Victorian Stables Courtyard setting in Derbyshire Village with 3 horses and 2 lively rescue dogs.
My husband Clive and I are very busy people currently working on a barn conversion, which is taking up a lot of our thoughts, time and energy just now. Clive is currently project managing our own 'Grand Design' and I work as a performance coach and trainer, delivering training by webinar or from our lovely training room in the historic World Heritage site of the Arkwright buildings in Cromford. We love having our dogs and horses around and love walking and nature. We enjoy growing our own vegetables and look forward to developing our garden. Our other main interest is travelling, having travelled around the world as backpackers in our youth, cruising or with a caravan. Because our animals mean so much to us we want to provide the best continuous care for them even whilst we are away. When we go away in the caravan the dogs come with us and friends take care of the horses, but when we go on cruises, the dogs usually go into kennels, so we would like them to be able to stay in their own environment with people who will look after them and the horses as we would.
Our Home & Location
We are in the process of completing a barn conversion in a Victorian brick built courtyard that contains 6 stables. We are located in Denby Village in Derbyshire, which is a short distance from the Denby Pottery Visitor's Centre. Denby Village is the birthplace of Sir John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal, and there is a memorial park that celebrates his work. We are in a rural area but there is a reasonable bus service that can take you to Ripley, the nearest town approximately 3 miles away and to Derby, approximately 8 miles away, where you can get connections by bus or train to Nottingham, Mansfield, Chesterfield (home of the Crooked Spire), Matlock and into the Peak District.
There is a good pub/restaurant 5 minute's walk from our house called the Denby Lodge where we regularly eat and another one further up the village called the Bull's Head. Both are very good value. In Ripley there are several Indian restaurants, Fish and Chip restaurants, more put/restaurants and several cafes and coffee shops. Further afield there are good English, Chinese, Italian and Moroccan restaurants and many other types. The nearest shop and Post Office is in the adjoining village of Kilburn, approximately a mile away and a doctor's surgery in Horsely Woodhouse about a mile away....
There are swimming pools, gyms, leisure centres and parks nearby too.
We are a short distance away from the Peak District and surrounded by beautiful countryside. The popular Spa town of Matlock Bath is less than 30 minutes away, continue a bit further to Bakewell, a lovely town and home of the famous Bakewell Pudding, onto Buxton with its beautiful Opera House or the stunning Chatsworth House, gardens and surrounding landscape.
The cities of Derby and Nottingham are both within easy reach. If you are looking for shopping, there are many factory outlets within the area.
Until the Barn Conversion is completed, we are living in the attached one bedroom Holiday Let which is one level. It has an open plan kitchen, dining and sitting area. There is underfloor heating and the accommodation is easy to maintain. Where appropriate, depending on the season, we would ask our house sitters to water any indoor plants, flowers and the vegetable garden and greenhouse, and they would be welcome to eat what is ready. + More info
Responsibilities & Pets
We would ask our house and pet sitters to respect and care for our home and animals as close to the way that we do. The holiday let is fairly low maintenance and day to day care and cleaning would be quite easy. We provide our dogs and horses with an environment that is as natural as can be and pride ourselves on high levels of animal husbandry and welfare. Our horses live out in the fields most of the time, coming into the stables more in the summer to escape the heat and flies and to have a break from the grass in order to prevent conditions such as laminitis. When they come into the stables they are given a bucket feed and then hay later. During the winter they have a 10 acre field and the responsibilities would be to check them in the field daily (at least once) to make sure that they are fit and well, sound and free from injury as well as behaving normally. During this time it is an opportunity to check that fences are secure. If the vet or hoof trimmer is due to see them then the horses would be brought into the courtyard and into their stables. Otherwise, there is not much more to do.
The dogs would require people who are experienced and confident and familiar with positive reinforcement training methods. Sammy, the Border Collie, was badly treated as a puppy and needs sensitive handling, following our experience and approach with him. He is incredibly intelligent, obedient and loving with the people he trusts. When people follow our guidance on getting to know him he is happy and relaxed with them. Lily, our Patterdale Terrier, is also a rescue dog but is very laid back, cute and cuddly. She likes to get into bed with us in the morning but if that's not your thing it can easily be avoided! She is very friendly with adults and children (Sammy gets overwhelmed by children and we keep him under very close supervision, on a lead, if children are around.) Lily is an escapologist so ensuring that she is always contained in the courtyard or back paddock, with all doors and gates checked that they are locked is vitally important. She will go and visit her friends in the kitchen at the Denby Lodge if the opportunity arises! On walks, she always has her harness and lead on.