You won’t be short of rooms, or room, here. Catch up on email in the study. Gather in groups in the lounge or sitting room, or sneak a book from the shelves to the snug or drawing room. Get competitive in the garage over table tennis. Stay up late with Nespresso or Prosecco. Walk, eat, drink, and celebrate in a big beautiful bolthole.
The dining table’s a whopper, with views out over the hills. Cut the bread, pass the butter, uncork the wine and roast your joints from Gibbon’s butchers. Cook on the range in the delicious kitchen complete with toaster, ice machine and microwave, then ditch the dirties in the dishwasher and put your feet up with a Nespresso.
You’ll get deliveries from most major supermarkets and booze from Majestic Wines. On summer days, head out to the terrace with its view of the grouse moors and fire up the coal barbie. Or book a local chef for a one-off celebration or a fully catered break and enjoy a hog roast, buffet or family meal without lifting a finger.
Eat out at the White Lion in boho Hebden Bridge with its seasonal menus and local produce. Enjoy cosy pub grub at the Stubbing Wharf as you watch the ever-changing cast of characters and boats that live on the canal. Or tuck into fritto misto or Gressingham duck breast at The Old Gate.
Head to Engine in Sowerby Bridge for albondigas, gyozas, chraimeh seabream, and even more exotic fare. Make it a night to remember with a trip to The White Swan in Fence for food that’s won a Michelin star and two AA rosettes. Or summon up Just Eat for takeaways from Blue Japanese, Eastern Spice and Origano.
There’s nothing to keep you awake here, apart from the plaintive cry of the curlew. Sleep like a rock in eleven bedrooms served by seven beautiful bathrooms.
Let’s start with the suite. Fenny Lees is a zip-and-link affair sleeping two, with a dressing room (High Raikes). Shackleton and Walshaw Hill are also zip-and-links, each sleeping two, while Widdop offers a double bed. It’s a similar zip-and-link story in Black Nursey and Hamlet.
Gorple, opposite the upstairs kitchen, is a single, and Whinberry and Flask each come with a double bed. At the end of the passage, Rom Hill is another zip-and-link.