Fine and Country Lancaster
Fine & Country
19 Castle Hill
Woodlee, Leighton Drive, Slack Head, Milnthorpe, LA7 7BE
- Breathe, relax, you’re home
- Light, high spec and spacious
- Leafy setting with uplifting views
- L shaped sitting room is light filled
- Well equipped dining kitchen, utility
- Five bedrooms one with balcony
- Two ensuites, bathroom and cloakroom
- Lower ground floor - storage/hobbies
- c.0.45 acre of private gardens
- Great parking, PP for double garage
The views are uplifting and the quality oflight is transformative; the front elevation is almost due south and so the sun moves round the house and garden throughout the course of the day. A house for all seasons and all moods, Woodlee encourages both quiet reflection and generous hospitality, hunkering down in winter and flinging open all of the French windows in summer, surrounded by trees with some far reaching views of the Bowland Fells in the distance it would be a productive place if you wanted to work from home. It wasn’t always like this, as only the third owners of Woodlee when the vendors bought the house in 2014 it was firmly stuck in a 1960s’ time warp. With a brief to their architect to make the most of the light and the natural setting they extended, remodeled and comprehensively upgraded to create a house that is both contemporary and reminiscent of former architectural styles. It’s not just one room with a view, as you move around the house there really isn’t a poor outlook, every window invites you to pause and gaze. The owners tell us that ‘when it’s just rained and everything is glistening it’s absolutely magical’ and we can believe it. If you like a quiet and leafy setting then the variety of greens that the wide selection of surrounding foliage brings (there are five oak trees alone within the grounds) then Woodlee is a must see.
The L shaped sitting room is light filled and the dining kitchen is well equipped with a utility room providing back up. There are five bedrooms, four doubles and a single (which would make a great ground floor office if you were looking to work from home). Two of the bedrooms have an ensuite and there’s a house bathroom and cloakroom to round things off. The lower ground floor is approached externally and offers both great storage and hobbies potential. Set in a plot of c.0.45 acre, the surrounding gardens are an absolute joy, planted with knowledge and passion to provide privacy and seclusion. There’s good off road parking and understood to be planning permission for a detached double garage off the lower driveway.
Woodlee as you see it today bears little resemblance to the property we first viewed when we were looking to buy but as we stood in the sitting room, looked out at the surprising views (which we really hadn’t expected) we just knew we could do
something with it. It had a very instant appeal for us.
We wanted to create a good connection with the outside which the architect achieved with new doors to an enlarged deck, creation of the two storey ‘tower window’ which both lets in light but also dramatically extends the floor space in the third bedroom, the Juliette balcony and the main balcony off main bedroom. We had a vision for a modern and Cumbrian take on a New England or an Arts and Crafts Movement house that would sit well in the leafy landscape. We are delighted with the house we’ve all created, it’s been a pleasure to live here but with another grandchild on the way a move is needed.
The family has loved visiting us here. With demanding jobs and busy lives they arrive, take a deep breath and relax into their time here.
Not being on a main thoroughfare Slack Head may be easy to miss. To be honest, that’s the beauty of the location. It’s a quiet and peaceful setting for a hamlet which Wikipedia proudly proclaims has a postbox as its only facility. What Wikipedia fails to mention is that it offers convenient access to the M6 motorway at either junctions 35 or 36, a choice of railway stations on the main West Coast line within easy reach and a whole host of local services and shops in Milnthorpe (including a Booths supermarket), Carnforth (another branch of Booths as well as a Tesco and Aldi), Kendal (including M&S and Sainsbury’s), Arnside and Silverdale. It’s a location for anyone that loves the great outdoors, not only is it within the Silverdale and Arnside AONB but the National Parks of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, the Forest of Bowland AONB and the Lune Valley are all perfect for day trips.
The nearest city is Lancaster which has much for all generations with an established cultural and music scene, bars and restaurants offering cuisines from around the world, an excellent range of high street and independent shops, a comprehensive
provision of professional services, two universities (Lancaster and Cumbria) and both private and NHS hospitals.
