Off-grid and far-flung, yet staunchly eco-friendly, this romantic bolthole is perfect for fans of brilliant views, bicycle rides, good hikes or large skies
A wonderfully remote, dog-friendly perch inside the Northumberland National Park
Northumberland is England’s emptiest county, but no part is emptier than its namesake national park, whose few isolated settlements are outnumbered by wild goats. That’s where you’ll find The Hemmel, part of an ancient estate along the moorland-studded Upper Coquet Valley. Forget relentless traffic or supermarket queues; red squirrels and shooting stars are more common here. The nearest village is four miles away; the nearest city occupies another world altogether.
The Hemmel is one of seven stone cottages whose hillside elevation 1,400 feet above sea level instils a top-of-the-world feel. Soothing to return to after energetic days out, its open-plan main space is furnished with creams and rustic woods. Two tempting armchairs vie with the brown-leather sofa for your comfort, while a log-burning stove, flat-screen Freeview TV and underfloor heating provide added luxury. In the kitchen, black granite surfaces surround many mod cons, although there’s no dishwasher, though: the estate is off-grid, and its limited power supply can only support washing machines.
Off to one side is the excessively-romantic master bedroom, where a big picture window frames gulp-inducing views of the rugged Cheviot Hills, not to mention each morning’s sunrise. Watch that from the comfort of a four-poster, super-king-sized bed, then utilise luxury toiletries in the bathroom’s walk-in shower. Heated towels will help you snugly dry off beside marble his-and-hers sinks. With that taken care of, how about a morning coffee out on your enclosed garden deck? Equipped with more fine vistas, this is also perfect for meals à deux – a barbecue is available in spring and summer – or reading sessions.
Numerous walking and cycling routes are available locally, with many passing right by the door. The nearest village, Harbottle, has a pub and takeaway-serving shop, while it’s a dozen miles to Thropton and its highly-regarded Three Wheat Heads fine-dining restaurant. The larger riverside town of Rothbury, only a little further on, has independent shops to rummage.
Many guests stay put, however: writing, drawing, daydreaming, watching those red squirrels raid feeders near the pond or identifying passing kestrels using bird books provided by the owners. Wi-Fi – understandably a bit slow – is available if needed. With The Hemmel inside Europe’s largest designated dark sky park, you might save that for stargazing sessions.
One of the estate’s finest attributes is its environmental work, ranging from the planting of a new wood and harvesting of solar energy to the provision of electric charging points. Many more projects are in the offing, and your stay will assist their tremendous work.
Sitting room with two-seater sofa, two armchairs, flat-screen TV with Freeview, DVD player, wood burning stove (supply of wind-felled logs provided). Dining space with seating for four. Bi-fold doors leading to outside patio with views across the valley.
Kitchen with granite work surfaces, gas hob, electric oven, large fridge / freezer, microwave, washing machine. Please note that there is no dishwasher since the off-grid power supply is unable to support both a dishwasher and washing machine.
Bedroom with super king four-poster bed, side tables, armchair, wardrobe with hanging space, chest of drawers.
Bathroom with bath and separate walk-in shower, heated towel rail, marble basin and WC.
There is a private enclosed lawned garden to the rear of the property with a picnic table on the patio. An Outback barbecue will be available in the spring and summer months.
Parking & Electric Car Charging
There is private parking to the side of The Hemmel.
There is an electric car charger, which is powered by solar panels on the roof of The Hemmel. It will charge no more than approx 3kwh per hour on a sunny day. Alwinton village at the bottom of the valley has an additional charger, if required.
Babies & Children
Babies and children are not permitted at The Hemmel.
Two well-behaved dogs are welcome at a cost of £20 per dog per stay. They must be clean before access into the property and are not permitted on the furniture or in the bedroom.
High-quality bed linen and towels are provided for guests along with guest toiletries. A hairdryer is provided. A welcome pack is provided with locally sourced produce.
Experience a midnight picnic under the stars!
As an optional extra, Stargazing kits are available to hire at this property. Take your basket down to the garden, set up your midnight picnic and have fun stargazing.
Due to its rural location within a dark skies area, the property is ideally placed to experience the full magnificence of the night sky. Set up your telescope to look for galaxies and planets or see which constellations you can spot using the handy guide.
The basket will include:
A flask for two, Choc Affair hot chocolate, Choc Affair chocolate bar, Northumberland Bakery cookies, two hot water bottles, Stargazing for Beginners guide, 2023 Guide to the Night Sky, a practical guide to the key constellations, 10x50 Binoculars, travel telescope, large picnic rug, and two fleece blankets.
Stargazing kits can be booked for use during your stay at a charge of £20.
Wi-Fi & Mobile Coverage
Please note that due to the remote location of the property, Wi-Fi can be quite slow and is unsuitable for streaming or downloading large files. An unlimited 4G router has been installed, which is great for Wi-Fi calling, emails, surfing the internet.
Mobile reception is patchy depending on the network, with Vodafone offering the best connection. There is a landline at the nearby owner's property for emergency use.
Heating & Electricity
There is LPG Gas central heating throughout the property with underfloor heating. There is a wood burning stove in the sitting room with a supply of wind-felled logs from the grounds of the estate provided.
Please note that The Hemmel is not on the national grid and is dependent on wind and solar power, with a generator for backup. This means that the number of electrical appliances in the property is more limited to the key essentials and a dishwasher cannot be supported.
The Hemmel is a detached property and is not overlooked.
