Updated: May 5, 2019
Hello, meet us! We are a couple that can never seem to not have a new adventure on the go, giving birth to our baby daughter and having an offer accepted on a cottage the next week didn’t seem to phase us too much! ‘Are we mad?’ Rob kept asking me. ‘Yes!’ was always the reply. But we’ve always had a dream to run our own holiday let and this cottage on the market was pretty close to perfect and in budget.
Having worked in the Bahamas and Greece running yachts, Rob and I have always enjoyed working together and loved looking after guests. For us, the opportunity to buy a small cottage on the edge of Dartmoor is a huge achievement. We are finally able to run our own little business. It’s not very big- is old and it needs work, a challenge when you have a new-born but an extra troop on the ground wasn’t going to stop us and Grandma has been briefed and primed for babysitting and ceiling painting duties.
Whilst being avid sailors, we also adore hiking the high moors and tors and have a love for old buildings. So the cottage we were going to run as a holiday let needed to tick 4 big boxes.
1) It had to be in Dartmoor National Park.
2) It had to be old, have some history and some character.
3) It needed to have outdoor space and
4) It had to be ready to go and manageable (this box was the sensible side of us as we had a baby on the way)
Well… The Old Railway Cottage blew boxes 1, 2 and 3 out the water- perfect! Not only within the national park but touching distance from open access moorland. The location couldn’t be bettered for a holiday in Devon. Just on the outskirts of Lydford with its castle, lovely pubs and the National Trust Lydford Gorge, exploring the moors is easy weather walking from the front door or going for a drive to tour the different arears on the moor. What’s more, is the accessibility! The cottage is rural, up its own private lane which it share with three other cottages, however the roads are wide so for those who do not like miles of narrow lanes where you might meet a tractor coming the other way (fun the first time) it’s easy to come and go. North Devon and the North Cornwall coast is a day trip from the cottage, as are a host of other attractions and days out on the south coast of Devon and Cornwall- can you tell I am passionate about the West Country? There are so many things to see and do, this might need a blog post of its own!
The Old Railway Cottage is just that, one of four old rail workers cottages for the Southern Railway that ran from London to Plymouth. Now dismantled, part of the line is a fantastic cycle track from Lydford to Oakhampton but at the cottage the line has been left to wildlife and sits quietly outside the front window. There’s a lot of interesting history on the old railways so more to come on that.
There’s a garden and like many old properties in Devon it’s detached from the cottage but only a couple of yards away. The garden like the cottage has lovely views of the open access moorland! I can’t wait to do some star gazing!
Other boxes that were further down the list that were also ticked big time - it not only has views of the open moor, but out the front bedroom window it has views of War Tor! Lots of Car Parking, wonderfully peaceful, and I can fit a king size double bed in the master bedroom. (Something of a rarity in old small cottages.)
That that brings me onto box number 4. No- it did not tick this box, in fact it went quite the opposite way. Horrible old carpets with no underlay, it needs a new kitchen, new bathroom, new wall paper, a new stove, and above all some major TLC. So here we are, right at the start of not only a project to get a little business up and running, but also to renovate a cottage. We were never ones to turn down a challenge, this is an opportunity far too good to miss.
Is it acceptable to teach a baby to use a paint brush before they can crawl?
So the plan- a lovely cosy cottage decorated with a nod to the old railway. Fully equipped self-catering accommodation but at a hotel standard with customer service to match, and all ready for some of the 2019 summer season!
Keep following our blog for updates!
Does anybody feel daunted? Cuppa tea time!
Keep enjoying the outdoors.