A true one-off, Walltown Byre is an eclectic country retreat that blends cutting-edge design and contemporary art with unabashed fun and a dose of philanthropy.
A centuries-old byre bristling with contemporary objets d’art, complete with a hot tub and dedicated entertainment barn
Sabina Forwood, the owner of the 17th-century Walltown Byre, set in 700 acres of rolling Northumberland countryside, does not do beige. As she says: “Life is colour. Colour is life – it’s everything. Colour is evocative; it’s sexy; it makes you think.”
So, if you like your interiors bland, look away now.
Filled with the unusual and unique, Sabina’s creative influence is evident in every inch of this property. After inheriting the working byre (the old English word for cowshed) Sabina worked closely with local specialists to convert the simple stone property into a stylish three-bedroom house.
The open-plan kitchen, dining and living area spans a generous nine by five metres and is flooded with light from the floor-to-ceiling windows, which frame the front aspect of the property. The byre’s original stone arches create a natural divide between the dining and sitting areas while retaining a relaxed flow throughout the space, enabling guests to chat, relax and entertain at ease.
Sabina’s design influences are by no means limited to vibrant colours – an accomplished artist who loves collecting and showcasing works by fellow artists, she’s also dedicated to the reuse and repurposing of items that are so thoughtlessly discarded in our throwaway culture. Stay at Walltown Byre and not only will you get to cook in a magnificent pillar box red kitchen, you’ll discover a thought-provoking world of antique furnishings revived by local artisans using vintage fabrics, abstract sculptures, wall-hung kimonos and eye-popping tapestries.
Despite such striking interiors, one’s gaze is always drawn back to the sweeping countryside views afforded by the byre’s large windows. Soak up the verdant beauty of Roman wall country from the dining table or kitchen bar, from the comfort of your bed or - our favourite - from the bubbling embrace of the outdoor hot tub on the patio to the front of the property.
Three suitably quirky en-suite bedrooms lead off from the main living space while a separate wing houses an impressive cinema and games room, where natural light from arrow slit windows is complemented by bespoke chromatic lighting. Complete with a ping-pong table and piano, this is the spot for big kids of all ages to kick back and indulge in serious games and screen time. Although, given that guests can stream films from iPlayer, Amazon, Netflix and YouTube, family debates about what to watch on the huge cinema screen are inevitable...
Finally, a separate utility room leads into a ground floor wet room with plenty of storage for outdoor gear, wellies and walking boots.
For guests looking for something a little extra, property manager Lucy, who lives nearby, is an experienced chef who can provide a wide range of catering options from breakfasts, picnic lunches and pre-prepared dinners to canapés and lavish dinners. Further details on the Location tab.
Access into open plan kitchen, dining and living area measuring 9m x 5m. Dining area with extendable table seating up to 12 guests. Three floor to ceiling windows open directly into the courtyard/patio area. Writing desk/office space.
Sitting room – ample seating with large sofa and armchairs, electric stove, Smart TV, selection of books and games, Wi-fi printer.
Kitchen – all with integrated appliances. Large island unit/breakfast bar area with 4 bar stools, 4 ring ceramic hob, 3 drawer freezer, dishwasher, large fridge, single oven, combi microwave.
Utility room with separate sink, washing machine and dryer. This leads into a ground floor shower/wet room with shower, heated towel rail, basin, WC and drying pulley.
From the hall, this leads into a separate 3m x 7m cinema room and games room – with ping pong table, electric piano, large sofa, 2 armchairs, large cinema screen (3m x 1.7m) and projector (TV, DVD, streaming or HDMI connection for your laptop).
Off the open plan sitting room to the right, leads down a hallway into;
Bedroom one with king size bed, two side tables, arched window with door opening, window seat, hanging hook, small storage cabinet.
En-suite bathroom with large bath (1800mm) with shower over, heated towel rail, basin, WC.
Bedroom two with 3’ twin beds, two armchairs, side table, small chest of drawers, hanging hook.
Four steps down from the bedroom leads to the en-suite bathroom with large shower, heated towel rail, basin, and WC.
