Coop House

Netherby, near Carlisle


This lovely Gothic summerhouse beside the River Esk is a striking example of the sort of buildings mid-Georgian gentlemen built to adorn their estates.

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Beds 1 Single, 1 Double

4 nights from
£392 equivalent to £32.67 per person, per night

By the 1980s it had partly collapsed

It takes its name from the traps set to catch salmon in the passing river but its name also hides a more impressive side to this building. A coop was an old fashioned method for catching fish with wickerwork baskets, dating back to at least the Middle Ages. It might sound a rather rudimentary form of fishing, but Coop House overlooked a far more sophisticated system than a few baskets. Coop House was probably built in the late 18th century, sitting in the grounds of Rev Dr Robert Graham's Netherby Hall. It may have acted as a vantage point to watch the river, a shelter for bailiffs to look for poachers or merely an ornament for Dr Grahams pleasure gardens. The first task we undertook was clearing up the site. Removing the dirt, weeds and the large tree which had taken up residence in the house meant that the fallen stones could be collected for reuse in the restoration process. With the foundations strengthened and the walls repointed, a new roof, with a flatter pitch to allow for more headroom could finally go on.

On the bank of the river Esk

Following the purpose built, and many gated, path you will arrive at Coop House, which boasts a polygonal main room with three large windows that are perfect for looking out over the river. The Esk can flow past gently as easily as it can be energetic. Your nearest neighbours a little way upstream are a pele tower and a graceful Georgian church. Remote and peaceful, Coop House is near the border with Scotland and just beyond the water meadows is the imposing pile of Netherby Hall.

Watch a video of Coop House here.

Floor Plan


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‘The river is a wonderful companion.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Map & local info

Coop House is in a remote and beautiful location on the bank of the River Esk. Follow the river upstream and you will see the quaint, Georgian Church of St Andrew and the well preserved pele tower, Kirkandrews Tower, on the opposite bank. The small town of Longtown, which sits on the border between England and Scotland, is a short distance away and is a good starting point for walks to explore the local area.

Visit the castle and cathedral in Carlisle, which is less than half an hour's drive from Netherby. Aircraft enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to the Solway Aviation Museum, which is under 10 miles outside Carlisle.

The Solway Coast, renowned for its spectacular sunsets, is about an hour away by car. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty with walks through landscapes full of wildlife and places of interest. 

Close by is the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery (10.2 miles). For more information on things to do during your stay at Coop House, please see our Pinterest page.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions
Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • No.
  • Via a long track from the main road, which is uneven and has a number of pot holes which fill with water in adverse weather. It needs to be negotiated with care and is unsuitable for cars with low clearance.
  • Gretna Green – 7 miles.
  • Yes, there is one parking space adjacent to the property.
  • There are electric night storage heaters and also a coal fuelled stove.
  • Coal may be purchased locally. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit* Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker and microwave.
  • There is one bathroom with a bath.
  • The stairs are steep and narrow.
  • There is a garden (not enclosed).
  • 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.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • 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.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two 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 and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • 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.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • 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!
Staying at a Landmark
  • 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 on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • 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
  • 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. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • 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.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • 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.
  • 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). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
  • 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.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • 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.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.

A Gothic pavilion adorning the landscape

The Coop House is a striking example of the kind of Gothic pavilion with which Georgian gentlemen liked to adorn the landscape around their houses. A hint that it was once something more lies in its name: a coop is a wickerwork basket used for catching fish, a method that dates back at least to the Middle Ages. The Coop House, in fact, overlooked a more sophisticated system than a set of baskets.

It stands on a terrace in front of which a series of fish pens could be formed by fixing hurdles into a stone pavement. Next to these was a fish ladder, above which a great stone weir spanned the river. All this was built to take advantage of the plentiful salmon for which the Esk is well known. It seems possible that the coops were in fact holding pens for full-grown fish caught in the river, or breeding pens for raising small fish or fry.

The weir above the coops was first built in 1770 by Rev Dr Robert Graham, the owner of Netherby Hall and combined squire and parson ("Squarson") of Arthuret. Over his 25 years of ownership he carried out a long series of much-praised improvements to his estate, including the building of farmhouses and schools, and his establishment of the salmon fishery was a major part of this. But only a year after its construction floods swept the weir away. It was rebuilt and a second time destroyed in the same way. Brindley, the well-known civil engineer, rebuilt it yet again to an improved design incorporating a curved weir instead of a straight one. In 1782 this too collapsed when a huge weight of melting ice piled against it after a hard winter.

We do not know exactly when the Coop House was built - possibly in 1772 - nor do we know the name of its designer, nor even the reasons for its construction. Certainly it was an ornament to Dr Graham’s fine pleasure grounds, and it would have made a vantage point for watching the salmon fishery, for enjoying the sight of water cascading over the weir and fish leaping in the opposite direction. It may also have provided a shelter above the coops for a bailiff to keep watch for poachers.

As first built, the Coop House was little more than a belvedere of one room, its projecting bay taking full advantage of the view up and down the river. There was no fireplace, and it was entered directly from outside, through the arched south door. Each turret had a tall room on the ground floor, with a smaller space above. That on the west had an unlit basement room as well. Curiously, on the ground floor, the south and west windows of the west turret, and all three windows of the little room above, were blocked from the beginning.

With the failure of the weir, much of the point of the house would have been lost. It might still have come in useful as a base for fishing expeditions, or for the river bailiff, and even for the occasional picnic. But from the late 1780s it probably stood empty for most of the next 100 years or so. It was then turned into a cottage for estate workers. A range was installed under the middle window of the main room, which was then blocked. Bedrooms were made in the turrets, with pitched roofs that cut across the front and back windows; the ones in the east turret were therefore blocked up, as those in the west turret had always been, and new windows were made on the side overlooking the river. On the other side an extra room was added in front of the old main door, and a new front door was made in the east side of this addition.

In the 1930s the cottage was lived in by a shepherd, his wife and their five children, but it became too small for them and they moved to a larger house. After they left the Coop House remained empty becoming increasingly ruinous as the years went by.

For a short history of Coop House please click here.

To read the full history album for Coop House please click here.

To download the children's Explorer pack for Coop House please click here.


A neighbour suggests it might be of interest to Landmark

The Coop House gently decayed until 1989, when a neighbour suggested to Sir Charles Graham, Robert Graham’s descendant, that the Landmark Trust might take it on - as indeed it was glad to do. The estate granted a lease in 1992, and work started in 1994 under the direction of the architect Rosalind Taylor. The builders were the North-West division of Laings under foreman Philip Hingley.

The first task was to clean up the site, clearing away weeds and the build-up of earth inside and out, and the next was to collect together all the fallen stones lying around for reuse in rebuilding the central bay. A large tree had grown in the terrace wall in front of the house and the roots had burst the stonework apart; the upper three courses of the parapet had therefore to be taken down and rebedded. The ground behind the wall was dug away to allow a damp-proof membrane to be laid round the bay and finally the whole area was paved.

The walls of the bay still existed up to the window sills. The stone head of the central window was found, and one length of jamb. The rest were made to match in St Bees stone, the closest match available. Extra rubble stone for the walls came from the same quarry, as did the new coping stones for the crenellated parapet. These had all disappeared, but the design of the new ones was derived from an old engraving.

The whole building leans towards the river, but only on the west was there any sign of instability. The foundations on this side were therefore strengthened, and steel ties inserted to hold the front and back walls together. All the walls were repointed, and then the new roof could go on. The pockets of the old roof timbers were still visible, but to allow headroom for the new gallery planned to link the two turrets inside the main roof was made with a flatter pitch than the old one. In the turrets new pitched roofs were formed, following the line of the 19th-century ones. Their eaves project slightly forward of the turret walls and so would have showed above the back parapet; there was, however, room to fit in a half-crenellation at each end, behind which the eaves could be hidden.

On the south a porch was added, with a similar profile to the old back kitchen. Inside, the original paving stones were uncovered beneath a layer of soil. They were carefully numbered and then lifted so that a damp-proof membrane could be laid before they were put back. Matching second-hand stones were found for the ground-floor bedroom, and new ones for the porch. A fireplace was made where the Victorian range had been, with a new stone surround and a cleverly fitted fireback made by a Carlisle blacksmith, Byers Brothers.

All the joinery in the building is of course new. The construction of the staircase called for some ingenuity since none of the walls around it was straight: the newel post in fact acts as a fixed point for a tie holding the front wall. The kitchen and bathroom, and the services that make them work, are also new, all wires and pipes having been specially laid down the track or across the fields from the opposite direction. As a final flourish, the gallery was given a balustrade of suitably piscatorial design, made by a Dorset blacksmith, Francis Russell, with the Graham family crest adorning the porch to welcome Landmarkers.

Availability & booking

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What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

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.