How Hannah Hauxwell's lonely farmhouse was transformed into a des res in the Dales

The farmhouse in which Hannah Hauxwell made ends meet on around £170 a year is now a desirable property in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty described by the author Alfred Wainwright as 'England's last wilderness'. Miss Hauxwell's legacy there is the surrounding field which have been designated 'Hannah's Meadow'.
Hannah Hauxwell at her farm in Baldersdale.Hannah Hauxwell at her farm in Baldersdale.
Hannah Hauxwell at her farm in Baldersdale.

Two years ago, the property went back on the market, its then owners having transformed it since Miss Hauxwell handed them the keys in 1988.

By then it did at last have electricity – local factory workers having raised the money to connect it to the National Grid.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The first task facing the new owners, Robin and Ann Dant, was to clear the boxes of things that had been hoarded away “in case”. In the loft was an old range which Hannah’s father had bought but never fitted.

The Dants replaced the long and boggy track that had been the only access, with a road and installed a borehole, septic tank and central heating. They also converted the old dairy and pantry into a utility room, the stable into a kitchen and the loft into a bedroom and office space.

A new garden room now overlooks the fells, meadows and reservoir, and altogether there are five bedrooms and three bathrooms, all with breathtaking views.

The retained period features include the old hooks that the Hauxwell family had used for hanging meat. There are some in the sitting room – which, Hannah had said, was “only ever used for funerals and pig killings”.

She did not see the cottage in its restored state, preferring to remember it as it was. A YTV film, A Winter Too Many, showed her bidding it an emotional goodbye.

Related topics: