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Low Nest Barn is a former bastle house located near Alston.

Low Nest is an historic building with many interesting features.  It may date from as early as 1611, though the date stone over the porch door reads 1700.  The original entrance to the house is thought to be within the porch on the east side of the building, though the porch itself is early, illustrated by the small window and the stone shelf.  

1700 date above door
Small Window
At its heart it is thought to be a ‘bastle’ house (fortified farmhouse) which was then extended in the early 18th century to provide additional accommodation for the influx of miners who came to Alston Moor to extract iron and lead ore (it is possible to make out the original roof line on the south gable of the house). The roof was raised and extra rooms were built on the western side.
At basement level is an ‘undercroft’, originally a cobbled byre used for cattle.
This is accessed by a door with a 4-centred arched lintel – the stone walls at this level are more than a metre thick.
Cobbled Byre
On the western (river) side, accessed through a stone arch, is a cellar with tree trunks spanning the roof and narrow ventilation slits in the walls.  
Stone Arch
The main living area of the house is over the undercroft below.  A barn was constructed on the south side of the house, though we have been unable to find a likely date for this.  This barn now forms the majority of the self-catering unit, though one of the en-suite bedrooms is under the main house and over the cellar mentioned above.  This room contains an old range, indicating that at some point this room was used as a kitchen.
w Wallace
Low Nest was purchased by us in June 2013 and has undergone considerable work.  We have tried to balance modern day requirements with retaining as much of the original charm as possible.  The undercroft now houses a utility and store area, along with a shower room.  This necessitated digging out the old cobbles and about 20 tons of soil in order to gain the necessary head height.  Getting drainage pipes through the metre-thick stone walls was not an easy task for our builders!  The cellar on the western side now doubles as a boiler room for the plumbing and heating system, though the original tree trunk beams have been left untouched.  The barn has been totally renovated, beginning with filling in the two inspection pits in the floor – it had been used as a garage for servicing land rovers in its recent history.  
2012 september first viewing
2012 september original interior
2012 september original riverside elevation
2014 august roof-removed
2014 september roof back on
2015 january interior
2015 september
septic tank
Low Nest’s spectacular setting in the River South Tyne’s valley, and the history, character and quirkiness of the building are the main reasons why we chose this property, having moved up to Alston Moor in March 2015 from Guernsey in the Channel Islands. We hope that, should you choose to come to us for your holiday, you will enjoy it as much as we do.

John and Pauline de la Mare