Access Statement and Description


Introduction


The Cottage at Hill Top is the converted barn-end of Hill Top, a former farmhouse (or “long house”) dating from 1680, and standing in two acres of grounds. Guest accommodation comprises both the integral former barn-end of the house (around 1,100sf) and an external Pavilion Games Room (600sf), together with a courtyard garden, large paddock and access to beautiful private woodland. The Cottage offers unparalleled panoramic views across the Rusland Valley - from the Coniston Fells in the north-west to where the River Leven enters Morecambe Bay in the south-west. Hill Top was the last home (between 1960 and 1967) of Arthur Ransome, most famous as the author of the “Swallows & Amazons” series of books. His wife Evgenia was once the private secretary of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.


The recent renovations were carried out to our exacting standards exclusively by local architects, landscape garden designers and craftsmen who specialise in old buildings. All hardwood window frames and internal oak doors and cupboards are bespoke and were constructed by just two joiners. Most flooring is of oak or limestone and local Burlington slate is used extensively both for roofing and in the Courtyard Garden. Kitchen and utility room work surfaces are of matt black granite, and major kitchen appliances are by Neff. Both bedrooms contain specially commissoned chairs by local designer craftsman Charlie Whinney. High quality furniture, bedding, towels and soft furnishings are used throughout and all curtains have blackout linings. Two Velux windows in the upper bedroom have wireless controlled blinds. The Cottage contains many original paintings, including a watercolour of Derwent Water by Norman Ackroyd RA and there is an extensive collection of books and dvds. The entire grounds of Hill Top are surrounded by well-maintained dry-stone walling.


Pre-Arrival


Bookings can be made directly with us on 01539 531452 or by emailing stephen@hilltopvista.com.


The Cottage at Hill Top is in a rural location, but is relatively close to many amenities.


The nearest bus top is in Backbarrow, around a mile and a half away.


The nearest railway station is in Ulverston, around seven and a half miles away.


Arrival and Car-Parking Facilities


There is dedicated private parking for two cars on the driveway directly outside The Cottage. (Further extensive parking is also available on the opposite side of the house.) This and other external access areas are illuminated automatically via sensors when dark. Other low level lighting is controlled via timers and light sensors.


Luggage can be unloaded here and then taken via a broad paved area to the main entrance at the rear of the Cottage.


Due to the nature of the site, there are various steps both up and down to this entrance. There is no handrail.


Regrettably, both the site and Cottage are unsuitable for wheelchair access.


Guests are kindly asked not to wear shoes in The Cottage and complimentary guest slippers are provided for their comfort.


Entrance Lobby


The floor here is of limestone and there are three wide steps down to the lounge and utility room. There is no handrail.


Integral Lounge/Dining Room/Kitchen


Through its French doors this room offers spectacular views across the Rusland Valley. With its oak floor throughout, there is a leather sofa and two matching easy chairs, and an oak dining table for four people. There are various small side-tables. On the wall is an HD LED flat-screen TV with Freeview together with a Blu-Ray player. In addition there is a hi-fi system including digital radio and CD player.


Guests are requested to exclusively use the rear entrance lobby for accessing the property and not to use the French doors for such.


The kitchen has a matt black granite work surface, and there is a large Neff fridge/freezer, electric under-mounted oven, electronic ceramic hob and dishwasher, as well as a microwave oven.


Utility Room


This is situated off the main entrance lobby and contains both a toilet and hand basin (on a matt black granite work top), under which is a large capacity Samsung Ecobubble washer/dryer.


The floor here is of limestone.


Outside, under a covered area, there is a retractable washing line.


Bedrooms


There are two double bedrooms, both with en-suite bathrooms. Each bathroom has a corner bath and separate shower with electronic controls. The bathroom floors comprise relatively non-slip porcelain tiles. Each bathroom has both a radiator and a heated towel rail. The lower bedroom has an HD LED flat-screen TV with Freeview.


Please note that there are no handrails in the bathrooms.


The bedrooms have oak floors and, as everywhere else in the cottage, all woodwork is in oak.


