Accessibility Guide and Description


Introduction


The Cottage at Hill Top is the converted barn-end of Hill Top, a former farmhouse (or “long house”) dating from around 1680, and standing in some nine 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 lawns 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 near Greenodd. 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.


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 at the opposite end 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 of oak.


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 well-tended lawn. These grounds extend over various levels, and are generally surrounded on three sides by dry-stone walls. The entrance to the drive is gated. Parts of the grounds are steep with some rocky outcrops, typical of Lake District terrain.


Ancient Woodland


At the opposite end of Hill Top’s grounds lies its beautiful ancient woodland which is accessible from the car park. Known as Backhouse Brow and extending to over seven and a half acres, guests are welcome to venture into this truly magical place though we would kindly ask that they first discuss this with us before doing so. The woodland is on a steep hillside, rising over 200ft and with wonderful precipitous rock outcrops. We have marked an easy trail for visitors to follow with an accompanying written guide. In view of its nature, children must not be allowed access without supervision.


Broadband


A WiFi broadband connection is available for the use of guests.



Terms & Conditions


1.  Definitions


In these terms and conditions:



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 including children with a minimum age of 10 years unless otherwise agreed in advance.


4.  Payment


Unless otherwise agreed you must pay 10% 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


Unless otherwise agreed 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



9.  Linen/Equipment



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:



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:



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



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.


23.   Visitors Book


Any comments written by you in the Visitors Book may be reproduced on the Owners’ website but with no identification in order to preserve your anonymity.




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 and in 2017 was granted World Heritage Status. 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.