Thorney How sold by YHA

A local arts entrepreneur and his wife have bought the Lake District youth hostel for an undisclosed sum.

Thorney How, a 350-year-old former farmhouse in Grasmere, which first opened as a youth hostel in 1931, was purchased from the Youth Hostel Association by Taylor and Carolyn Nuttall.

The property was advertised on the online estate agency portal Rightmove at a guide Price of £700,000.

The couple have a two year plan to improve the existing accommodation and work is currently underway on remedial repairs and refurbishment of core spaces, as well as staff recruitment, and Thorney How will open again at Easter, catering for individual bookings, family rooms, small and large groups.

Nuttall, who is chief executive of the Lancaster-based arts charity Folly, said: "We intend to maintain, develop and extend the existing hostel provision, bringing our own personal experiences to create a unique and welcoming environment providing relaxed holiday accommodation.

"We will be upgrading the existing hostel and, subject to planning permission, also looking to make better use of some of the physical spaces on the site.

"Our offering will continue to be focused on our core element of traditional hostel customers, but we're also looking to make it a place that will be used for activities by guests during the day, rather than just a place for sleeping in at night. Because of my background in the arts, we will be looking to make it a place where arts and music and a cultural offering are very much at the forefront."

The Grade II-listed Thorney How, situated under Helm Crag, is made up of two buildings. The first was originally a farmhouse with barn built around 350 years ago and is of traditional Lakeland stone construction. It was extended to make a much larger property with more of a gentleman's residence style in the Victorian times.

Thorney How was purchased by the YHA in 1931 and has the distinction of being the first property that the YHA purchased. It remained in the ownership of the YHA as a working hostel for 80 years.

Nuttall was advised on fundraising for the purchase by Colin Johnson from the Kendal office of Moore & Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors.

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