A cot is provided for which there is plenty of space in the ground-floor bedroom.


Thirteen steps lead to the upper bedroom.


Pavilion Games Room


This large independent, purpose-built Pavilion offers guests various modern games facilities including a three-quarter size oak snooker table (there is also a set of pool balls), table tennis, darts and an exercise bike. The Pavilion has its own “kitchenette” and toilet (both with porcelain tiled floors). The games floor is of high-quality oak-effect laminate. It has its own independent heating, and outside there is a large verandah which overlooks the courtyard garden. There are four easy chairs in the Pavilion which may also be taken out onto the verandah. There are numerous steps to negotiation between the Cottage itself and the Pavilion, and likewise to the garden.


Guests are requested to wear only soft shoes with no black soles in the Pavilion.


For comfort and safety, guests are requested to ensure that children are supervised at all times. The facilities provided are unsuitable for smaller children and should only be used by adults and older children as parents may deem appropriate.


Garden


Guests have access to their own formal Courtyard Garden directly adjacent to the property and leading from the Pavilion. In addition to a large garden table and four chairs, there is also a purpose-built charcoal-fired barbecue. Under the nearby covered area, there is a further small garden table and two chairs.


Beyond the Courtyard Garden, which offers spectacular floral displays from spring through to the end of the autumn, there is a large former paddock which is now effectively an extensive well-tended lawn, and which can be used for games, picnics or just enjoying the magnificent views. These grounds extend over various levels, and although generally surrounded on three sides by dry-stone walls, the entire site is not gated. Parts of the paddock and general site are steep with some rocky outcrops, typical of Lake District terrain.


Woodland


At the opposite end of Hill Top’s grounds is a small woodland which is currently accessible from our own private car park. However, guests are welcome to venture into this though we would kindly ask that they discuss this with us before doing so. Parents must be aware that the woodland is on a steep hillside with a stream running through and children must not be allowed access unsupervised.


General


A WiFi broadband connection is provided for the use of our guests.



Terms & Conditions


1.  Definitions


In these terms and conditions:


The ‘Holiday Let’ means the agreement made on the date shown on the Booking Confirmation between the Owners and You under which the Owners grant to You and Your Party licence to occupy the Holiday Property for the Holiday Period for the purpose of a holiday subject to the Terms and Conditions.

The ‘Booking’ means the agreement for the Holiday Let.

The ‘Booking Confirmation’ means the confirmation sent to You by letter fax e-mail or any other electronic form confirming the agreement for the Holiday Let for the Holiday Period.

The ‘Commencement Date’ means the date shown on the Booking Confirmation as the commencement date of the Holiday Period.

The ‘Departure Date’ means the Departure Date referred to in the Booking Confirmation as the date on which You are required to vacate the Holiday Property.

The ‘Deposit’ means the deposit referred to in the Booking Confirmation.

The ‘Good Housekeeping Deposit’ means the amount stated at the time of booking in respect of the Holiday Property.

The ‘Holiday Cost’ means the Holiday Cost stated in the Booking Confirmation and includes the Good Housekeeping Deposit.

The ‘Holiday Property’ means “The Cottage at Hill Top, Ealinghearth, Haverthwaite, Cumbria LA12 8JR”.

The ‘Holiday Period’ means the period from 4:00 pm on the Commencement Date to 10:00 am on the Departure Date.

The ‘Owners’ means “Stephen & Janine Sykes” the owners of the Holiday Property.

‘These Terms and Conditions’ means the terms and conditions (including the definitions) set out in this document.

‘You’ means the person or persons referred to on the Booking Confirmation as the customer.

‘Your Party’ means the other person or persons staying with You at the Holiday Property.


2.  Nature of the Agreement


This Holiday Let is granted by the Owners to You for the purpose of a holiday and is not intended to create the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties. You shall not be entitled to a tenancy, or to any form of statutory security of tenure either now or when the Holiday Period ends.


