Tuesday 15 January 2013

What you might expect ........


Well as you might expect I failed completely to 'blog' the development of Little Bothy as I had planned to do.
No excuses - it was just all too busy - building the Bothy, furnishing the Bothy, letting the Bothy and of course getting Daughter Kayte married to Lewis.... in the midst of it all.....
                                                 .......so I  thought at the end of the summer - time to Blog - but no ....  still too busy,  the Little Bothy was let almost every week from its completion in July right through until the new year - it was an amazing first 6 months....... 

But now it is a bit quieter so time to make up for the lack of Blog with a little tale about what to expect should you decided to come and sample the Little Bothy for yourselves.

The original part of the Bothy, (built in 1867), what we think was probably the District nurses 'treatment room' is now a lovely warm cosy bedroom with a fab little shower room en-suite.  When the footings were dug for the extension outside the original front door the builder found the remains of an ash pit - maybe for burning medical waste - with loads of ancient little glass bottles in it - very interesting

The new section, a brick and oak conservatory is light bright and surprisingly spacious.
Incorporating a kitchen, dining area and sitting room with log burner. 
 In cold weather you can curl up in front of the log burner.

This is Horace a lovely dog who visited from Cornwall with his Mom Liz.

Or on a warm day, you can throw open the garden door to enjoy the garden which is quite literally right outside .

The garden is lovely, regardless of the weather it is a peaceful place with lots of nooks and crannies to explore and places to sit.

We have lots of lovely wildlife visitors too, an array of garden birds, some very big rabbit's and a pair of pesky squirrels that insist on stealing the birds food whenever possible. Most nights a local barn owl puts in an appearance and gently hoots his presence to us all.  Last year 5 swallows hatched under the eaves of the porch of the main cottage. Watching them being taught to fly by their parents was an absolute delight - really hoping they come back this year.

There are plenty of places to walk from Little Bothy.  Burford House Garden Centre and historic gardens, with the newly refurbished clematis collection is just 5 minutes away. Tenbury Wells, with its lovely individual shops, cafe's galleries and pubs 15 minutes in the other direction.  The Rose and Crown, 10 minutes walk is highly recommended for a pint or a meal, you can even take the dog in with you. But if you prefer to stay in and cook some of the fabulous local food yourself Little Bothy's kitchen is well equipped and a delight to use. 

There is plenty of good fishing locally as well as the delights of Ludlow and Leominster which are both just a short drive away.  If you are into vintage or antiques - you have to visit Leominster (its where most of Little Bothy furnishings came from !)

So there we have it... it took a while to build but I am very very pleased with it now that it is finished and up and running. By the comments in the guest book, all of its guests so far have been just as pleased as me.  

Little Bothy has a peaceful air about it, everyone who comes tells me that they feel rested and relaxed so there you have it. If rested and relaxed is what you would like to feel the Little Bothy is waiting to be yours for a few days or a week or even two...... you can view its availability by checking the web site at www.lymecottageindustries.co.uk or calling Penny on 07855 964267

There will be a basket of local goodies as well as tea and coffee makings waiting for you.... and  if you book as a result of reading this blog you get £25 off the cost of your stay - just tell me the name of the gorgeous dog by the fire and the discount is yours........

looking forward to seeing you soon

Penny xx

Wednesday 15 February 2012

And we're off........at blooming last!

Much too-ing and fro-ing dogged the summer of 2011. I thought I had a builder then I didn't have a builder, I thought I had another builder and then he disappeared.
At last I got a quote but I wasn't sure about the builder, I got another quote and sat down and had a good cry.... how much?

By the end of the summer in a fit of abject frustration, convinced that all these problems meant I shouldn't be doing it,  I shelved the plans and put my dreams of building a lovely little holiday cottage in my garden on hold.  The desire to become self sufficient took a giant step out of reach.

So the quaint old Bothy remained sturdy in its lovely courtyard, bathed in beautiful summer sunshine, surrounded by pretty flowers and seeming to defy any proposals of change.   