Before moving here we knew the area. We’d visited Beetham Nurseries, eaten in The Wheatsheaf, watched films at Beetham’s Heron Theatre, were frequent visitors to the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss and often walked the coastal paths at Arnside and Silverdale. The revelation has been just how accessible it is for both us to get about for work but also for family and friends when they visit. We feel like we are deep in the countryside but the reality is that we have good road and rail links with local shops and services in all directions.
We love the views, the light. We love that there is no light pollution and you can see the stars, lichen grows on trees because the air is so clean and the milk is delivered in bottles! It’s a lovely quiet place to live, with just a soundtrack of birdsong. The garden brings us a great diversity of wildlife, there are plenty of butterflies, bees, pheasants, deer and sometimes a shy hedgehog. We always have binoculars at the ready to spot the birds; over the years we’ve seen owls, marsh tits, blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, greater spotted woodpeckers, treecreepers, wrens and dunnocks amongst others. We’ve recently had a song thrush in the garden (a local farmer tells us that they’ve just returned to the area). That was special! We sometimes see migrating geese come over the house to and from Leighton Moss in a large V formation and just before dawn and dusk during October to February we have groups of starlings in flight to Leighton Moss. The large murmurations there are absolutely awe-inspiring. We like to take a coffee onto the bedroom balcony and wait for them.
Two planted boxes sit either side of the stone steps with glass balustrades which lead up to front door. The first floor balcony above provides both shelter and illumination.
The entrance hall is a bright and generous space, perfect for welcoming guests; there’s a double cloaks cupboard (note the handles, they match the interior front door handle and are thin branches from a silver birch tree in the garden) and a downstairs loo where the oval wash bowl sits on an oak plinth. From the hall there are double opening glazed doors into the kitchen. It feels open plan but means that the living accommodation can be separated from the bedroom quarters if need be.
The dining kitchen is a warm and convivial space. An interesting room it is dual aspect with lovely views of the garden and to the east beyond that, across the deck and adjacent silver birch tree over the garden and far tree line, to Warton Cragg and the Bowland Fells beyond. The stairs rise from here and there’s good built in storage cupboards, one of which includes the manifold for the downstair’s underfloor heating which keeps the cupboard lovely and aired and so it’s just the job for use as a linen and towel store and with a rail, it’s good for coats too.
The kitchen was designed by the owners and joiner made to their specification. It includes a small breakfast bar made of oak with an attractive waney edge; forming a degree of separation between the kitchen and dining areas it also provides the perfect place for one to perch and chat whilst the other cooks. The cabinets include deep pan drawers with concealed cutlery racks and a wonderful larder cupboard. Allowing light to flow through there is a glazed door into the utility room. Contemporary in style it also incorporates a deep pot sink and a ceiling mounted clothes airier. There’s additional oak shelving and a part glazed stable door out to the garden. The view from here is out to a lovely crab apple tree.
The triple aspect L shaped sitting room is perfect for two (there are a pair of comfy chairs positioned in the oriel window just ready for a cup of tea and chat) or big enough to accommodate a crowd. French windows open to the deck in warmer months encouraging spilling outside and when the weather turns, or the mood simply takes you, there’s the wood burner to light. The picture lights create subtle lighting; indeed, the whole room is incredibly atmospheric, whether by day or night.
The main guest bedroom is on the ground floor, there’s a calm and peace about this room, no wonder it’s popular with visitors. The walk-in square bay window looks directly out to the lower boughs of an oak tree. Luxaflex blinds fit neatly into the frames and can be raised or lowered. Within the contemporary shower room the square wash basin it set on a floating console unit and around the walls are built-in recesses which are designed for display and tucking away toiletries. The fifth bedroom is also on the ground floor, a single room it would make a good home office or sewing room if you didn’t need the bedroom numbers.
The ground floor bedrooms provide flexibility, either for guests, teenagers or as a consideration for the future as they offer the option of single level living.
Within the house there are so many places to sit quietly, to sip a coffee, daydream, read the next chapter or catch up on correspondence. The chair in the oriel window in the sitting room and the sofa in the third bedroom are favourites with the owners.
Continuing our tour on the first floor off the vaulted landing with bespoke fitted book shelves there are three double bedrooms, a bathroom and ensuite shower room.
The principal bedroom suite is a well deserved treat for the home owner; generous in proportions with a high vaulted ceiling there is excellent storage set in the eaves space as well as two walk in wardrobes. French windows open to a covered balcony with a glass balustrade. Attracting the afternoon and early evening sun, the view is open and distant. The ensuite shower room adds a further touch of luxury with twin wash basins on a floating vanity unit and there’s a large digitally controlled shower with a rainfall head. Twin tall windows look out to the flowering cherry tree and there are small recesses set into the walls for your bits and pieces.
The third double is currently used as a home office, above the sitting room it has the upper section of the ‘tower window’ as well as French windows opening to a glass Juliette balcony, combined they really allow the room to connect with the garden and the view. Light and airy the ceiling rises to the roof apex and a cupboard has been fitted into the eaves spaces to provide excellent storage. It’s a great vantage point for the flight of the starlings as they ribbon past overhead and a silver birch tree gives privacy removing the need for the clutter of curtains.
The fourth double bedroom also offers eaves storage. The house bathroom serves both of these two rooms; it has both a modern slipper bath and a wet room style shower with a rainfall head. There are low level LED lights which provide an atmospheric glow for a leisurely and relaxing evening soak. A striking window is set into the apex roof line and enjoys a view through the branches of a silver birch. The great attention to detail that has been employed in the extensions (bedrooms 1, 2, 5, the downstairs loo, hallway and utility) along with the overall remodeling and renovation is worthy of a special mention.
The extensions are timber framed with Levendale blue grey roofing slates fitted across the whole property. To increase the thermal efficiency of the whole property it was wrapped in external insulation and then either rendered with white K-Rend or faced with Marley Eternit cedral board cladding. This particular type of high specification weather boarding was chosen because it is textured like wood but needs minimal maintenance. According to the manufacturers it is resistant to all weather conditions (rain, wind, snow and UV) and impervious to rot, mould and pests. They say it has a 50 year life expectancy and shouldn’t need painting in that time. K-Rend is another high performing product with a 30 year product guarantee (installed in 2018). Chosen for many reasons, but a distinct advantage is that the colour pigment is within the render meaning it doesn’t need painting. The double glazed windows and three sets of French windows were all installed as part of the work, they, along with the external cills are Alu-clad (aluminum clad externally, wooden internally). The substantial front door was added as were the Velux skylight windows, usefully the high one above the stairs is remote controlled.
Underfoot, there is Quick-Step classic oak natural laminate flooring in the hall, dining kitchen and utility, sitting room and all five bedrooms. The stairs are carpeted in a heavy duty 80/20 Axminster. In the bathroom and cloakroom there are anti slip tiles with polished porcelain in the principal bedroom’s ensuite and Moroccan inspired porcelain floor tiles in the ground floor ensuite. To complement the floor tiling the wall tiling has all been carefully selected and includes beautiful polished grey marble tiles with marble mosaic in the main ensuite.
The kitchen and utility room fittings were a bespoke commission with slab J handle cabinet doors spray painted for a superior finish in Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Gray and Strong White, the beauty being that if new owners fancied a change of colour they could be repainted. As it is they sit happily against the textured and very tactile almost black granite work surface with its smooth polished edges. The open fronted wall cabinets are solid oak and in design provide a gentle nod to the 1960s’ heritage of the house.
