Converted sawmill with access to old railway line

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21 April 2017 1:09PM

TRAINS on the Border Counties line used to rumble past an old sawmill at Gunnerton, where up to 80 men would work in the beautiful surroundings of the North Tyne Valley.

The trains are long gone, victim of Dr Beeching’s cuts in the 1960s, but the sawmill remains – now a family home where Ron and Judith Monument have lived for almost 35 years.

And a business still operates from the site, with Judith running a successful cattery and kennels which she thinks could be an attraction to a buyer. Alternatively, the house could be a B&B.

Judith said: “This is a marvellous business opportunity. Everything is here for someone to come along and pick it up. It could be a B&B business, as it’s an ideal house for that with a separate entrance.”

The opportunity to run a business from the property was one of its attractions: “There were kennels here when we came,” said Judith. “That was one of the reasons we bought it. Downstairs was a workshop, just one big, open space, and we lived in a flat upstairs.”

The couple brought up three daughters in The Old Sawmill. Claire and her family are in Leicester, Laura and her family are in Brampton and Sarah lives in London. Now that they’ve moved away, the house is too large for their parents.

Gunnerton was new to them: “We’re from Sunderland but Ron travelled in his job as an engineer, so we could live anywhere and we looked all over,” said Judith. “The strange thing was that 50 years ago, we had our honeymoon at the George Hotel in Chollerford and now we’re just along the road.

“We didn’t know the village at all then, it was the property. The day we came here, although the building and the garden needed work, I walked away and said, ‘We’re going to have that place.’ I loved it from first seeing it.

“We converted the workshop into a house and lived upstairs while we gradually did it. It took us a long time, as Ron was working away and we did most of the work ourselves.

“He’s not very well – another reason why we’ve decided to move. This is a big place, although we love it and quite honestly it will break our hearts to leave. It’s a lovely place for a family and hopefully the right person will come along and love it like we have for all these years.”

Judith and Ron have overseen the creation of an impressive family home. It has a reception hall leading to a large, L-shaped lounge and breakfasting kitchen which both have beamed ceilings and fabulous views.

On the first floor are four bedrooms, two en-suite and a third with fitted wardrobes, and a four-piece family bathroom. There is also a library/snug with fitted shelving and a door with stone steps to the garden. A staircase leads to the attic where there are a further three rooms with skylights and storage.

The gardens are Judith’s pride and joy. They cover almost an acre and a half and have an orchard, vegetable plot, borders, shrubs and a pond. Outbuildings include a double garage, workshop, potting shed and fuel store and there is a barbecue area.

“You can alter a house but it takes years to get your garden done and that’s probably the thing I’ll miss most,” Judith said.

“Our back gate opens to the old rail line and we have lovely walks there with the dogs, up the line or across the fields.

“Every aspect of our house has views of the beautiful countryside. It’s a lovely place to live. If we could shrink the house and make it smaller, we would honestly stay here.”

The Old Sawmill, Gunnerton, is for sale at £675,000 through Rook Matthews Sayer, tel. (01434) 601616.

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