Then winter arrived and the old Bothy's troubles began. A funny smell led to the discovery of  a big damp patch, the result of grout damage and slipped roof tiles. 
 I called in Lyme Cottage Industries trusty handyman Ade.  
"What...." I asked Ade as he battled to get the grout in before the light went, " is wrong with this window sill. " I prodded the offensive looking wood, all rippled and strange, I prodded a bit harder, my finger went right through the wood and met the edge of a pain of glass. "Ouch"
"That would be rotten" replied Ade peering over my shoulder. It was in fact really really rotten  - before long I could see inside from the outside through the ever growing hole in the window frame.
A temporary batten to keep out the wind, a hot radiator to dry out the wall and the Bothy welcomed family at Christmas as cosy and warm as ever. BUT there was no avoiding it, the sweet little old building was crying out for some tlc and there seemed no point whatsoever spending money on renovations unless they included going back to the original plan to build the new Little Bothy Holiday Cottage.  

So after a head in the sand Christmas I pondered the future and with an inspired post Christmas thought I was off!

Within days I had found his number and called him, Kevin from Broadoaks construction. The clever builder who had done the renovations at Lyme Cottage for its previous owner as well as building the lovely new garden room. 
Kevin immediately impressed me with his positive attitude (a pleasant change from some of the head shaking and sucking in of breath I had experienced the previous year). He liked the plans and was back with a a quote a just few days later. 

This time I didnt cry, just very calmly said "That is too expensive, where can I compromise?"
Compromises made (on both sides) and a price agreed, the next stop was the bank. 

To describe me as financially phobic would be an understatement. For more than 25 years I have relied on my lovely husband Brian to organise all our families financial matters.  I was just the 'sign here dear' person. So to find myself sitting in the bank discussing a mortgage, albeit a relatively small one, was a truly alien experience for me.  I shall be forever grateful for the gentle understanding of Nationwide staff in Ludlow, who having got me through the horrors of post death of husband financial ramifications, now led me gently and un-patronisingly through the complex mortgage process.   So with the finances now in place we are well and truly off the starting blocks!!!!!!

One of the 'cost compromises'  agreed with Kevin was that I would rope in my family to do some of the preparation of the building area.  Sunday saw a busy working party invade Lyme Cottage, with ages ranging from 2 to 62years old. All beavering away in the unexpected but very welcome February sunshine. 

With additional barrows and shovels borrowed from neighbours, the gravel from the courtyard was moved out to the 'much in need of gravel'car park and the wood pile dropped earlier this week was moved into the woodshed. 

The old Bothy was divested of its curtains, shelves and pictures.  New homes must be found for the children's toys that have lived in its big cupboard and its furniture has been recycled round the family (yet again).

Next on the agenda was a visit from James the Gardener to move some precious plants out of the way. Hopefully he has been able to successfully take a cutting from the lovely old orange blossom which sadly has to be sacrificed to the footings and Little Bothy's new patio. 
Finally he moved the old sleepers from the courtyard planter to re-use when he builds the veggie beds beyond the orchard in a few weeks. 

And so .... we are ready for Kevin and his team to arrive - hopefully on time (weather permitting).

Lyme Cottage and its Bothy have undergone many changes over the years. I hope that this change, creating a wonderful little holiday cottage for two in its pretty garden will be a successful one. Providing a lovely space for lots more people to come and share in the charms and the history of this lovely old home. 

Penny x

For more information about this project read previous blogs or visit our website at 

Monday 9 May 2011

First Edition.....to wet the appetite

Little Bothy at Lyme Cottage

The History
Lyme Cottage sits on the main route from Tenbury Wells to Ludlow on the Shropshire side of the River Teme. Despite its proximity to the road, its history and its surrounding fields provide and air of peace and relaxation. 

The cottage, together with those either side of it was commissioned by Lord Northwick of Burford in 1867 to provide a home for a District Nurse in the village. Its joining cottage was the original Police House, including two cells in the garden and to the right, is the Old Forge.  They were among the first houses in the village to be built with ‘indoor’ bathrooms, (not plumbed of course) as well as a solid brick pigsty in the garden. Both remain in situ, the bathroom now being well and truly plumbed in and the sty now housing garden tools rather than a pig. 

Nestling alongside Lyme Cottage is Little Bothy, as far as we are aware, part of the original construction of buildings on the site in 1867.   The intended use of the Little Bothy is unclear, however given that the cottage was built for a District Nurse who may well have been the only one for many miles. The current owner speculates that the Bothy may have been a place to ‘treat’ patients from other villages or travellers on their journeys.  