In terms of appliances included in the sale the wood burner is a Stovax Vogue and sits on a smooth polished granite hearth. In the kitchen there’s a NEFF induction hob above which sits an Elica extractor fan and light, an AEG single multifunction steam/ bake oven and an AEG warming drawer (apparently a game changer when it comes to Christmas Day!) The Hotpoint dishwasher was chosen as it is an exceptionally quiet model, vitally important if you want to pop it on before your dinner guests have
left. The fridge freezer is a Samsung as is the washing machine. Sanitary ware is high quality with well chosen accessories. The flush white painted internal doors are at the same time both true to the original design and contemporary, the 1960s brass door handles have been retained. All of this is against a backdrop of Farrow & Ball painted walls (All White) with a few carefully selected feature walls.
The resultant property is one that has been well designed, meticulously built and stylishly presented. Deeply comfortable in the surrounding nature that it embraces, it is nurturing and welcoming.
The house lends itself to having people over, it’s really flexible. At Christmas we have two trees, one in the entrance hallway and then a second in the oriel window in the sitting room, the tree lights reflect in the glass; it looks so festive coming back home on a dark December afternoon. Every year we look forward to hanging a wreath on the front door.
It’s a lovely house for hosting family events. Our daughter left from Woodlee to get married in the local church. The day after we had everyone back here, it was a lovely June day, we had all of the windows and doors open, guests were able to move around, sit on the deck or the terrace, children were playing hide and seek in the lower garden or the ‘woody bottoms’ as we call it. It was a lovely day, made all the more memorable by the setting.
The sun moves round the garden, seating areas have been created with this in mind. The deck gets the morning and midday sun making the table and chairs there perfect for breakfast or a relaxed lunch. The bench in the back garden enjoys the sun until about 1pm and therefore as a venue for a mid morning coffee with the papers it’s lovely. The lower south facing terrace enjoys sun all day long so a long leisurely lunch, the type that extends through into the afternoon is perfect down here. The bedroom balcony bathes in late afternoon and early evening sun – a great spot for a glass of something chilled while reflecting on the day. Wrapping around Woodlee, the garden is an absolute joy and complements the design and colour scheme of the house beautifully. Created by the vendors it offers a series of areas which whilst they each have a distinct identity, together they flow easily from one to the next. Whilst the roads aren’t busy the house and garden is well screened from anyone passing by
with well devised planting.
The informal garden boasts a wide variety of spring, summer and autumn bulbs, herbaceous favourites, flowering shrubs and trees; an extensive assortment far greater than those we have been able to mention here. The gardening enthusiast will no doubt take as much pleasure touring and admiring the garden as they do the house.
Along Leighton Drive there is a limestone boundary wall, it opens to a gravel drive with a limestone pavement garden, there is an unusual curly-leaved holly bush here as well as a variegated dogwood, established heathers and lots of bright yellow garden loosestrife. At the front of the property is the south facing gravel garden, inspired by Beth Chatto (if you are unfamiliar with her work we urge you to Google her, you’ll be impressed, awarded an OBE she was a renowned plantswoman, author and
lecturer. In the 1960s she took an overgrown wasteland and transformed it using plants adapted by nature to thrive in different conditions; right plant, right place. There, as is the case here at Woodlee, an inspirational, informal garden was developed. Even though it’s south facing the plants don’t need watering as they are all drought tolerant.
Below the deck (laid with a hardwearing composite decking material) to the east lies the kitchen garden where raised beds provide space for vegetables and herbs or if you didn’t fancy a degree of self sufficiency then it would make a lovely cutting garden for flowers to take indoors. In the fruit garden you’ll be assured a plentiful harvest with blueberries, gooseberries, wild strawberries and raspberries. With an open aspect it’s a lovely sunny spot to enjoy a break in your gardening endeavours. There’s a magnolia tree here which has abundant white flowers ‘that seem to almost glow at dawn and dusk.’ Below this, steps lead down to the second parking area. It’s here where there is planning permission for the double garage (designed with British larch clad elevations under a living sedum roof so that it will be visually unobtrusive from the deck and house above). Purchasers may decide not to build the garage and instead value the additional space for extra vehicles, a camper van or boat.
