During the pandemic we have discovered what makes a comfortable, sustaining environment when movement is restricted. It’s nothing special. Our house is in one of the cheapest parts of the country. It’s basically a Victorian end terrace with additions. Being 1,000 feet up, and 55 degrees north, and oriented SE NW, it needs a little extra protection to keep out the weather. We have made sure it stays watertight and weather resistant by applying a Weathertex coating
Because they have always been fed, our two gardens are highly productive. The small apple tree in the back garden produced 350 apples last year, and not one, for reasons I shall explain, was wasted. The front garden gives blackcurrants, redcurrants and a variety of soft fruits, as well as plums and (rather hard) pears. There are also several slightly more unusual plants, such as sala. We have a small wetland area and a wildflower patch.
But what makes our house a sustainable home is not simply the house and its gardens, or even the possibility to future proof the property, it’s the environment it is part of. Alongside is a rare lowland heath. Across the road are organic fields which see curlews and skylarks, and beyond the fields an area of new woodland from which you can see the coast. A few yards away is the C2C cycle way, and we are quite close to a World Monument.
So far, so idyllic, but this is not a middle class area. It is in one of the most deprived parts of the country, which, for all its beauty (the Northumberland National Park and the Durham Dales are close at hand) makes demands. Fortunately, this is a courteous, close and active community. There is an active food distribution programme (the apples, remember?), a community garden, educational initiatives, allotments and environmental enthusiasm.
From a practical point of view, the risk of flooding is negligible, there is public transport outside the door to three major cities, and there are two surgeries, a post office and a supermarket within ten minutes walking distance. Ten minutes away by car (no bus, sadly), is an organic farm producing its own meat. An organic veggie box delivery scheme is available.
I could talk about the elegance of our home, its cosiness and sense of space, but these are subjective judgements I have tried to avoid. It does have a 20′ kitchen, two similar sized reception rooms, three bedrooms and two shower rooms. Attached to the house is a double garage with an electrically operated door that is a blessing in wet weather.
For more information about the house or neighbourhood, contact me.