Restoration and Change

Lyme Cottage and the Little Bothy were both sympathetically restored during the early years of 21st century by their previous owner. Many of the original cottage features remain including the fantastic internal oak doors and tiled floors. A modern two-storey addition to Lyme Cottage successfully increased its living space, adding a pretty little garden room with stunning views through the arbour to the fields beyond. The Little Bothy, which had been rather neglected over the years, was developed into an en-suite guest bedroom. 

During the summer of 2011 Little Bothy will undergo further change, with the addition of a fabulous oak conservatory to transform it into a self-contained holiday cottage for two.

The addition will make space for an open plan kitchen, dining and sitting room. Its partial glass roof and plentiful windows will provide a feeling of ‘living in the garden itself’. Whilst its tubby little wood burning stove will ensure cosy living even on the coolest of days. 

Furnished in a mix of old and new, with luxurious linens and a well-equipped kitchen the Little Bothy will be haven in which the historic peace and tranquillity of Lyme Cottage, its garden and small orchard can be enjoyed.

Location and practicality’s

One the borders of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Little Bothy provides and excellent base for exploring all three counties.

Sitting in the old part of Burford village, Little Bothy is within walking distance of Burford House Gardens, with its organic restaurant, garden centre, interiors shop and historic gardens as well as Burford St Mary Church.

Also within walking distance is Tenbury Wells, just half a mile away with its host of individual shops, local food retailers and a plethora of eating-places.  As well as riverside walks and a very good swimming pool (should you over indulge on the local foods).

For more history, antiques, shopping and eating, Ludlow and Leominster are both within a15minute drive.

National Trust properties, Croft Castle and Berrington Hall are also within easy reach

All three towns offer a range of festivals throughout the year.

Your stay at Little Bothy will include;

Breakfast pack including locally produced foods
Wood supply for wood burning stove
Own small patio and outdoor eating area
Access to Lyme Cottage gardens
Off road parking for two vehicles a few yards along from the Little Bothy

It should be noted that;
Little Bothy is situated on the side of a road and therefore some background road noise should be expected. 

Lyme Cottage continues to be a family home and its gardens occasionally invaded by (usually very well behaved) grandchildren.

When can I come?
Sadly not yet .......It is hoped that Lyme Cottage will be available for occupation from the end of October 2011. ..... watch this space and read about the developments as they unfold and as you do.... just imagine yourself enjoying a lovely away from it all weekend break in The Little Bothy......      

Sunday 20 February 2011

The hard work starts here.....

Planning permission was agreed this week - so here is the plan.

I already have a tiny guest cottage, fondly known as 'The Bothy' in my garden. Just one room, bedroom and bathroom combined, it was home to my university student daughter until last summer when she decamped to a converted hop kiln on a local farm with her boyfriend.

Brian (I shall mention him a lot, my husband until he died (rather suddenly) in September 2010), and I had thought we might develop it somehow into a larger holiday cottage let to develop some extra retirement income.

I am well off retirement but faced now with developing my own income I rashly decided to just get on and do it!

I am  not sure why The Bothy exists, tracing its history will be part of this project. Lyme Cottage was built in 1867, paid for by the philanthropic Lord Northwick of Burford, when he invested heavily in the village in memory of his beloved sister who died very young. Built as home to the District Nurse, it is attached to what was the Police Station and is next door to the Forge. My fancy suggests to me that the Bothy may have been built as an additional space for the District Nurse to treat her patients, perhaps those too sick to stay at home or who lived too far away, perhaps on distant farms? One day, when time permits I shall investigate this further.

The Bothy nestles cosily alongside Lyme Cottage and at the moment is set in a wonderful flower filled courtyard, which sadly I will loose when its extension is built.  But the extensive gardens and orchard are too much for me to manage alone so something has to go! (More on the gardens and orchards in a later blog).

The plans have been drawn, by my daughter in laws architect father Paul, who has designed a really fabulous oak conservatory to add to the existing building. The bathroom will be separated from the bedroom in the exiting Bothy, (I never did feel comfortable pee'ing in the bedroom), and the new conservatory will house a hand built kitchen (designed and built by Pat the carpenter), and a sitting room with a baby pot bellied wood burning stove and a view into the garden to dispel even the worst case of work related stress syndrome (WRSS from herein).

So the hard work starts here .... the first being a gang of muscle to move the huge ancient and quite fabulous orange blossom from the courtyard to the orchard.... I hope it survives!  I think a huge pot of Russian Vegetable soup may be required.