There’s a shaded walk round to the back garden with a large old tree stump moved from the lower
garden and planted with shade loving hellebores, ferns and Solomon’s Seal. There’s a lovely pale pink
flowering wild cherry tree here ‘the blossom is an absolute delight’.
A rose covered pergola built over steps leads down to the lower woodland garden, incredibly private it’s a real sun trap and is a good place to take the sun beds when the opportunity arises. Wild orchids grow on the lawn in early summer so a path is mown allowing them to appear which is then mown over in autumn.
Whilst at heart a spring garden there is much to be seen in terms of structure, colour and interest throughout the year. At the start of the year there are snowdrops, then primroses followed by several varieties of daffodils. In the lower garden there is an old variety of delicate, white wood anemones. Elsewhere in the garden there then follows agapanthus (both blue and white), lily of the valley, aquilegia, lovely blue irises, heritage fragrant roses and several varieties of peonies, notably including ‘Julia Rose’ where the blooms change colour from cerise to raspberry and then cream, we are reliably informed that they look beautiful cut and taken inside.
With a largely white colour scheme, the garden has abundant flowering shrubs including fragrant honeysuckle and jasmine, spiraea, potentilla, hardy fuchsias, forsythia and buddleias galore. The lower ground floor offers an undercroft which has double doors for easy access for machinery, bikes, outdoor kit and the like. The water storage tank is down here, the capacity is such that all showers can be on the go at one time, just the thing when you’ve a houseful. The ceiling has been insulated to ensure the sitting room above remains a warm space. The attached boot room has been built under the deck. Clad in cedral weatherboard to match the house, it’s been insulated so is more of a ‘posh shed’.
With light and power it would make a super space for hobbies or a workshop. Underneath the deck is useful open fronted storage.
There are four water butts within the garden which do the job nicely, we’re told that it hasn’t been necessary to use mains supply to water the garden since they were installed. With occasional visits from a tree surgeon to all of the trees in the garden there’s been no need to buy any logs so far; all the better for keeping the home fires burning.
Superfast speed of 75 Mbps download and for uploading 20 Mbps.
There is Cat 6 hard wiring to bedrooms 2, 3 and 5 and to the television sitting room. The rest of the house is covered by WiFi.
Westmorland and Furness Council
There are stations on the main West Coast line at both Lancaster and Oxenholme (14.3 and 9.6 miles distant respectively) depending on the direction of your travel. There is also a branch line connection at Carnforth (7.4 miles away) and Arnside (3 miles).
Mains electricity, gas and water. Gas fired heating from a Vaillant EcoTec plus boiler.
With the exception of one radiator, the heating is underfloor with thermostats in each room which can be changed manually or remotely via the Heatmiser Neo mobile app. There areheated towel rails in the bathroom and both ensuites.
Private drainage to a septic tank located within the boundary.
Consent was granted by Westmorland and Furness Council for the extension and remodeling, reference SL/2017/0168. This also includes consent for the garage. For further information, please visit the https://applications.southlakeland.gov.uk
Use Sat Nav LA7 7BE with reference to the directions below:
Easy to find, from the A6 at Beetham turn onto Leighton Beck Lane (towards the church and TheWheatsheaf pub), follow the road up into the heart of the village and into Slack Head. The turning forLeighton Drive is on the right. Woodlee is the first house on the right, on the corner plot.
There is a great choice of primary schools in the
neighbouring villages including nearby Beetham,
Milnthorpe, Arnside, Storth, Silverdale, Yealand
Redmayne and Burton in Kendal.
Dallam School, Milnthorpe
Queen Katherine School and Kirkbie Kendal,
Queen Elizabeth School and QEStudio, Kirkby
Royal Grammar Schools and Ripley St Thomas CoE
Academy, all in Lancaster
University of Cumbria (Lancaster and Ambleside
Lancaster and Morecambe College
Included In The Sale
Fitted carpets, curtains, curtain poles, blinds, light fittings and kitchen appliances as listed.
Council Tax Band
Tenure - Freehold