Villages east of Leeds remain ever popular with city commuters

The received wisdom regarding urban zoning is that the eastern sides of Britain’s big cities tend to be less desirable than the western halves because the prevailing winds carried the smoke from industry eastwards, so the more salubrious quarters were to be found upwind, in the west.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 6:23 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 6:25 pm
Sydenham House, Field Lane, Aberford - £1.5m with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01937 586177.

But any truth in that – and there may well be some – appears to break down to the east of Leeds, where many of the villages are truly lovely. In fact, if the Leeds of the Industrial Revolution polluted areas to its east so badly, why would the great and the good have built such fabulous residences at places such as Bramham and Aberford?

Incidentally, 1,400 years ago this area was part of the British kingdom of Elmet, which remained Celtic long after the surrounding areas had become dominated by the Anglo-Saxons. Reminders can be seen in some of the place-names, such as Barwick-in-Elmet (where there are the remains of an iron-age hill fort), Sherburn-in-Elmet, Scholes-in-Elmet and Aberford (aber is a Celtic word for river).

Today, many of the villages east of Leeds are just as desirable as they always have been, especially with people who work in Leeds or value proximity to the A1(M), but who also appreciate green views. The following three properties are among the finest in the area.

The Granary, Headwell Lane, Saxton - £725,000 with Renton & Parr, 01937 582731.

Sydenham House in Aberford dates from the early 19th century and has strong links to the Gascoigne family of Parlington Hall, just a mile away. It has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a magnificent entrance hall, kitchen, utility room, three reception rooms, and an integral garage.

The fun happens on the lower ground floor, where there is a wine cellar, games room, snooker room, playroom, store room, garden store and workshop. Outside, there’s a large terrace, and underneath is a fabulous orangery (see main image), with stores. This is all set in three-quarters of an acre, and there are nearly three acres of amenity land available separately, in the form of a nature reserve with lake.

Bracken Point at Scarcroft is a far younger property. It has five bedrooms (one currently used as a cinema room), four bathrooms, hall, dining kitchen, large, open-plan living area.

Built onto the side of the property, there is a fantastic leisure facility with gym, steam room, indoor swimming pool and integral triple garage, above which there is a separate annexe with two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and sitting room. Outside there are about half an acre of gardens with illuminated paved patio area.

Bracken Point, 1 Bracken Park, Scarcroft - £1.75m with Knight Frank, 01423 530088.

Finally, just east of Aberford, The Granary is a stone-built conversion in the beautiful village of Saxton. It has up to five bedrooms – two of them on the ground floor – plus hall, kitchen, utility room, study and two reception rooms.

Besides the main house there is a sizeable outbuilding with gym, snooker room and office above, cobbled courtyard and gardens. There is a further area of garden to the rear, together with a drying area off the side of the kitchen with access to a range of outbuildings including log store, cold store and garden store.