Former Red Cross home offers refuge for those in search of relaxing hideaway

Valentine’s Day beckons and if you’re looking for a romantic getaway there’s a delightful hideaway in the UK that could be just for you.

Pudleston is a peaceful village of just a handful of dwellings and a church nestling in the north Herefordshire countryside.

It’s also home to Lakes Edge, located on the privately owned Pudleston Court country estate, that makes an especially ideal base for anyone in search of a great way to celebrate the “day of lovers” next month.

It houses four properties, two of which are billed as “perfect” for a romantic escape.

If proof of that were needed you need only consider the fact that, during their stay at Adam Lodge and Eve Lodge, several guests have been known to make marriage proposals to their loved ones.

Surrounded by rolling countryside and with sweeping views of the estate’s lake, the fact that some couples feel so romantically inclined as to pop the question should not come as much of a surprise.

Lucinda Rees, who helps run the estate for the owners, says that others have spent their honeymoons at Lake’s Edge.

“It’s just the perfect setting,” she says.

Plans are in the pipeline to extend the estate for it to become a wedding venue  for up to 160 guests so, in the future, couples may be able to stage the whole marriage package here!

The place, in fact, is also ideal at any time of the year, not least with a couple of big upcoming festivals in the area, both in May: the Ludlow Spring Festival (featuring 200 real ales) and the world-famous book festival at Hay-on-Wye.

The two aformentioned lodges are a pair of delightful Grade 2 listed sandstone gatehouse lodges flanking the impressive main front entrance driveway to historic Pudleston Court built in 1846. 

These are particularly popular (and suitable) for couples.

But there is also the delightful former Butler’s Cottage set within the grounds of the stunning Pudleston Court estate. This very attractive brick cottage has a secluded leisure area in the enclosed rear garden, and the front of the property overlooks a delightful small pond and woodland.

The kitchen leads directly through into the dining and lounge area, all newly fitted with oak wood flooring. The open-plan dining area has table and chairs which can seat up to 6 persons, and the large lounge includes comfortable seating with cosy woodburner.  Double patio doors open out from the dining area/lounge into the enclosed and secluded rear garden with open fields beyond.

The external garden has a lovely secluded decking area with barrel sauna and hot tub, and there is garden seating and a barbecue. There’s parking space for 3-4 cars and dogs are welcome and stay free of charge.

A stay in The Butlers Cottage and either of the two gatehouse lodges includes access to a sauna and hot tub in the enclosed garden.    

The Gaggles,the fourth and largest property, sleeps up to eight and includes access to the on-site leisure complex where there is a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam room (this is one of the few self catering places in the region with a pool).

The estate is also home to Pudleston Court, a grade II listed building and a prime example of a period during the mid to late 19th century when it was the fashion for successful industrialists of the day to build large country piles as ostentatious and lasting monuments to their achievements.

Surrounded by 200-year-old trees, the estate has seen many changes over the centuries, however, from its initial conception as a residence fit for a well-to-do gentleman of the mid-1800s.

Lancashire “coal baron” Elias Chadwick originally commissioned the design and construction of the building in 1846 from Liverpool architect J. T. Brearley, who had produced plans for a lavish Tudor-Gothic style country house to be constructed of coursed pink sandstone, slate roofs and with embattled parapets. The Chadwick family remained in ownership of the estate for several decades.

During WW2, the house was used by the British Red Cross as a convalescence home for members of the armed forces injured in battle (James Herriot, author of All Creatures Great and Small, once stayed there).

In the 1950s, the house was then converted to use as a local authority special school for children with learning difficulties.

When the current owners purchased the estate in 2014, the buildings now occupying the guest accommodation were empty and in need of repair.

It is testament to the tenacity and hard work of the owners – and their small team -  that they have been totally transformed so dramatically in such a short space of time.

Commendably, the eco-friendly owner is also doing his bit for the environment: a nearby field is full of solar panels which help source energy for the guest properties and the site also has a bio mass boiler which performs a similar task.

As well as Lucinda, the small team  here includes Armenia-born Aram, a long time friend of the owner who moved to this slightly isolated part of E England with his family from bustling London to live and work at the 50-acre Lakes Edge.

The famous Cotswolds isn’t too far away but with it becoming simply too popular, to the point of saturation, many folk are looking for an alternative peaceful getaway destination.

This delightful spot of Herefordshire – itself a wonderful and still unspoilt county bordering England and Wales – makes for an ideal relaxing bolt hole.

Historic towns such as Leominster, Hay-on-Wye and Ludlow are on the doorstep while there are also many National Trust properties and gardens to enjoy locally.

Getting to the region from Brussels and the rest of Belgium is relatively easy, with leading ferry operator DFDS a popular choice for mainland Continental travellers.

Northern Europe's largest shipping and logistics company, DFDS is an award winner (the world’s leading ferry operator in the 2015 World Travel Awards) and has seen a huge rise in both passenger and freight traffic volumes on its Dover-Calais and Dover-Dunkirk routes.

It now has a second ferry, the Côte des Flandres, on its Dover-Calais service which has increased its daily schedule of sailings between Dover and Calais to up to 30. When combined with DFDS’ three ferries on the Dover-Dunkirk route, the company now operates six ships in total on the Dover Strait, with up to 54 daily sailings to the two French ports. For a small extra charge you can upgrade to enjoy the delightful and peaceful on-board lounge and very useful priority boarding.

So, if you’re after a bit of much needed space to relax - be it for Valentine’s Day or any other time of the year – you’d do well to consider this still relatively unknown but wonderful part of England.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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