A Place in the Pennines: How an adventurous couple created the perfect Yorkshire retreat for walkers and nature lovers
They have travelled the world and lived in some of the world’s most spectacular locations, but when Hannah Byram and Jamie Mawson decided to create the perfect haven for fellow adventurers, they chose their very own corner of the world in Yorkshire to do so.
Their holiday cabin retreat, called A Place in the Pennines, lies nestled between the Huddersfield Narrow Canal pathway and the River Colne, a two-minute walk from the centre of their home of Marsden, seven miles from Huddersfield. Hannah grew up in Marsden, while Jamie is from Golcar, just down the road. They opened phase one of the development this summer, following nine months of construction.
Before embarking on the project, this adventurous young couple had crossed the globe, experiencing walking trails over far-flung terrains including in Nepal and undertaking the 165-kilometre Tour Du Mont Blanc. They had also lived in the French Alps and run Airbnbs in France and the UK.
“We love nothing more than heading off in our campervan with our son, William, and finding new places to visit and explore. It’s a feeling that can’t be beaten,” says Hannah,
They bought the land for A Place in the Pennines five years ago, deciding to create cabins that reminded them of French chalets, but also had the warm and inviting atmosphere of a cosy Yorkshire cottage.
Kindred spirits Hannah, a sports coach, and Jamie, former barber and self-taught joiner (he has also run ultra-marathons), have been together for more than 10 years. William is 16 months old. “We also have three border collies and during the Covid lockdown we decided to buy six Cheviot sheep and learned how to train our dogs for working the sheep. Six sheep turned into 30 and now we have a small flock,” Hannah says.
“With A Place In The Pennines, we want to create a destination that makes people feel at home – but better,” Hannah says. “Somewhere they can explore the amazing adventures our region has to offer, while coming back to a small slice of luxury.”
Set in three acres of woodland, the first two cabins are called Deer Hill and Cupwith, after the surrounding peaks. “The woodland, the wildlife and canalside views were the first thing we loved,” Hannah says.
Sound construction is key to cosiness. The foundations of the cabins consist of a reinforced concrete slab topped with four tiers of concrete blocks, lifting the above ground level, ensuring dryness and ventilation. The cabins themselves are made from tanalised timber and there are two layers of Yorkshire boarding, to fit in with the landscape. The roofing membranes are rubber, with a living sedum roof.
Hannah says: “Inside the cabins, we have underfloor heating integrated into a floor screen, with oak-effect flooring planks as our surface. The walls have warmth and character, clad with matchboard tongue and groove pine, painted in our signature shade, Skimming Stone, which has a lovely ambiance.
“Every piece of furniture, from beds to dining tables, has been handcrafted using reclaimed pitch pine sourced from local mills. The kitchens are made by the local Kitchen Factory in Milnsbridge, just five miles away.”.
“We’ve put a lot of thought into how the lodges work,” says Jamie. “We’ve put sockets in the right places, somewhere you can rest your book, an area where you can dry your dogs, places to store bikes. The beauty of it has been that I’ve built the lodges myself, so I’ve had first-hand input into how they’ll work, bringing together our likes and dislikes from other lodges we’ve stayed in.”
The cabins sleep two in a double bed - ideal for a cosy romantic hideaway – and one also has bunk beds. They are open plan, with a clever and striking room divider bteween sleeping and living areas, and the decor is simple, with white walls, adorned with maps of the area, Yorkshire dialect posters and pictures of farm animals.
The bed bases and the kitchen shelves are made using 100-year-old recycled wood from nearby mills, sanded, treated and varnished. Jamie created the front door of Cupwith Cabin by taking a new plain timber door and cladding it in burnt timber, using a blowtorch, sanding it and then varnishing a number of times.
“The shelves and bed frames would have cost a fortune to buy, so it feels good for them to really cost nothing and to know we are reusing materials,” Hannah says. “They are really stand-out features when you first walk in.”
But it is the wild and beautiful views that they love the most, as do their guests. “From both cabins we have big open windows which look directly out into the surrounding woodland. We have built our breakfast bar into these windows to ensure our guests can make the most of the views,” Hannah says.
Each cabin has a patio area with outside furniture. Hannah says: “One of our most recent guests stayed up late and watched the perseid meteor shower which they said was amazing as there wasn’t any light pollution.”
“We think it’s really important to keep the wildlife in the area and we have put up bird boxes, insect houses and often see wild deer walking through the site. We also have a resident cuckoo.”
Jamie says: “We have just been granted permission to build the remaining cabins onsite which means we will have five altogether plus a further five campervan spaces.
“Having William makes this all even more exciting as it’s all for him and any future siblings. It makes us have so much fire in our bellies for our business to succeed. The area is amazing and we pinch ourselves everytime we go there, that it’s ours.”
A Place In The Pennines can be found at Marsden Lane, Marsden, near Huddersfield. See www.aplaceinthepennines.com.