Six steps down at the end of the hallway leads into bedroom three.
Bedroom three with twin beds, chest of drawers, armchair, hanging hook, and small wardrobe.
Two steps up to en-suite bathroom with shower, heated towel rail, basin and WC.
There is a gravelled courtyard to the front, facing South with far reaching views across the North Pennines which is enclosed by a drystone wall and a pair of gates. Patio area with garden furniture with seating for 8/10 guests.
Hot tub - maximum 6 guests. Rules of use apply.
The Byre sits in a working farm therefore farm machinery may be in use around this area, and to the barns to the rear of the property. There may also be some movement of sheep and cattle.
Parking for three cars in the gravelled courtyard area. Additional parking for 5 cars outside the courtyard.
Babies & children
A high chair and travel cot is provided.
Two dogs are welcome with a charge of £25 per dog. Additional dogs may be welcome by prior request. We are dog lovers ourselves and welcome well-behaved dogs. We ask that you please keep dogs in the heated kennels until they are clean and dry and do not allow dogs on the furniture or in the bedrooms. Please clear up after your dogs.
Two double kennels with heating and runs are provided in a nearby outbuilding. Dogs must be kept on leads when walking in the immediate vicinity due to livestock.
Bed linen, towels and bath robes are provided. A coloured towel, robe and slippers are provided for each guest when using the hot tub. Branche d'Olive guest toiletries are provided.
Wi-Fi & Mobile coverage
Wi-Fi is provided (4MB/second). Mobile signal is good on most networks.
There is oil fired underfloor heating throughout the property. There is an electric stove in the living area. Being a new conversion to the highest standards, the Byre is wonderfully warm in all weathers.
The property manager, Lucy lives 2 minutes walk away and is an excellent chef who can provide a wide range of catering options for a very spoiling stay. Please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss catering options with her (full service dinner, pre-prepared dinners, packed lunches, canapes, breakfast or anything else!). She can also arrange a Tesco or Sainsbury’s delivery for your arrival.
For eating out, the Mile Castle pub sits 2.25 miles east along the Military Road and is within walking distance down the farm track from the property within 45 minutes or so. You will also find good pub food at the Greenhead Hotel 1.25 miles west.
Alternatively the Samson Inn, Gilsland or the Blekinsopp Castle Inn and Bistro are 2.75 and 2.9 miles respectively and both come recommended.
The Twice Brewed pub sits 4.5 miles east along the Military Road is popular choice with walkers and has its own micro-brewery, or for a stunning dining experience with a difference, head to Hjem which boasts a stunning open kitchen inspired by Scandinavian cuisine with a Tyne valley twist (21 miles).
A little further afield sits the pretty market town of Hexham (21 miles) characterised by cobbled streets and historic architecture which offers quirky coffee shops, award winning restaurants and excellent independent shops. Hexham offers more extensive shopping and amenities. It also boasts its own racecourse, theatre, cinema, golf course and leisure centre, including a pool and a tenpin bowling alley.
The popular tourist village of Corbridge is 25 miles and offers a variety of shops, a delicatessen, and one or two restaurants and cafes, while Matfen Hall (26 miles) offers excellent spa and leisure facilities.
In the other direction, the pretty market town of Brampton,with Lanercost Priory close by, is 10 miles away and the historic city of Carlisle is 21 miles away. There is a wealth of things to see and do in Carlisle including the award winning Tullie House Museum and Gallery, Carlisle Cathedral, Carlisle Castle. Walby Park Farm is a family favourite where you can meet farmyard favourites and rare breeds with plenty of opportunity for the younger ones to burn off some steam. Carlisle offers extensive shopping, a cinema, railway station and various bars and restaurants.
If you or your guests are coming by plane or train, the new Carlisle Airport, with flights from Southend, Belfast and Dublin, is 16 miles away. Car hire is available at the airport.
Newcastle and Carlisle have main line train services with direct trains to London and Edinburgh/Glasgow, and there is a local train between Newcastle and Carlisle which stops at Haltwhistle which is 2.5 miles away.
