Iconic chocolate-box cottage undergoes crucial refresh

Thatcher Christopher Smart working on the thatched roof on the house in Thornton Le Dale
Thatcher Christopher Smart working on the thatched roof on the house in Thornton Le Dale
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IT is an iconic image of North Yorkshire that has adorned thousands of boxes of chocolate and calendars, and careful work is now being carried out to ensure its splendour can be enjoyed for decades to come.

Beck Isle Cottage in Thornton-le-Dale, Ryedale is a popular draw for visitors because of its thatched roof; an architectural feature that locals claim makes it is the most photographed house in Yorkshire.

The thatched roof on the house in Thornton Le Dale is undergoing a refresh.

The thatched roof on the house in Thornton Le Dale is undergoing a refresh.

But such roofs require the utmost care to maintain their condition and so professional thatcher Christopher Smart has been drafted in to give the property’s most outstanding feature a refresh. Using water reeds to re-thatch the roof means it should remain in prime condition for the next 50 years.

Mr Smart, who has worked as a thatcher for 23 years, said the style remained relevant in the 21st century.

“Far from being a dying trade, thatching is thriving with new houses being built with thatched roofs,” he said.

“It would be nice to get property developers up here in the North to see the benefits: warm in the winter, cool in the summer, great sound insulator, environmentally friendly and with the addition of fire retardants placed under the thatch insurance costs can be kept to a minimum.

“Thatching is definitely more in keeping with current eco-friendly trends than people give it credit for.”