VIDEO: Famous remote farmhouse for sale for £600K

A remote farmhouse made famous in documentaries about its spinster owner living in isolation is up for sale - for close to £600k.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 13th April 2016, 3:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2016, 3:02 pm
Hannah Hauxwell.
Hannah Hauxwell.

Farmer Hannah Hauxwell, now 89, lived in the cold damp farmhouse with no running water and a hole in the roof where the rain and wind blew in.

Her way of life shocked millions of viewers when she appeared in documentaries that followed her remarkable spartan existence.

For almost three decades, she tended her cattle in the harshest of weathers, living and sleeping in one room, collecting drinking water from a stream with just an old stove for heat.

Now, for the first time, the public can see what the property has become after a sensitive renovation by Robin and Ann Dant.

The couple bought Low Birk Hatt from Miss Hauxwell in 1988 and the smallholding, which comes with the house, two stone barns, outbuildings and 15 acres.

It is for sale through Robin Jessop with a guide price of £590,000.

Current owners, the Dants, are downsizing from the remote farm in Baldersdale just as Miss Hauxwell did 28 years ago.

Low Birk Hatt. Hannah Hauxwell's old farm.

Miss Hauxwell’s story was first told in 1970 in an article entitled “How to be happy on £170 a year”.

Film-maker Barry Cockcroft followed it with a documentary in 1973, Too Long a Winter, and she became an instant star. Subsequent films, books and DVDs about Miss Hauxwell were bestsellers worldwide.

Viewers were able to see the spinster brave blizzards and ice wearing ragged clothes to ensure her cows were fed and watered.

The film A Winter Too Many saw the 62-year-old farmer bid an emotional farewell to the farm that had been in her family for generations.

Robin and Ann Dant bought Hannah Hauxwell's farmhouse from her in the 1980s and have renovated it.

Her father died when she was 10 and then her mother and uncle passed away, leaving her alone at the age of 34.

She has not seen her beloved family farm since retiring to a cottage in a nearby village, preferring to remember the property the way it was.

Mrs Dant said: “We have invited her up and told her about the sale but she is content with her memories and we respect that.”

The transformation has preserved the property’s character while restoring and extending it to create a cosy home with five bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Mr Dant said: “We saw the advert for it and just went up just to see where it was. Hannah came out of the cowshed and invited us in. She was very proud of the house, although it was just as it appeared in the films. We could see the potential and it offered us the tranquillity and the views we wanted.”

While the farmhouse appears isolated in the films, it is part of a community. Hidden away in Yorkshire’s old North Riding, now part of County Durham, the nearest shop is five miles away but there are other homes in the dale. The halfway point of the Pennine Way is just outside the farmhouse gate.

“We can fully understand Hannah’s reticence to leave Low Birk Hatt,” says Mr Dant, 72.

“It is such a beautiful place but we are selling for the same reasons she did. We are getting older and it is time to move on.”

Low Birk Hatt. Hannah Hauxwell's old farm.
Robin and Ann Dant bought Hannah Hauxwell's farmhouse from her in the 1980s and have renovated it.