There is a bus (the AD122) linking the major Roman sites, together with Hexham and Haltwhistle which has a stop at the Roman Army Museum which is ¾ mile from the Byre or a 15 minute walk. This runs between Easter and the 1st October.
Surrounded by footpaths and bridleways, big skies and wonderful views, the area has plenty to offer those seeking dramatic ridges and panoramic views.
For walking, the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail is a designated World Heritage site with an unbroken 84 mile signposted trail stretching from coast-to-coast, passing through stunning countryside and rugged moorland. The Byre is some three miles from the intersection of the Hadrian's Wall trail and the Pennine Way making it a walkers' paradise.
Notable visitor attractions include the English Heritage site of Walltown Crags Wall and Turret, one of the finest places to view Hadrian's Wall, as well as the Roman Army Museum which sit less than a mile away from the property. The Sill, Vindolanda, and Housesteads are all within a ten minute drive.
Hadrian's cycleway runs from coast-to-coast and is part of the National Cycle Network boasting incredible scenery which takes in various forts, milecastles and settlements along the line of the wall. As well as off-road options, it boasts 100 miles of purpose-built trails for the peddle-hungry looking to soak up mile after mile of never-ending trails.
For history buffs, this is a perfect base from which to explore Chesters and Vindolanda which are steeped in Roman history and offer a fascinating insight into Roman life on the edge of the empire 2000 years ago. Here you can see in incredible 3D detail what life was like on the wall in the life of a Roman soldier, and discover latest artefacts, including the world famous Vindolanda writing tablets.
For some later history, visit Hermitage Castle (60 minutes), a Norman Castle built in 1240AD and famous for a visit there by Mary Queen of Scots to the wounded 4th Earl of Bothwell. She later married Bothwell, despite the fact that he was implicated in her husband's murder.
Lanercost Priory, founded in 1169AD is only 18 minutes drive away. It is partly built from stones from Hadrian’s wall and was visited a number of times by Edward I. In August 1311, Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, came with his army and made it his headquarters for three days.
You can enjoy plenty of outdoor adventures in over 13,000 acres at Wallington Hall (45 minutes) with gentle woodland strolls to more extensive hikes, or take your bike and explore the Dragon Cycling Trail, a safe family-friendly route where you may be lucky enough to spot one of the resident red squirrels in the woods. For less active pursuits, head to the Clocktower Cafe for a coffee and cake stop, or take a tour of the main house for a fascinating insight into the rich history and artefacts of this 300 year old home.
Cragside House and Gardens offer a captivating 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 here are an absolute delight.
A 45 minute drive will take you to the Kielder Water and Forest Park, with something for everyone including water sports enthusiasts, cyclists, walkers, naturalists, artists, families and photographers. A highlight is the star gazing treat at the Kielder Observatory where you can view the outstanding dark skies of the Northumberland National Park.
Golf enthusiasts are well catered for at Matfen Hall, or take a drive to the championship courses of Close House and Slaley Hall.
The stunning beaches of the Northumberland coast are an easy day trip, including the iconic Alnwick Gardens and Alnwick Castle, home to the Duke of Northumberland. 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.
To the West, the coast of the Solway is 50 minutes away and the North of the Lake District is well within reach, with Ullswater, for example, being a 60 minute drive
Finally a trip to the city of Newcastle with its amazing Millennium revolving eye bridge and the fantastic glass Sage building for music. Admire the wonderful architecture of the north-east’s most eminent architect John Dobson or perhaps enjoy an evening of arts at the wonderful Theatre Royal.
