Cowside

Langstrothdale, North Yorkshire - Sleeps 5

About this Landmark

Cowside is a 17th-century farmstead at the heart of the North Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is a rare survival both for its unaltered state and the wall paintings in its parlour.

Dog Beds 1 Single, 1 Twin, 1 Double

  • Sleeps5
  • 4 nights from from£314
  • equivalent to £15.70 per person per night

The home of hardy Dales folk

The debate as to when Cowside was built still goes on, with Dendrochronology (dating by tree analysis) and documentary evidence being inconclusive. There is a datestone the above the front door which reads "I S 1701" but a panel of disturbed masonry indicates that it has been re-set from a two storey porch. Major restorative work began in 2010 after it had been re-roofed the previous year. All the external masonry was repointed, infilling removed from the fireplaces, internal rooms were replastered and every care was taken in order to ensure that the salvaged flagstones could be reused.

Heart of the Yorkshire Dales

It is a significant Landmark because it is an unaltered example of 17/18th century North Yorkshire Dales architecture. Cowside is comprised of the farmhouse, two attached buildings and combined former henhouse and piggery. Its location at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park means that this is an ideal base from which to explore one of Britain's most beautiful landscapes. A little further afield, about a 45 minute drive away, is the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding National Beauty. The  remote nature of Cowside means you will arrive on foot (you leave your car at the foot of the steep hill) which somehow feels right and acts as a reminder of the lives of the farmers who once lived and worked here.

Floor Plan

‘It was lovely being woken by the gentle baa-ing of sheep and lambs. The timelessness of this place is wonderful.’

From the logbook

Floor plans

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Access on foot via a steep hill path (approximately 400 metres from the parking area).
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Skipton – 20 miles
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There are three parking spaces in the designated area in the field adjacent to the river.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is an LPG combined heat and power (CHP) system (generator). There is also underfloor heating and two woodburning stoves.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Two baskets of logs are provided for your stay. Further quantities may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There are two bathrooms, one with a free-standing shower unit and one with a shower over the bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    No.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a garden (not enclosed). There are footpaths through the National Park which may run close to the property.

    Booking and Payment

  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will advise you as to whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to carry out the changeover then we consider that it is open and available. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, which may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Is it true there are no televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.

An unaltered example of a late 17th century Dales farmhouse

Cowside is significant as an unaltered example of a late 17th/early 18th-century farmhouse of the North Yorkshire Dales. It is entirely typical of its area in many respects, but in a few it is unusual, not to say exceptional. The farmstead is set on the fellside above the young River Wharfe, just after it has been christened as such at the meeting of the becks at Beckermonds.

It is made up today of the farmhouse, two attached outbuildings or barns, a poultiggery (henhouse and piggery combined), former privy and various enclosures created out of the ubiquitous Dales drystone walling. In facing south up the slope and away from the river, Cowside perhaps seems to turn its back on the world, but more likely is that there was once a packhorse trail running along the contour line above it, (the Dale was an important through route from Lancaster to Newcastle-upon-Tyne).

There is a datestone "I S 1707" above the front door, but a panel of disturbed masonry around it indicates that it has been re-set from a two-storey porch (since lost), a common feature on houses of that date. The porch’s existence was proved when we found a blocked doorway under plaster on the first floor. The front elevation has a set of fine stone mullioned windows with an echo of earlier centuries about them, placed with a careful symmetry that was very up to date for the early 18th century. The rear elevation is interesting for different reasons. It has an unusual twin gabled service range, of a stair tower with a pair of two storey service chambers to each side. The windows on this less public side are various, clearly re-used or even cobbled together from pieces of salvaged stonework, some arched, some little more than square openings. Whether they came from an earlier building on the same site or elsewhere is not known.

There has been much debate about when Cowside was constructed, and documentary references suggest there was a farm called Cowside in Hubberholme parish by 1682, when Jane, wife of Francis Slinger of Cowside, was buried. Dendrochronology (dating by tree ring analysis) proved inconclusive (although the main roof structure is of oak, the joists and internal joinery are thought to be mostly ash). The safest to say is that the house was built around 1700, and probably as an extension of activity by the prosperous Slingers of Beckermonds, who are known to have been living at Beckermonds in the 1660s.

The farmhouse itself is a simple two cell, direct entry house on two floors. It is built of the local, highly durable limestone with freestone quoins and dressings. As originally built, the entrance led straight into a hall/housebody (today’s kitchen) with a massive inglenook fireplace under a stone arch and a fine six-light stone mullioned window with window seat beneath. In the 18th century, a self-contained stone fireplace was inserted into this massive hearth and the flue narrowed. Probably in the early 19th century, perhaps when the porch was taken down, the partition wall to the left of the main entrance was inserted to create a through passage (and no doubt better insulation from the draughts). Now across this passage is the parlour, the finest room in the house with another good stone fireplace and wall paintings. These paintings are an exceptionally rare survival in this remote corner of Yorkshire, and noteworthy in a vernacular building even beyond. On the walls to either side of the window, they are monochrome Biblical texts in Gothic script, surrounded by flamboyant frames of foliage and scrolls. They are clearly the work of skilled hands, and by two different artists.

On the west wall is Whether ye eat, or drink or whatsoever ye do do all to the glory of God Corinthians X:31 and For of him and through him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. Romans XI:36.

On the east wall is Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a stalled ox and hatred therewith Proverbs XV: Chapter 17 verse.

We know that a William Slinger of Langstrothdale went to Sedbergh School in the 1670s before going on to Cambridge University and becoming a clergyman. It is quite possible that he was Frances and Jane Slinger’s son, growing up at Cowside in a prosperous and educated household with these cheerful texts, although there is no definitive proof. Both these main ground floor rooms have fine beams with well carved ogee stops.

To the rear of the ground floor are a former dairy on one side (now a scullery) and a washhouse on the other. Before restoration, the dairy still had remnants of shelving and the washhouse a copper for boiling clothes. Note too the stone spout for waste water which projects through the wall. There is a very small cellar below the stone dog leg stairs. The banisters and newel post had completely disappeared, now reinstated on the basis of other local examples.

Upstairs, the hall chamber was heated only by heat radiated from the massive chimneybreast. The parlour chamber was clearly the best bedroom, with a third well-made fireplace with capitals and a mantelshelf. The window has a well-shaped central king mullion. It seems both these rooms were originally open to the rafters, perhaps until as late as the mid-19th century.

A generous bequest enabled work to start sooner

In spring 2009 a generous bequest from Mrs Sylvia Chapman allowed us to close the Cowside appeal. We were then able re-roof it in autumn 2009 as a preliminary phase, fearing the leaking roof might collapse under its own weight in the snows of another winter. Work began in earnest in 2010.

All the external masonry was repointed, and the house replastered throughout internally. Those flagstones that could be salvaged were relaid in the cross passage and today’s kitchen, and the opportunity was taken to lay underfloor heating beneath new stone floors elsewhere on the ground floor. The first floor floorboards were all so rotten that they had to be replaced. Later infilling was removed from each of the fireplaces. New doors were made to match an original that survived in the parlour. As Cowside is off the national grid, its electricity is supplied by a micro Combined Heat and Power plant fuelled by liquid propane gas. The electricity is stored in a set of batteries. ‘Waste’ heat is captured from the generator and used to help heat water for the underfloor heating and domestic use. Water is provided from a specially drilled borehole, and thus Cowside is ready to face another era of inhabitation.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

QuestionWhat's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.