Property: Apply here for a taste of the good life on a country estate

The gatehouses of large country estates may no longer have a practical role to play, but they make fantastic homes for those wanting something a little unusual. And you don't even have to opt for the rural life - cities too boast their share of lodges. By Gwenda Joyce

It was the mid-Victorian town dweller's dream - a property on a private estate, with gates and a gatekeeper. But nowadays many of these gatehouse properties, or lodges, are finding themselves on estate agents' books, their former role obsolete.

From those in a derelict, unloved state to those which have been painstakingly restored and refurbished, their appeal lies in the chance to own a distinctive "one-off" period house that is usually detached to boot.

Lodge properties are not restricted to remote country estates. Many are found in locations to which you could easily commute, and some even stand right at the heart of our towns and cities.

Fisher Wrathall, an estate agent in Lancaster, is currently selling a seven-bedroom Victorian residence set in five acres of grounds in Halton for pounds 435,000. Coincidentally, the property at the main gate, Carus Lodge Cottage, is also up for grabs, although the two houses have been separate entities for 15 years. The cottage is a late-Georgian detached property with two double bedrooms and original features, including slate hearths, and threepenny-bit and lozenge-paned windows.

Despite popular misconceptions, lodge properties usually come with their own private space around them, which can sometimes be substantial. Carus Lodge Cottage is set in its own grounds of a third of an acre, with a gravel driveway that has parking for several cars. Despite the rural surroundings, it is a mere two miles from Lancaster. It is freehold, at an asking price of pounds 118,000.

Eastgate Lodge, an early-19th-century property, is situated within "the golden triangle" of York, Harrogate and Leeds. Sandy Fagan bought the lodge, which is part of the larger estate of Grimstone Park, in its unrestored state, and has now completely refurbished it.

In estate agents' parlance it is extremely "compact", although Sandy Fagan has done her best to stretch it - it now has a mezzanine floor constructed above the sitting room, which houses the bedroom, while a bathroom has been clawed out of what was once an underground passage linking Eastgate Lodge with its unrestored twin across the driveway.

The lodge, which recently sold for pounds 69,000, and was marketed by Middleton Marketing, has its own lawn and a private, sunken patio. The "big house" no longer houses the aristocracy, and has already been converted into around a dozen smaller units, "So there is no element of `them and us'," says Fagan. Refreshingly, there were no vestiges of feudal property relations with the larger estate, and the property came freehold. There is, however, an annual pounds 185 service charge. "The lodge is small," admits Fagan. "but it does have character. Apart from a home for one person, or a couple, it can also be used as a pied-a-terre or weekend hideaway."

One category of lodge, the municipal-park lodge-house, means that lodge living is not incompatible with the buzz of the city. Birkenhead may not be New York, but it is a decidedly urban location - and there are links to the Big Apple. Designed by Sir James Paxton, Birkenhead Park so impressed one American, FL Olmsted, that he wrote admiringly of "this People's Garden", and used it as the model for Central Park.

Gothic Lodge, being sold by Whitegates estate agents, is one of several lodges, each with a distinct character - from Norman to Italian to Castellate- that sit on the park's perimeter. A four-bedroom property, it is a Grade- II-listed building, dating from 1845.

At one time, say the current owners, Alan and Joan Howells, it was an orphanage, and later was boarded up for 20 years before being bought and restored. "We fell in love with it when we first saw it," says Alan. "However, a friend nabbed it first. When it came up for sale again we snapped it up."

The former stables are now the kitchen, and the lodge has an open courtyard. The property is freehold, with its own private gardens to the front, side and rear and is currently on the market at pounds 123,500.

But doesn't living in a lodge-house make you feel you are living in too much of an outpost? "It is quiet and peaceful, but because there are other residents on the estate you see other faces around, so there is no sense of being too isolated," says Sandy Fagan.

In the case of Birkenhead Park, Paxton's original design, which remains largely intact, included not only meandering rivers and paths in what he intended to be an idealised version of a country landscape, but also land which could be sold for housing within the park.

There are a sizeable number of properties inside the boundaries, some in individual occupation, others converted into flats, and one residential care home. There is also a school. "There is definitely a feeling of community," says James Lester, head of parks at Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.

"There are even sub-communities - the residents of the Upper Park, for example, see themselves as one." The park itself is now a Conservation Area and a Grade-I-listed landscape, but it also remains a public park, and for some people the park buildings still retain the connection with their former role. "You can still get a knock on your door from the occasional lost and confused visitor asking for directions," says Lester.

Fisher Wrathall, 01524 68822;

Middleton Marketing, 01423 561965; Whitegates, 0151-608 2325

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

    £30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

    Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

    £34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

    Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

    Developer - WinForms, C#

    £280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game