Idyll under the hammer: a rare recreational barn in the Dales

The barn, Thoralby
The barn, Thoralby
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The chance to buy a “hobby barn” far from the madding crowds. Sharon Dale reports

There are hundreds of field barns dotted round the Yorkshire Dales but dreams of converting them are usually dashed by the National Park’s planning rules, which aim to preserve the character of this beautiful landscape.

The barn, Thoralby

The barn, Thoralby

Most are destined to be derelict reminders of our agricultural past but there are a few exceptions and this sensational retreat in Bishopdale is among the most notable. Set in an idyllic and peaceful spot close to Bishopdale beck, it looks set to spark a storm of interest when it comes up at auction on November 3, with a guide price of £30,000 to £40,000.

It has planning permission for use as a “recreational workshop”, which is a rarity. The change of use from redundant farm building was granted over 30 years ago after a local woman persuaded planning officers to allow her to convert it into a hobby space.

After renovating the tumbledown building and making it water and wind tight, she installed her spinning wheel and weaving loom in the barn. She also used the space for practising yoga. The property, which comes with half an acre of land, has been fitted with a staircase and has lounge and sleeping areas, along with a kitchen/dining space. There are no mains services to the barn but Calor gas bottles service the oven and there is a wood burning stove for heat. Carting water to the property is no problem as there is vehicular access down a farm track, along with off-road parking.

Although it cannot be used as a residence, it has been used for overnight stays, which the owner describes as “a kind of camping”.

“The barn is a perfect country retreat and it is completely unique. I know of no other barns that have this form of planning permission in the National Park area,” says estate agent Tim Gower, of Robin Jessop’s Leyburn office.

“We must stress that it cannot be occupied permanently. The purchaser will also be required to submit an application for continuing the private use, although the National Park Authority has indicated this will be looked at favourably, provided the use is the same or similar.”

The property is in an unspoilt spot in one of the quietest dales and, although it feels remote, it is just half a mile from the village of Thoralby, which is home to the George Inn.

The owner is selling as she is no longer able to use the space as often as she would like. A friend, speaking on her behalf, said: “It is a totally private and tranquil place that has brought a great deal of pleasure over the years.”

*The barn willgo under the hammer at the Robin Jessop auction on November 3 at the Allerton Court Hotel, Darlington Road, Northallerton,