Access - Important
While the property is situated in a fabulous secluded position, it is important to note that this is accessed by a three-mile-long Forestry Commission track used by logging lorries, which comprises loose gravel and cattle grids. This is steep in places and care should be taken, especially during the winter months, as adverse weather and heavy goods vehicles can leave the track rutted and pot-holed. Please drive slowly, paying particular attention to the road surface. Sports cars and low-suspension vehicles should be avoided. Four-wheel drive vehicles may be required in winter conditions. Please contact us if you have any concerns.
A drive of 3 miles will take you to Clennell Hall in Harbottle which has an excellent bar and restaurant for eating out, along with the occasional music evening which brings locals and visitors together for a little entertainment.
Alternatively, the village of Thropton (11 miles) has a small village shop selling general provisions and also has two pubs including the highly regarded Three Wheat Heads, a traditional 300-year-old coaching inn which has a cosy lounge bar and fine dining restaurant serving a varied and interesting menu using fine local produce from the Coquet Valley.
For a wider variety, head to the charming village of Rothbury (14 miles) which has a superb selection of independent shops, galleries, pubs and cafes as well as a deli, bakery and butcher shop.
This is frontier land, full of history, heritage and wild, natural beauty; where walking and cycling routes have been shaped by ancient Romans, drovers and plundering Border reivers through the ages. Through it, the River Coquet meanders through vast stretches of moorland and picturesque valleys.
Clennell Street follows the ancient drover road where you can enjoy fantastic panoramic views over the Coquet Valley and Cheviot Hills, dropping down to the tiny village of Alwinton where you can rest tired legs and enjoy a pie and a pint at the Rose and Thistle pub. Alwinton is also a designated Dark Sky Discovery site so it’s also a perfect spot to indulge in a spot of stargazing. Stargazing kits can be hired for use during your stay at an additional charge.
Alternatively, the Street or ‘clattering path’ is a Roman road where you can walk the Border Ridge and look for iron age hill forts and enigmatic rock carvings, or why not take a ranger-led walk from Harbottle to see the fabled Drake Stone.
If you prefer to spend your days on two wheels, why not explore nearby Kidland Forest and Upper Coquetdale which is a super loop involving lovely woodland tracks and long riverside trails, or for something a little more high energy the Reivers Cycle Route will tick the right box.
The area is also a fantastic spot for climbing and bouldering with crags at Simonside and to the north and west of Rothbury, while fell runners will simply be in their element here.
For those looking for a more relaxed option, enjoy a pampering treatment at your cottage with Harmony Holistic Mobile Spa.
Nearby Cragside House and Gardens offer a fascinating day out for the family where you can discover the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. Crammed full of gadgets developed by Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius, Lord Armstrong, Cragside is truly a wonder of its age. The adventure playground with its network of paths and tunnels will be a huge hit with children and the gardens are an absolute delight.
Also within easy reach are the award-winning Alnwick Gardens and Alnwick Castle, home to the Duke of Northumberland and one of Britain’s most iconic castles. With its rich history, exquisite art, beautiful gardens, and film location for Harry Potter, there is plenty of wizardly magic and mayhem to keep all ages entertained.
Finally, the stunning beaches of the Northumberland coast can be easily reached in under an hour - perfect for picnics with a bucket and spade. Visit Bamburgh Castle and its amazing dog-friendly beach where you can walk for miles on white sugary sands, stopping off for ice cream along the way, or why not follow in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims to the mystical Holy Island of Lindisfarne to complete the final journey of St. Cuthbert and enjoy the breathtaking views from the sheltered dune-fringed sands of this uniquely special place. Simply magical!
When the days grow shorter and outdoor activities give way to slightly gentler pursuits, a qualified holistic therapist can bring the spa experience to you with relaxation treatments and therapies for the holiday ultimate indulgence.
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Classes at your holiday home
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With more stately homes, castles and historic sites here than you can shake a proverbial stick at, visitors are quite simply spoilt for choice.Find Out More
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Shopping, arts and crafts
We are extremely fortunate to have a region where independent shops are king, and to have an area flowing with creativity through its talents in arts, crafts and textiles.Find Out More
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Cycling & mountain biking
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Ancestral history research
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Spas and beauty treatments
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Cooks and chefs
Make your stay hassle-free with your own personal cookFind Out More
Our experienced dog sitters will look after your furry friends whilst you are out exploring.Find Out More
Award yourself a real break and let us provide a pair (or more) of helping hands.Find Out More
Beauty and spa treatments
Everyone needs some pampering, whatever the occasion.Find Out More
Crabtree & Crabtree have teamed up with Corney & Barrow one of the longest established independent Wine Merchants in the UK to offer a bespoke service.Find Out More
Fresh cut flowers delivered to your holiday home.Find Out More
Family holidays, reunions and honeymoons kindle priceless moments that deserve preserving.Find Out More
"This is an outstanding property and we are delighted with our choice. It’s so thoughtfully put together, there is everything you could wish for and more. I’d like to say we have been out and about but to be honest we’re have been seduced by peaceful position that the Hemmel sits in. You really do feel on top of the world. There are many walks just outside your door - all worth exploring. We are having another lazy day enjoying the tranquility. "Ms Crowther
- Two dogs are welcome at a charge of £20 per dog.
- Typical arrival day: Friday with the additional option of Monday out of high season.
- Arrival time: 5pm
- Departure time: 10am
"Striding up Clennell Street, an ancient trading track, to enjoy panoramic hilltop views before descending to the hamlet of Alwinton for a pie and a pint at its pub."Matthew and Terri, owners of The Hemmel