3.  Licence to Occupy


The Owners permit You to occupy the Holiday Property for the Holiday Period for the Holiday Cost and to the use of the furnishings, kitchen equipment, crockery, glasses, bedding and towels provided in the Holiday Property. The maximum number of persons permitted to occupy the Holiday Property is four adults/children plus one baby unless otherwise agreed in advance.


4.  Payment


You must pay 25% of the Holiday Cost and any extras for each week or part week booked, when placing the booking with the Owners. The balance of the Holiday Cost and any extras is due eight weeks before the Commencement Date. Where a Booking is made less than eight weeks before the Commencement Date the Holiday Cost and any extras is payable in full when making the Booking.


5.  The Holiday Period


The Holiday Period will commence at 4:00 pm on the Commencement Date and You must have vacated the Holiday Property with Your Party and effects by 10:00 am on the departure date.


6.   The Good Housekeeping Deposit


A “Good Housekeeping Deposit” of £100 will be held by the Owners to be applied against the reasonable costs of miscellaneous repairs and/or replacement and additional cleaning of furnishings, kitchen equipment, crockery, glass, bedding and towels damaged or soiled otherwise than by usual wear and tear during the Holiday Period by You or other members of Your Party. The balance of the Good Housekeeping Deposit will be returned to You within 14 days of the Departure Date. Where such costs exceed the Good Housekeeping Deposit You will pay such excess to the Owners within 14 days of being notified of the excess. This Deposit will be waived in the case of return bookings.


7.  Keys


The Owners will issue to You one set of keys to the Holiday Property at the Commencement Date. By arrangement keys can either be available from a key safe at the Holiday Property or directly from the Owners. You must return the keys to the key safe or Owners on the Departure Date. If You lose a key, the Owners will replace it upon your paying the reasonable costs of having the replacement cut or alternatively the cost of replacing the key will be deducted from the Good Housekeeping Deposit. Note that all keys are security keys which cannot be copied without authorisation.


8.   Outgoings


Electricity and oil are included where applicable in the Holiday Cost. The Owners reserve the right to charge You for any excessive use of electricity and oil where applicable.

Fuel for the barbecue is not provided but is usually available for purchase from the Owners.


9.  Linen/Equipment


Good quality clean bed linen will be provided at the commencement of the Holiday Period.

A good range of towels and tea towels are provided at the commencement of the Holiday Period.

The Owners will  provide washing up liquid, dishwasher and washing machine powders.

A high chair and travel cot with mattresses is available. However, all baby bedding and linen must be provided by You.


10.  Use


The Holiday Property must not be used except for the purposes of a holiday by You and Your Party during the Holiday Period and not for any other purpose or longer period.


11. Your Obligations


You and Your Party must:


allow the Owners access to the Holiday Property at all reasonable times and in the case of emergency at all times with or without You or Your Party being present to enable maintenance work to be carried out and to enable the Owners to comply with all relevant statutory requirements and the requirements of all regulatory bodies to which the Owners belong relating to the Holiday Property

not allow any other persons to occupy the Holiday Property or stay overnight

not allow any other persons to use the facilities of the Holiday Property without the express permission of the Owner

not use the Pavilion Games Room for anything other than its intended purpose

keep the Property and all furniture, utensils, equipment, fixtures and fittings in or on the Property in the same state of repair and condition as at the commencement of the Holiday Period and to ensure that at the end of that period the Property is left in the same state of order and cleanliness in which it was found

be responsible for repairing any damage pursuant to these Terms & Conditions

not do anything that may reasonably be considered to cause a nuisance or annoyance to the Owners or to any other occupier of adjoining or neighbouring premises

not smoke in any part of the Holiday Property. At the departure date no sign of smoking shall be evident at the Holiday Property

not to use candles or any other form of naked flame in any part of the Holiday Property

not do or permit any act that would make any insurance policy on the Holiday Property void or voidable or increase the premium

abide by any Guidelines which the Owners display at the Holiday property both for the use of the facilities and Your safety

notify all members of your Party before the Holiday Period starts of your and their obligations under this paragraph


12. Owners' Obligations


The Owners will, subject to these Terms & Conditions and except in an emergency, allow You and the Your Party enjoyment and use of the Holiday Property for the Holiday Period free of interruption.