If you love a challenge or just crave a little excitement away from the day-to-day bustle of working life, we have lots to offer - whether it be watery pursuits, muddy blasts or thrill seeking, adrenaline-charged adventures.Find Out More
Spas and beauty treatments
Everyone needs a little time-out to relax and for many that may involve a little pampering, the chance to experience new therapies, or simply some dedicated ‘me time’ to enjoy or practise disciplines which bring a sense of well-being and good health.Find Out More
Horse riding is intrinsically linked to the history and heritage of the area and goes right back to the 13th and 14th centuries where townspeople would ride the clan’s boundaries to protect their common lands. Thankfully our riding pursuits today are not quite so dramatic!Find Out More
Welcome to the realm of the king of fish, the mighty River Tweed. Every year thousands of Atlantic Salmon make their way up river, an annual odyssey that is one of nature's miracles.Find Out More
Our region is home to outstanding scenery which boasts emerald forests, pristine lochs and rivers, heathery hillsides, sweeping moorlands as well as a picture perfect coastline.Find Out More
From the lush green uplands to shimmering sea, the area boasts a hugely diverse and enticing landscape that is perfect for exploring on foot. From gentle rambles to long-distance hikes, there are a vast array of trails and waymarked routes for newbie walkers or experienced alike.Find Out More
Historic houses and castles
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
There are 40 golf courses in Northumberland, and another 21 in the Scottish Borders offering visitors an incredibly wide and varied range of golfing options.Find Out More
If your passion is beautiful gardens a visit to our area will not disappoint. Spend a little time here and discover some spectacular gardens through the ever changing vista of the seasons.Find Out More
Museums, galleries and culture
Our museums tell the story of Borders people and provide a unique insight into our region’s heritage and culture, such as the turbulent past of the Border Reivers or the tragic tale of exiled Mary Queen of Scots.Find Out More
Ancestral history research
Crabtree & Crabtree know that tracing the history of your family can be a wonderful journey of discovery. Here are our top tips for starting your family tree.Find Out More
For sheer variety alone Northumberland and the Scottish Borders are irresistible to any gun.Find Out More
Cycling & mountain biking
Whether you ride fast or slow, on-road or off-road, there is something uniquely special about enjoying some outdoor time on two wheels. Here in the region we have something for everyone from high-energy mountain biking blasts to gentle forest paths the whole family can enjoy.Find Out More
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
Classes at your holiday home
Enjoy art, cookery, photography, flower or chocolate classes or whisky tasting in the comfort of your own holiday home...Find Out More
Children and families
Here at Crabtree & Crabtree, we like to think we’ve pulled together some rather nifty ideas to keep tots to teens happy and entertained during your stay.Find Out More
Cooks and Chefs
Our region is a natural larder so it’s really no surprise that we are fortunate to have such a wonderful choice of first class chefs and cooks on hand.Find Out More
Beauty and spa treatments
Everyone needs some pampering, whatever the occasion.Find Out More
Family holidays, reunions and honeymoons kindle priceless moments that deserve preserving.Find Out More
Fresh cut flowers delivered to your holiday home.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
Our experienced dog sitters will look after your furry friends whilst you are out exploring.Find Out More
Babysitting and Nannies
Relax, explore the local area, enjoy a long lunch or a romantic evening out by hiring one of our fully qualified registered and experienced nannies or babysitters to come to your house.Find Out More
Award yourself a real break and let us provide a pair (or more) of helping hands.Find Out More
"Fantastic pad! Great facilities and the location is brilliant - so close to The Wall and museums etc. Had a good time and privileged to be first to review."Ainsworth Family
"A fantastic and beautifully decorated barn located right by Hadrian’s Wall in wonderful Northumbria. Wonderful experience of sitting on a frosty night in a heated jacuzzi looking up at the Milky Way in the dark skies. Walking distance to Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman Army museum, there is certainly plenty of culture. The host Lucy was very welcoming and made the place very inviting plus she can offer to cook fantastic meals at extra cost. What with the most astonishing cinema room I’ve ever seen, it’s hard to fault this place. Definitely would love to return, and so would our dog, who lived his walks. A big hit all round!"Ridden Family
- Two dogs are welcome with a charge of £25 per dog.
- Typical arrival day: Friday during high season. Flexible out of high season.
- Arrival time: 4pm
- Departure time: 10am
"Not only are some of the eclectic artworks in this extraordinary house for sale but your purchase helps to support a local child, with a portion of each sale donated to the Challenger Trust charity."Sue, Crabtree & Crabtree