In the early 19th century, an ecstatic John Ruskin described the Lune Valley, seen from the heights near Kirkby Lonsdale in south Cumbria, as ?one of the loveliest scenes in England?. Following the course of the river southwards, his eye would have lit on a grand Georgian mansion set among trees, two miles downstream.
This was Burrow Hall , built on the site of a Roman fort in 1740, and still considered one of the finest early-Georgian houses to be found anywhere in the north of England. Now, following an intensive 10-year restoration programme, the historic Hall, listed Grade I, with its idyllic 205-acre estate, is for sale through Savills (020?7499 8644) and Davis & Bowring (015242 71711) at a guide price of £3.5 million.
In the 13th century, the estate was owned by the De Burgh family, before passing to the Tunstalls of nearby Thurland Castle. Sold in the early 1600s to the staunchly royalist Girlington family, the estate was later confiscated and passed on to a Parliamentarian officer who built the first house on the site; in 1690, it was bought by John Fenwick, a lawyer from Northumberland.
In 1740, Robert Fenwick, Attorney General and MP for Lancaster, as well as being a keen amateur archaeologist, commissioned the architect Westby Gill to rebuild the house in its present form. In 1945, the Fenwicks sold Burrow Hall to the 6th Earl Temple of Stowe, who restored much of the interior. On the death of his widow in 1974, the estate was sold again and, in 1996, was bought by the present owners, who have made further major improvements, including the addition of a spectacular atrium linking the house to its original, Grade II*-listed stable block. The latter has planning permission for two apartments.
The elegance of Burrow Hall?s Classical Georgian exterior is mirrored in the Baroque ceilings by Vassalli and Quadri, the marble fireplaces and the delicate cornicing of its five grand reception rooms; the sumptuous master suite, seven further bedrooms, three further bathrooms and a gym are all on the first floor.
The gardens and grounds are a romantic mix of small walled gardens, lawns, herbaceous borders and meandering paths, with views towards Leck Fell and Ingleborough. The rest of the estate comprises parkland, woodland, the 146-acre let Parkside Farm (for sale separately), and 510 acres of single-bank fishing on the Lune.
The dramatic landscape around Der- went Water and Borrowdale in western Lakeland is the setting for Millbeck Place at Millbeck, two miles north of Keswick, currently on the market through Carter Jonas (01539 722592) at a guide price of £850,000. Millbeck Place and its original wool-drying barn, both listed Grade II, stand in five acres of picturesque gardens and grounds.
It has four reception rooms, three bedrooms, a family bathroom, a guest suite and two attic rooms.
Nearby, Derwent Lodge, in the popular village of Portinscale, 1? miles west of Keswick, is a substantial seven-bedroom Georgian house, with equally splendid lake and fell views. Built by Joseph Pocklington in 1780, it stands in 11 acres of beautifully laid out gardens, and is on the market through Penrith Farmers? and Kidd?s (017687 74546) at a guide price of £975,000.
Wordsworth wrote no fewer than 34 sonnets about the waterfalls, hills and woodlands of the gentle Duddon Valley in Lakeland?s south-west corner. A mere £295,000 will buy a taste of gracious living within the walls of early-18th-century Duddon Hall near Broughton-in-Furness, formerly home to the lords of the manor of Dunnerdale and Seathwaite.
Currently for sale through Davis & Bowring (015394 47240), 17, Duddon Hall is one of four light and airy apartments in the main house, which has been painstakingly renovated by local builders A. W. Bowness. It has a large sitting room, a dining kitchen, three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and there are wonderful views of the Duddon, the surrounding woodland and the fells beyond.