13. Safety Regulations


The Owners confirm that:


the furniture and furnishings comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 as amended

the electrical appliances and equipment provided by the Owners are safe and will not cause danger and that all electrical appliances and equipment manufactured after 19 January 1997 are marked with the appropriate CE symbol.


14. Early Termination


This Holiday Let may be determined before the end of the Holiday Period by the Owners giving You notice only in the event of You or a member of Your Party being in material breach of the terms of these Terms and Conditions or by reason of fire or some other catastrophic event of the type covered in a comprehensive insurance policy. In the case of determination otherwise than by reason of your default or the default of a member of Your Party the Owners shall return to You the appropriate proportion of the Holiday Cost attributable to the unexpired remainder of the Holiday Period and the balance due of the Good Housekeeping Deposit.


15. Cancellation


The Owners reserve the right to cancel the Holiday Let where operational circumstances cause the Holiday Property to become unavailable during the Holiday Period including withdrawal of the property as a Holiday Property. In such circumstances the Owners will refund to You all monies paid.


16. Cancellation by You


If You cancel the Holiday Let, You are still liable to pay the balance of the Holiday Cost. You should consider insuring your holiday against such an eventuality.

The Owners will seek to re-let the Holiday Property at the best possible price for the Holiday Period. If the Holiday Property re-lets for the Holiday Period, monies received by the Owners will be used to refund You for the Holiday Cost paid less any extras already paid and a handling charge of £50.00. Any shortfall in the price of the new letting will be borne by You. This refund will be made within two weeks of the Holiday Period.


17. Lost Property


The Owners will retain any items left at the Holiday Property for a period of 28 days from the Departure Date. Items will be returned to You if requested, at a cost to cover postage and packing. The Owners do not accept responsibility for the safe carriage of any items returned. Items of food and drink will not be returned.


18.  Pets


For the comfort of all guests no pets are permitted at the Holiday Property.


19. Compensation


The Owners cannot accept responsibility or pay any compensation where the Holiday Let is frustrated in circumstances amounting to force majeure, including events such as the destruction and damage of the Holiday Property through fire, flood, explosion, storm or weather damage or adverse weather conditions, neighbouring building works, burglary, criminal damage, riot or civil strife, industrial action, natural or nuclear disaster, war or threat of war, actual or threatened terrorist activity, non-availability of public transport, destruction/interruption of utility services, epidemic, temporary invasion by pests and/or similar situations beyond the control of the Owners, either before the Commencement Date or during the Holiday Period.


20.   Vehicles


Vehicles are parked and left at the Holiday Property entirely at your own risk.


21.   Amenities


Use of any amenities provided are offered entirely at your own risk and no responsibility can be accepted for injury, loss or damage to You or members of Your Party.


22.   Refuse Collection


You are required to put refuse/recycling in the appropriate place to await collection in accordance with the instructions left at the Holiday Property.


Pets


We regret we cannot accommodate dogs at Hill Top. However, we are pleased to recommend Lindeth Kennels which offers facilities very close by in Bouth for guests who wish to share their holiday enjoyment with their pets.

Lake District Green

Our Environmental Policy


The Lake District is a very special place. At Hill Top we are committed to sustainability, energy efficiency, recycling and all matters which may affect both the local environment and Lake District as a whole.


We believe that our aims, whilst comprising an integral part of the holiday experience, should be entirely unobtrusive to our guests.


Hill Top dates from 1680 and is a fine example of a “long house” - part farmhouse and part barn. It is an important building in the area both in view of its age, commanding position over the wonderful Rusland Valley and, in more recent times, its well-known former owners. We are determined to ensure the future of Hill Top, in all its aspects, in a manner which is entirely sympathetic to its environment.


Here, in brief, are some of the things which we consider are important:


Energy Efficiency


• Renovations for both The Cottage and Hill Top in its entirety have been designed to create highly insulated and energy-efficient buildings.

