North East Properties - Cote Ghyll, Hurworth
PUBLISHED: 21:17 28 December 2012 | UPDATED: 22:34 20 February 2013
If you go down to the woods today you're in for a big surprise. Helen Johnson reports from a secluded home packed with memories
Cote Ghyll in Hurworth is a family home that has evolved over three generations. It was built by Rosemary Gents grandfather, but now the children have left home, it is for sale for the first time ever. Rosemary and her husband David will be sad to leave the home which stands only 100 yards from the five-star Rockcliffe Hall Hotel.
Its like a different world here, she said. Its so quiet, but its only 100 yards to the main road and the bus route. It started when my grandfather bought the Keepers Cottage and some land when the estate was auctioned off in 1948.
The estate, once known as Pilmore, was bought by Darlington banker Alfred Backhouse in 1851. He commissioned the Gothic Revivalist architect Alfred Waterhouse to build Rockcliffe Hall. Waterhouse subsequently designed many famous buildings, including Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum.
In 1918, Lord Southampton bought the estate, but in 1948 it was broken up and sold. The buildings were used as a hospital, then a community centre. In 1996, the park became Middlesbrough Football Clubs training ground, and in 2009 the hall opened as a luxury hotel.
Rosemary and David have enough land of their own for a woodland walk and Rosemary said: My grandfather was a farm manager and he bought this to retire to, with a bit of land for chickens and a garden.
The couple have the plans and documents from that sale and David added: He was a canny man, because prior to the auction he made a deal with a timber merchant. It more or less funded his purchase.
They lived in the gamekeepers cottage which still stands next door, through the trees. But, Rosemary said: My grandmother became disabled, and the cottage had stairs. They applied for planning permission, made a clearing in the wood, and built a two-bedroom bungalow in 1955. They named it Cote Ghyll, which was where theyd come from in Osmotherley.
A few years after that, my grandmother died. My mother had been widowed when I was four-years-old, so she was persuaded to move here and look after grandfather.
When Rosemary married, she moved up the lane to live with David in Hurworth village. Her mother stayed at the house and cared for the two acres of garden, vegetable plot and woodland.
When the time came for Rosemarys mother to retire, David and Rosemary extended the house to create a granny annexe.
We told the architect to make sure all the living rooms faced south. That way, they get the sunshine and a view of the garden, said Rosemary, who moved into the house along with David and their two sons.
Theres an ornamental garden near the house, with patio, lawns, flower and shrub borders, and a pond and beyond that are vegetables and the largely untouched woodland, which is mixed with evergreen and deciduous trees.
In spring, its gorgeous with the bluebells and primroses, Rosemary said. One of my pleasures in winter is to walk in the wood and collect sticks to light the fire. Weve seen deer, foxes, hedgehogs, pheasants, frogspawn, ducks, and lots of birds, including woodpeckers.
My favourite part of the garden is the vegetable garden. Its been cultivated for around a hundred years, and is very fertile. Im normally self-sufficient in vegetables, and I have a lot of soft fruit. The freezers full, and I make jams and chutneys too.
She grows flowers for the house, but rarely buys plants. Ive grown everything from cuttings. The gardens a memory garden of who gave me the cutting.
Now, though, only David and Rosemary remain one son is in Australia, the other in Shropshire. But although the house will pass out of the family for the first time, David and Rosemary do not plan to leave the area.
Wherever she goes, Rosemary will have plenty of memories to take with her.