The owners of Laykin and Nell Tom loved the Dales and had been visiting Swaledale for over 30 years before they decided to relocate from the South West to Healaugh near Reeth.

So what was the attraction?

We love Swaledale in all its moods, from tranquil summer days when the meadows are a riot of colourful flowers and the hills are alive with the calls of curlew, lapwing and grouse, the vivid purple of the heather in August, the splendour of the autumn leaves and finally the snow of winter. In addition, the peace and quiet, the walking and the people. We also knew that Swaledale was Alfred Wainright’s favourite Dale, and much less crowded than the Lake District.

How long have you owned the properties?

We bought Laykin in 2005. It had not been renovated since 1939 and was used as a holiday cottage. We fell in love with the stunning views from there. It had no electricity, water or phone line, and the road was impassable and overgrown. It was a project that made some people consider our sanity. When it was finally completed in 2009, our judgement was proved right.

Nell Tom is Laykin’s closest neighbour. We had the opportunity to buy Nell Tom in 2012. It was also a holiday let, but had all facilities already in place, and a road, so we thought it would be more straightforward. We were wrong! We wanted to make many alterations to the house to achieve what we wanted, and we felt that it’s location and breath taking views warranted the work. It took much longer than planned.

We are grateful to the wonderful team of builders from A.R.Calvert in Leyburn for all their hard work, amazing skill and attention to detail.

What kind of work did you carry out?

At Laykin:

We built a proper road, stripped the house back, put in insulation, damp course, new hardwood double glazed windows and under floor heating. We kept the original doors where possible. We added 2 bathrooms upstairs, as well as a shower room/utility downstairs. We knocked 4 rooms into one to make a large kitchen diner, and added an extension. We built lots of retaining walls outside and refurbished the shed, and built a log store, and put in an oil tank. We connected up to mains water and electricity.

At Nell Tom:

We levelled the downstairs, insulated and rewired it throughout. We replaced the windows with new double glazed hardwood ones, and have put in new oak doors and skirtings throughout. We have added an extension to make a larger kitchen diner, with an extra bedroom and bathroom above. We converted one of the smaller rooms upstairs to an ensuite. We also put in the ground source heat pumps and underfloor heating, new damp courses as well as adding a shed for outdoor storage, extending and levelling the garden.