When he was studying for his medical degree at Leeds University, surgeon Chris Wray loved to swap the city for walking in the Dales. The fresh air and fabulous views prompted an ambition to find a job that allowed him to live close to the countryside he loved.
He achieved his goal in 1990 and bought Westfield House in Gargrave, four miles from Skipton and on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The property ticked all the boxes for Chris and his wife, Helen. It is a period home full of historic features and it is in a well-served village with a railway station with links to Leeds. Gargrave’s amenities include a Co-op store, post office and pubs plus an Indian restaurant and a fish and chip shop.
Westfield House, built in 1855, is now for sale for £995,000 with Hunters Skipton and is one of the finest homes in the village. It is in a lovely setting with extensive south-facing gardens and rural views.
Over the years, the Wrays have sensitively extended the house by adding a new kitchen and they have carefully modernised all the rooms. One of the biggest projects was building a large barn-style garage using reclaimed stone from an old barn that was being demolished nearby.
The couple are selling their much-loved home to pursue an interest in farming that began with them keeping sheep in the paddock at Westfield House. “We started 25 years ago when we bought two or three sheep and that became a serious interest for us and our son,” says Chris. “We then bought 10 acres on the edge of Grassington and we now have 230 acres and planning permission for a farmhouse and that’s why we are selling. We have a new purpose in life otherwise we would have stayed at Westfield House forever.”
The Wrays have diversified into rare breed cattle and sheep and have launched Gam Farm, which sells wool from its sheep and hosts workshops, demonstrations and open days for the Dales Support Group of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
Westfield House has a hall, snug, dining room, drawing room, a large living kitchen, a home office, cloakroom, utility room and boot room, a keeping-cellar and living area with a working Yorkshire range, On the upper floor are five double bedrooms and two bathrooms. Outside, are gardens, gated courtyard and a small paddock.
Contact: Hunters Skipton, tel: 01756 700544, www.hunters.com
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