• The original construction of Hill Top itself comprises very thick stone walls of a very efficient inner and outer facing with an insulating “rubble” fill.

• Modern high efficiency argon-filled double glazing throughout in hardwood frames.

• Low energy and LED lighting throughout.

• External lighting largely controlled by sensors and timers to minimise light pollution and energy wastage.

• Modern high-efficiency oil-fired boilers and hot water tanks.

• Modern central heating with both zone and individual radiator thermostats.

• Modern energy efficient appliances.

• Outdoor under-cover area for natural drying of washing.

• Excess heat from using the washer/dryer provided in the utility room offsets the heating requirements of the building.

• Large modern bunded (double-wall) oil storage tank to minimise deliveries.

• The two boiler rooms are integral to the main house and external pavilion, thus efficiently warming those buildings with any excess heat.

• Oil consumption is monitored continually both electronically and manually to ensure the most energy efficient running of the buildings whilst ensuring the comfort of guests.


Waste, Recycling and Storage


• We have our own biodigester sewage treatment plant resulting in no impact on the environment.

• We provide washing products which both minimise the impact on this treatment and also help any guests with allergy problems.

• Separate bins are provided for general waste and glass/cans, paper, cardboard and plastics for recycling.

• Paints and other chemicals are stored in a locked, temperature-controlled environment.

• The oil tank is situated well away from direct access to the road and is filled via a purpose installed pipeline via a triple locked connection point with electronic over-fill sensor. The oil tank is also locked.


Use of Local Resources and Sustainability


• All design, building works and landscaping have been carried out entirely by the best local professionals and trades people.

• All window frames, external and internal doors etc have been hand-made by local carpenters.

• All windows and doors are made from sustainable hardwoods.

• Very extensive use has been made of local Burlington slate both for roofing and within the garden design. Thus, all new and renovation building works entirely compliment Hill Top as an historic building and its prominent location.

• Hill Top’s grounds are largely enclosed by well-maintained typical Lakeland dry stone walls.


Local Community, History and Affinities


• The Rusland Valley is a very special place and we provide guests with details of local walks directly from Hill Top.

• We have developed a number of relationships with local businesses for which we have negotiated discounts for guests.

• Whilst our business is self-catering and we do not provide food as such, we do give guests certain “staples” on arrival and try to ensure, where possible, that these are as local as can be appropriately acquired.

• We are keen collectors of original art and we have a growing collection of paintings and ceramics by well-known local artists, including members of the prestigious Lake Artists Society.

• We feel that Hill Top is important to both the local area and the Lake District as a whole both because it is a fine example of a long house dating from 1680 and because of its connection with one of the twentieth centuary's best loved children's writers. It is therefore equally important to maintain Hill Top in first-class condition and offer visitors the opportunity of experiencing the house as guests.

• Between 1960 and 1967 Hill Top was the last home of Arthur Ransome, best known as the author of his “Swallows and Amazons” series of books for children. His wife Evgenia was once the private secretary of Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Both are buried in nearby Rusland. We have a large collection of photographs, books and memorabilia connected with the Ransomes.

• We are always happy to show people around Hill Top and talk about the Ransomes' connection which we have researched extensively. We also give talks about Hill Top and the Ransomes to interested groups.

• We have available three short video presentations relating to Hill Top and the Ransomes which guests can watch on their television.


Grounds


• With its two acres of well-maintained grounds comprising lawns, paddocks, gardens, pond and woodland, largely enclosed by beautiful dry stone walls, Hill Top is a haven for wildlife. Deer from the Rusland Valley can frequently be found both in the grounds and nearby woodlands, and mallard fly up from the Rusland Valley to use our pond during the spring and summer. The extensive flower beds attract enormous numbers of bees and butterflies in summer. Our woodland is carpeted with bluebells and other wild flowers in the spring.

• Our paddock directly across the road from Hill Top is used by a local breeder of Rough Fell and other sheep for keeping 'tups',  the male sheep which are used for breeding. These sheep are only with the rest of the flock for the months of November and December. Visitors are welcome to feed the sheep with the special diet provided.