People seeking a safe haven have always headed for the hills, and Lofthouse in Nidderdale is as beautiful a sanctuary as you’ll find anywhere within our district.
It developed from a single grange, built here in the 13th century by the monks of Fountains Abbey. They later mined iron-ore in the surrounding hills, and iron-smelting continued for several hundred years afterwards.
Since then, the local economy has benefitted from reservoir-building, sheep-farming, game-shooting and, for 22 years in the 20th century, even a railway station, but nothing has spoiled the look of the village, and it continues to attract buyers looking for tranquillity and superb views.
It wouldn’t, though, if the Inspector of Housing had had his way in 1937; he recommended that the whole village be demolished, bar the pub!
Unless you’re retired or work from home, though, moving here will probably mean having to travel some distance to work. The village lies seven miles updale from Pateley Bridge, and 10 miles from Masham.
In fact, it’s so far up the dale that Grassington, in Wharfedale, and Aysgarth, in Wensleydale, are just as close as Masham as the crow flies – if not by road. The nearest large town, Harrogate, is 21 miles distant.
It is this relative isolation that has helped to maintain Lofthouse’s close-knit feel, and the Crown Hotel is where the community comes together. The village still has a small primary school too, Fountains Earth Lofthouse, which was rated Good following its last Ofsted inspection in 2017.
Nearby are the spectacular How Stean Gorge and the award-winning Studfold - The Nidderdale Experience, which attracts families looking to get away from it all in stunning surroundings.
Right in the heart of the village, Little Fountain Cottage stands on a bend in the road, right by the war memorial fountain. Restored and modernised in recent years, it has four bedrooms plus a study or fifth bedroom up on the second floor, bathroom, kitchen and three reception rooms.
Outside, there is a small front garden and, to the rear, a raised decked terrace with superb views across the dale. Steps lead to a terrace below, with lawned garden sloping down to the River Nidd, which up here is still little more than a beck.
A (literal) stone’s throw up the road, Honeysuckle Cottage has been used as a holiday let but could easily be brought back onto residential use for an owner wanting to move to the village. The house has three bedrooms, a bathroom, dining kitchen and sitting room, and outside there is a garden with storage shed and parking to the rear. It also has access to fast broadband.
Finally, just a little further up the hill, The Cottage sits at the top of the village, set back from the road. Formed from two semi-detached cottages, it has been updated and renovated and now has replacement hardwood double-glazed windows, exposed stone walls, stone-flagged flooring and even underfloor heating.
There are four double bedrooms, a bathroom, open-plan kitchen and dining area, utility room, downstairs shower-room and sitting room.
Outside, there is off-street parking, gardens and stunning views across the dale.