If I said to you I know of an idyllic little farmhouse in the countryside surrounded by nothing but unspoilt countryside and nature, that would be great for a weekend break, what would you say?
Now what would you say if I told you this place had ZERO mobile reception?
Would you still be interested?
In this day and age, we could all do with a bit of time to switch off. When our lovely neighbours Paul & Simon told us that their close friends had a holiday cottage in the Forest of Bowland, I couldn’t have been more thrilled as this was an area of England we had fallen in love with, the place we had chosen to get married. As summer was coming up and our wedding anniversary was approaching, I thought it would make a perfect mini getaway destination for Mo and I.
So… yes, I used to work in travel, and I blog about travel… but I’m not the best at geography. I thought the Forest of Bowland was a smallish area. Our home town of Blackburn is relatively close to the Lancashire side, but little did I realise that Bowland stretched from East Lanshire, all the way to Cumbria and across to Yorkshire. It is big.
Our drive to the house took about 2 hours from Manchester, as we navigated small country roads, got stuck behind a slow moving tractor or two and obviously got lost when the GPS decided to take us elsewhere, standard procedure whenever we head out into the wilderness. Even though we got lost we didn’t have time to worry, as it only took a quick phone call to the owner Kim, she was able to easily navigate us to exactly where we needed to be.
Thankfully, we were only a couple of farms away and after narrowly missing a sheep or 20 (most of whom didn’t want to move out of the road), we finally found Lower Turnerford Farmhouse.
The rain had started to come down pretty hard, so we made a dash into what would be our little haven of tranquillity for the next 24 hours. Immediately upon walking into the dining the room, we were greeted with a cake dish full of freshly baked cup cakes, giant scones, a loaf of bread and some butter and jam. But before we tucked in… first things first. We needed to explore our dwellings. Kitchen – not too big, not too small. Bedrooms – spacious, comfortable, cosy and all with their own lovely little country theme. Bathroom – good size, bathtub, shower, SPOTLESS. Actually, looking around the whole house was spotless. Completely spick and span.
Yes, this is going to be just perfect.
After our inspection, we rushed back down and crashed on the sofa. Our instinctive behaviour made us check our phone… but oh yes – how could we forget, there was no signal. Not even a dot. Hmm. Ok, so we knew of this before we arrived but the reality hadn’t really sunk in.
A-haa no signal is ok, because actually we only need WIFI to get WhatsApp going! We open the guest book, look through the papers… uh huh… so this was interesting. No signal we had prepared for, but no WIFI?!? Say whaaaaaaat???
I glanced over to the pile of kit we had brought along, laptops, paperwork, notepads etc. all ready to crack on with some work ater that day… none of which could be done without the internet though!! Ok, this was starting to make me nervous.
Before I could over-think the situation, Kim and Rob knocked on the door to welcome us with beaming smiles. They gave us tips on where to go nearby, the destinations to visit such as Ingleton falls and other parts of the Yorkshire Dales that were just a stones throw away. That’s one of the great things about this farmhouse, you really can get anywhere! If you’re thinking of where to stay when you visit the Lake District, there’s no point in finding a place amongst all the crowds, this makes a much better resting point. But most interesting of all, they told us the history of the very building we were in.
Lower Turnerford Farmhouse has been in their family for generations. Kim and Rob have renovated the whole thing themselves. A passion project, so they could share their piece of the countryside with the world. They put time, effort, expense into updating each room and all the while they managed to keep its charm and retain a lot of original features. Even though we had taken a look around, I felt the need to do it again, with fresh eyes… everything seemed different, we were now looking at it knowing that they had done this. No fancy interior company, all the tiny little touches were all them. Exposing one of the only full, original stone staircases in the UK, making sure there were bath toys in the tub in case there were kids coming to stay, pictures they’ve taken from around the local area hung on the walls, it made every part of the house that little bit more cosy. Ooh actually that’s a tip to note – do make sure you look at the photos on the wall to inspire you on where to venture to when you go outside, even within the farm grounds there are so many beautiful things to see!
They soon left us to enjoy our evening and we finally accepted the idea that we were about to spend a detached-from-the-real-world weekend away.
Fish and chips from the local village, ice cream in the freezer, log fire on, blankets on the sofa and Mo and I finally had the night in we have needed for some time.
