What better way to explore the Yorkshire Dales than to stay on a working farm in the heart of a conservation area?
Deep in the Yorkshire Dales at the end of a winding country lane flanked by traditional dry stone walls you will find the tiny hamlet of Stalling Busk overlooking Lake Semerwater. At the heart of this Wensleydale hamlet, situated approximately 4 miles from Hawes and 15 miles from Leyburn, off the A684, is Home Farm. This 17th century farmhouse is as homely and traditional as it comes, with low beamed ceilings and log fires. It has been traditionally refurbished with antique furniture and fittings, Victorian brass beds draped with cosy patchwork quilts. Everywhere you look you'll find antique embroidered samplers, collections of Beswick cattle and all manner of fascinating rustic bits and bobs. It really feels like a home from home and indeed it is.
Owners Maureen and Bill Orme have lived here for 23 years and not only share their home as a B&B but breed and show prize-winning Limousin and Belgian Blue cattle - hence the proliferation of cow-themed accessories you'll find in the kitchen, dining room and breakfast room. They also keep chickens who gladly provide the B&B with a daily supply of golden yolked fresh eggs which Maureen uses to whip up a hearty breakfast. She makes her own bread and all the meals are prepared on the traditional Aga that takes centre stage in the kitchen. Home Farm also offers an optional evening meal with specialities including their own beef, together with locally reared lamb, pork, poultry, and game in season.
Home Farm is the perfect base for those wishing to explore the local area and you only have to set foot out of the front door to begin discovering what the Dales have to offer. The farm overlooks Lake Semerwater, the second largest lake in Yorkshire, and the area surrounding the lake is a conservation area for wild flowers and wildlife, with wild deer frequenting the fields and hedges.
In fact Wensleydale itself is situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, a beautiful area designated to be left unspoilt now and for generations to come. The network of country roads and footpaths gives access to this spectacular countryside with a rich variety of flora and fauna perfect for ramblers to explore.
For those interested in history, there are castles to visit at Middleham, Castle Bolton and Richmond. The waterfalls of the Dales are definitely a sight not to be missed, especially at nearby Hardraw and Aysgarth. Immerse yourself in country life and experience market day at Hawes (on Tuesday) or Leyburn (on Friday), where the local farmers bring their animals for sale and traders offer a variety of goods. Hawes is also home to the Wensdleydale Creamery, the restored Gayle Mill, the Dales Countryside Museum and the Hawes Ropemakers - so is worth a day out in itself. Whether you like fishing, wildlife and bird watching, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, hang gliding or simply driving and walking you'll find Home Farm the perfect base. And with so much to do in the local area it's a relaxing rural retreat to come home to after a busy day exploring the Dales.
By Anna-Lisa De'Ath