Nature and architecture meet — or clash? – unforgettable in this £8m Yorkshire masterpiece

What was once a crumbling farmhouse has been transformed into The Valley Farm Estate, a truly spectacular 21st century home that really needs to be seen. Reporting by Penny Churchill.

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. When, in the early 2000s, Gill Farm at Gilling East in the Howardian Hills AONB, two miles south of Oswaldkirk and 15 miles north of York, came up for sale, it found no resonated with local buyers, who saw only a dilapidated stone farmhouse. and crumbling buildings surrounded by 60 acres of decaying woods.

But property developer Julian Pilling saw something different. Julian, who grew up in the area, saw the potential in the peaceful Hidden Valley which has no public rights of way, and in 2015 embarked on a seven-year effort in which he created the magical Valley Farm Estate. Now he is looking for new challenges; the estate is on the market with Savills at an indicative price of £8m.

At its heart stands the sleek, ultra-modern Main House, an 18,000 square foot symphony of concrete, glass and stone, which sits comfortably in the landscape against a dramatic backdrop of seven cascading spring-fed, healthy, well managed, mixed woodland and organic grassland grazed by several species of deer from the Woburn Abbey estate of the Duke of Bedford.

“After buying the valley and additional land to create the deer park, I wanted to build ‘a house of its time’, rather than a Georgian pastiche,” says Julian.

“But first, we set out to define the landscape, building the estate’s network of roads that now wind through the valley, then clearing the forest, removing dying ash trees and tapping the many natural springs to create lakes. if an important feature of the domain.’

The main residence – the result of an inspired collaboration between owner, Malton-based architect Mark Bramhall and Cardiff-based designer Julian Phillips – comprises six en-suite bedrooms, a self-contained three-bedroom adjoining apartment and a separate building housing a three-bedroom annex and swimming pool.

But these little details don’t really tell the story of this house. Recognized as a standout property in Pevsner’s latest edition, the home is a triumph of architectural and engineering design, with spacious rooms, voluminous double-height spaces and large roof lights that connect with nature within. exterior, always maintaining the atmosphere of a comfortable family home.

The building’s exterior materials are designed to blend into the surrounding landscape, with the stone used for the lower walls salvaged from the previous building and additional stone quarried on site.

The top cladding is limestone in a range of organic tones and the whole building is super insulated, with a green roof providing a place to stroll and absorb the ever-changing scene.

Inside, the home’s concrete frame complements the richness of full-height rosewood doors and furniture and limed oak floors, with color provided by a series of commissioned artworks from local artists.

In the interest of self-sufficiency, the property is supplied by its own spring water, with heating and hot water provided by a biomass boiler using wood harvested from the surrounding woods.

It is also possible to install a solar power system to replace the main power supply and, in the event of a power failure, a generator allows the estate to be 100% off the grid – considerations that cannot be overlooked in these conscious energy-moments.

Gill Farm is for sale via Savills at £8million – see more photos and details.


Check out the best country homes for sale this week that have hit the market via Country Life.

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