Whitelee farmhouse in Northumberland was originally a coaching inn and still has the old coach house and stables attached.
Around 1898, Catcleugh Reservoir was created to provide fresh drinking water to Tyneside where cholera had become a problem. The farm was bought by the Water Board and the inn closed to avoid pollution.
Two of Whitelee’s self-catering holiday cottages, Oak and Birch, were built about this time; Rowan was a later addition, but all three were shepherds’ cottages. About twenty years ago, the Water Board sold the farm in lots and the Northumberland Wildlife Trust bought all the fell land to the south of Whitelee and it was designated as a National Nature Reserve, one of the biggest in the country. Whitelee cottages overlook this unique environment.
Whitelee continues as a sheep farm, but is run with wildlife in mind. Hedges and thousands of native, deciduous trees have been planted in the last 17 years and ponds created bringing in a wealth of birdlife, including the popular barn owls which you can watch on the Naturewatch cameras.
Whitelee nestles in the foothills of the Cheviot Hills and the pictures below give a flavour of the views around the farm. This is a unique Northumbrian environment and we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.