After work, Mo and I have really been trying to relax a lot more. Over the last few years I’ve been having bouts of illness, where it completely knocks me off my feet, for weeks sometimes and it’s all been stress related. So for 2019, we’ve both been very conscious at making time for ourselves. But even when we do that at home, our computers may be away, but our phones are always there. A message comes in, you read it. I put something on twitter earlier in the day, has anyone responded? Wonder what everyone else is doing this evening, let’s have a quick flick through insta-stories.
Not this time. This time, we didn’t have any other option but to truly sit and enjoy each others company. The only distraction this evening, was making sure the fire was well tended to, a task Mo very much enjoyed, and watching old 80’s and 90’s movies – like Father of the Bride and Steel Magnolias (I fell in LOVE with this movie!!).
It was probably one of the most perfect evenings of 2019.
After a good night’s rest, I woke up the next morning to the sound of…
It was absolutely dead silent.
I could see the soft morning light peeping through the blind that perfectly lay within the stone window arch, so I knew it was morning. On a normal day, my first call of action would be to look at my phone, see what’s going on in the world, what messages I had, what time it was…. but that was not the case today. Today we were working to natures schedule.
As I walked down to put on the kettle, gazing out the window, sheep were grazing, cat was sauntering around the garden, my heart was bursting with joy.
Even though we knew there was so much to see and do around the area, we didn’t want to leave. Mo and I had become quite accustomed to our little country haven, with Mo even begging me to let us stay another night, another week. He had fully embraced the quite solace of Lower Turnerford Cottage and if it hadn’t been for work, I would have happily agreed. I too, was feeling quite emotional about leaving.
We’re living in a time where things are a bit in turmoil. As a Muslim, sometimes I feel like the world is against us, and I know I’m not the only one who feels concerned, everyone is fighting a battle of some sort whether it be personal, worldly, financial, life throws us all sorts of curve balls. I’m going to be really, REALLY honest with you here now and there are times when I and my family have travelled to places in the middle of nowhere and felt like we were being stared at, or when you meet people, even if its for a second, you sometimes catch that glimpse of them looking at you in a way that they’re not quite sure about you. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s human nature to be curious! But in this day and age when tensions are high, it can unnecessarily make you worry. And I say unnecessarily because of course it works both ways – we too, can possibly be giving off the same vibe to others. I expected to feel that when we turned up at a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, but no such thing.
When we walked into Lower Turnerford Farmhouse and met Kim and her husband, they did so much more than offer us a B&B for the night. They warmed my heart as they welcomed us in a way that felt so genuine it was as if we had stumbled upon long lost family. It’s weird, but even just writing about them fills me with emotion, because the only word I can think of that perfectly describes them both is kindness. They truly epitomise that word. It’s evident in the love and care they’ve put into this holiday property and it’s evident through them, as they can be as visible or invisible as you want them to be during your stay.
Mo and I drove off later that day, back to the real world and no sooner had we driven over the hill did we find ourselves bombarded once again by messages and texts and missed calls from family and friends searching for our non-online presence. Reality was calling, and yes we fell back into it, but we yearn every day for the peace and plan to go back to our sanctuary soon.
There’s often a time where every blogger debates on whether to share their hidden gem with the world or to keep it secret, just for them. No-one wants to visit an overpopulated destination. But there’s no worry with this one, because I know with Kim and her team at the helm, this cottage will always keep its identity and with so much open space surrounding it… it’ll always remain the countryside gem that it is.
Life has a really funny way of over-complicating and making everything a challenge sometimes. So when the opportunity presents itself for you to go out, stay somewhere that becomes a second home and allows you to step outside and breathe in the fresh beautiful countryside that we take for granted. Embrace it. It’s a moment you’ll cherish.
So what are you waiting for?
Book, arrive and sign yourself off.
*** Thank you to Kim and Rob for their hospitality and for inviting us to stay at their beautiful cottage. Since staying here, we have recommended Lower Turnerford Farmhouse to a number of friends, some of which have already booked and visited and have too fallen in love, just as we did. Looking forward to returning very soon ***
Book your break here – https://www.lowerturnerfordfarmhouse.co.uk/
To find out more or to just be inspired by the outdoors – visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lowerturnerfordfarmhouse/
FYI – there is also a train station nearby if you don’t want to drive. There are local villages in the vicinity if you need to stock up on supplies or pick up some grub. You’re far enough away to detach – but not too far to not be able to get the essentials you may need 🙂