Tucked away amongst the outcrops of Charnwood Forest you’ll find Stoneywell. This stone cottage was built between 1897 -1899 by Leicester-born architect Ernest Gimson.
Built originally for his brother, Gimson designed the pretty house to appear as if it was growing among the craggy landscape of Charnwood Forest.
The house was constructed using stone either found abandoned nearby or from the local outcrops, some were even re-used from dry stone walls already on the site. It was built as part of Arts and Crafts Movement, a British art and design movement supporting a revival of traditional handicrafts and a return to a simpler way of life. The movement was based on local needs and reflecting traditions based on Gimson’s dream of a life away from the bustle of the city.
The house remained in the Gimson family until 2012. The following year, the National Trust announced that it had been able to acquire the house, contents, gardens and woodland. The beautiful and historical property was opened to the public in February 2015 and is the only National Trust house in Leicestershire.
Sitting on a slope and facing south-west over the rugged rocks, the external stones have been left in a natural state and the surrounding area and gardens left to grow wild and continue to give the illusion of being part of its surroundings.
Today this impressive cottage is still furnished with many original pieces including a dining table and ladder-back chairs.
The rooms, windows and roofline slope downwards following the contours of the hill and inside many of the rooms are on different levels.
The house was once a home to Ernest’s great-nephew, Donald and his wife Ann along with their children. In fact, you’re still able to see a working model railway, children’s books and games from the 1950s which have been brought in to show what the interior may have looked like at the time.
Several objects from the Gimson family have also been passed down and others have been loaned and gifted to bring the past of Stoneywell back to life, making this house altogether rather magical.
After exploring the house, you can tuck into freshly baked cakes, biscuits and scones in the tea-room in the rear of the Stables building.
If the weather’s good, it’s worth bringing a blanket and sitting in the gardens where you can enjoy stunning views of Charnwood Forest. Alternatively, wander through the ancient woodland and enjoy the small but beautiful formed orchard.
To book a visit Stoneywell, please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk