Manor Holding Cottage

Access Statement

Introduction

Manor Holding is a Grade II Listed, small half-timbered cottage farmhouse, in the heart of the ancient forest of Wyre.  It stands half a kilometre from the nearest tarmac paved public road (itself a winding country lane, slippery in winter, steep in places and with numerous blind corners).  The cottage is set in 2ha (5.5 acres) of wild flower meadows and ancient orchards (Site of Special Scientific Interest), and reached by a 2.8m (9’4”) minimum width, rough forest track with passing places, named Kingswood Lane  (classified as a bridleway), leading to a narrow (2.3m / 7’6”) grassy drive between overhanging hedges (classified as a public footpath and part of the “Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark Way” long distance footpath).

Information

For further general information about the holiday accommodation at Manor Holding or about the surrounding area please see our website at www.wyreforestcottage.com .  For more detailed information including availability please contact us by:

Email:              relax@wyreforestcottage.com

Mobile:            44(0) 797 026 0010

Telephone:      44(0) 165 288 3609

Post:                Nigel and Penny Dobson-Smyth

32 Church Street

Hagley

Stourbridge

Worcestershire

DY9 0NA

UK

Information is normally emailed or posted in the form of a black and white leaflet.  This can be provided in large format if requested.  Photographs in addition to those on various websites advertising Manor Holding, both of the inside and exterior of the cottage, are available by email on request.

More detailed information, including directions to the cottage, is provided with the receipts for each of your payments, building up a mass of useful information likely to assist you in preparing for your stay.

A small well organised library of information about local attractions and wildlife etc, is kept in the cottage.  Essential information is available in larger format.

Booking

A hyperlink to the booking form can be found on the Booking Page of the Wyre Forest Cottage web site.  This form can be completed and submitted on line or printed and submitted by post.  Alternatively all information including the booking form is available by surface post on request.

Provided Manor Holding Cottage or Manor Holding Byre is still available for the relevant dates, bookings can be secured up to 8 weeks before arrival, by submitting a completed booking form, and payment of £75 deposit for each week or part week to be booked.

The balance of the cost for your stay should be forwarded to arrive not later than 6 weeks before your arrival.  Failing which your booking will lapse.  (A lapsed booking may be reinstated on payment of the outstanding balance up to 1 week before your arrival, provided no-one else has booked the cottage in the meantime)

If the relevant holiday accommodation unit is still available booking may be made within 8 weeks of arrival by submitting a completed booking form together with full payment for the period to be booked.  This is termed a “Full Payment Booking”.

Payment

Payment may be made by a variety of means for deposit, balance or full payment bookings, including:

  • Cheque (Personal, Business, or Traveller’s) made out in Pounds Sterling (GBP) to NW & PAG Dobson-Smyth and posted to 32 Church Street, Hagley, Stourbridge, DY9 0NA, UK; or
  • Bank Transfer to IBAN: GB54BARC 2046 061 392 4572; or

 

  • PayPal using the PayPal Single Week Deposit Button on the Wyre Forest Cottage website Booking Page (£75 including VAT per click); or
  • Emailed PayPal invoice for balance and full payment booking payments; or
  • Cash in Pounds Sterling (GBP) or Euros.

Alternatively you can book online via www.cottagesdirect.co.uk , but in this case different rates and terms apply.  See Stilwells/Cottages Direct website for details.

Both PayPal and Cottages Direct accept a wide variety of cards or other payment methods.

 

We do not refund payments in case of cancellation, unless the cancellation is occasioned by ourselves or alternative paying guests are found to take the relevant period.  Guests are therefore advised to take out holiday insurance. (Provided by others)

Travel

The nearest (10ml by road) mainline railway station to  is Kidderminster, but the Severn Valley Railway operates a regular steam train service from there to Bewdley and Arley, both closer (5&4ml) to Manor Holding through the forest via Sustrans’ Mercian Way (National Cycle Route 45).

For mainline train times contact National Rail Enquiries on 44 (0) 8457 48 49 50 or online at www.nationalrail.co.uk/.

For Severn Valley Rail train times check online at http://www.svr.co.uk/CalendarTimetable.aspx

There is a taxi rank at Kidderminster Station.  To prebook a taxi or for longer distances including airports:

Abbey Taxis: 44(0) 1299 403 393

Bewdley Private Hire: 44(0) 1299 400 000 or 44(0) 796 217 9657

Detailed directions to Manor Holding and a simplified location map will be issued with the receipt for your booking payment.  Please ask if you want directions via Sustrans’ National Cycle Route 45 as well.

Arrival by bus is not recommended for those with a lot of luggage, as it is a long walk to the cottage from the nearest bus stops at Button Bridge (2ml /3km) and Far Forest (2.5ml/4km).

Bus services from Far Forest west to Cleobury Mortimer and Ludlow or east to Bewdley and Kidderminster (town centre bus station) include Service Number 292.

Bus services from Button Bridge north to Highley and Bridgnorth or east to Bewdley, Kidderminster (town centre bus station) and Stourbridge Town station include the 125.

For bus timetable information contact Traveline West Midlands on 44(0) 871 200 22 33.

Arrival

Together the two units at Manor Holding have private parking for 6 cars or more in a central yard, but the drive at 2.3m (7’6”) is rather narrow for larger motorhomes or horse boxes.

The parking yard is paved with water bound macadam, topped with loose pea gravel except adjacent the Byre entrance (to facilitate wheelchair access to the Byre).

The yard has movement sensitive automatic lighting; and is sheltered from wind by the Byre on the north, the Cottage on the south, a high bank and hedge to the east and ruined stone outhouse to the west.

Main Cottage Entrance

The principal entrance is via the west door at the lower end of the house, and is visible from the bottom of the yard.  There is a movement sensitive exterior light overhead.

The door is 3m (10’) from the nearest parking space and reached via a 1.2m (4’) wide brick path flush with the yard.  To prevent ingree of water, the carved stone threshold rises 5cm (2”) above foot path level in two 2.5cm (1”) steps 20cm (8”) apart.  The door opens inward towards the right to give a 65cm (26”) width clear opening.  The key hole is on the left of the door, at a height of 107cm (43”) above the threshold.

Inside the west door a large doormat is recessed into the wax polished hand-made terracotta floor tiles.  These large tiles are by nature shallowly domed and variable giving a slightly uneven surface.  There strong warm colouring contrasts with the off white walls and honey coloured oak doors and skirting.

Yard Door

A new doorway accessing the boiler room from the top of the yard is not yet available for guest use.

Garden Door

 A wider (81.5cm / 321/2” clear opening), outward opening door leads directly from the Sitting Room to the Garden on the south side of the Cottage.  Just like the west door this has two 2.5cm (1”) “steps” to keep out water.

Kitchen / Patio Door

The kitchen door leading directly from kitchen to patio has the same threshold design as all the other external doors, to provide wheelchair accessibility while keeping out the rain.  A high level external lamp outside this door lights patio and garden.  The switch for this light is just inside the kitchen / patio door, next to the switch for the nearest kitchen ceiling lamp.

Entrance Hall

Inside the west door one enters a small hallway with coat pegs all along the wall on the right above a bench with handy shoe rack underneath.

On the left as you enter the Cottage is the stair to the first floor (upstairs).  Light switches for the stair and hall are just inside the external door on the left at a height of 130cm (4’4”).  There is a double wall bracket light on each side of the hall.  Each lamp has an individual switch for energy saving below the compact fluorescent bulb, as do most lamps in the Cottage.

(A similar arrangement of light switches applies to all doors in the house except bathroom, where a cord pull hangs at arm’s reach directly in front of you as you enter the room.)

Beyond the stair opening is an oak dresser with 3 drawers containing: comprehensive, well organised information on local attractions; board games; and children’s toys respectively.

On top of the dresser is the visitors’ book filled with comments and advice from previous guests.  We find this an invaluable source of information and always read the comments as soon as guests leave so that we can act immediately to rectify any problems noted, before the next guests arrive, later that day.

The space between bench and dresser provides a gangway of 107cm /42” clear width.  There is one opening window.  A double power socket (240V square pin ) is located under the bench.  A dry powder fire extinguisher is located on the left side of the dresser at the foot of the stairs.

The main trip switch cabinet (modern equivalent of the “fuse box”) for the Cottage (and override trip-switch for the Byre) is located above head height at the foot of the stairs.  A slip of paper in the cabinet, details which areas of the house are controlled by which switches.

Broom Cupboard

A walk-in cupboard under the stairs, stocks cleaning and ironing equipment, spare folding chairs, garden games and spare programmable heaters on wheels.  (The cupboard door provides a 57cm / 22.8” clear opening)  The cupboard light switch is in the hall to the left of the cupboard door.

Study / TV Room

To the right of the Hall is the Study or TV Room, which can also be used as a downstairs bedroom, children’s play room if required.  This room is furnished with a leather sofa plus adult and child’s desks with chairs in proportion.  A portable mains powered music CD and tape player is provided. (TV, DVD and video player, are shared with the sitting room.  A separate portable mains radio is provided in the master bedroom).  The study contains a WiFI hub providing broadband internet for the whole Cottage.  Six double electrical power sockets (12 total) are provided at high and low level.  There are 2 single wall bracket lamps in the study and a battery operated smoke alarm.

Hooks on the walls allow this room to be used for drying clothes during inclement weather.  There are two opening windows.

The study door provides 63.5cm (251/2”) clear opening.  Like almost all the internal doors to habitable rooms within the cottage, this is a fire resistant door and therefore heavy.  All such internal doors have easy to use lever handles, but are not self-closing.

These doors are also effective sound insulators, minimising sound transmission within the noise, when closed.  This effect is increased by sound and fire insulation within internal walls and ceiling voids.   NB. This can make it difficult to hear audible alarms or telephones (mobile phone reception is practically zero within the house anyway).  The occasional intrusive external noise is minimised within the Cottage by high performance double glazing and enhanced insulation within the external walls and roof.

There is normally a minimum of 125cm (50”) clear space between items of furniture in the study.  The room is equipped with a battery powered smoke alarm.  The under-floor central heating in Hall and Study are controlled by the same thermostat and timer located within the Study.

Directions for use of the WiFi and the setting up CD are kept in the BT box behind the study sofa, next to the WiFi hub.

Sitting / Dining Room

Beyond the hall, in the centre of the Cottage is the Sitting Room, the largest room in the house.  The hall to sitting room door has a clear width of 68cm (27”).  Like hall and study this room has wax polished terracotta flooring, with under floor central heating, but a separate thermostat and timer.  It also has a very efficient wood burning stove and adjacent dry log and kindling store, both located within a traditional inglenook.  The stove is raised on a steel pedestal providing easy access for lighting and refuelling, while seated.  It has a flat top, glazed door and very simple lever controls with comfortable wooden handles.  It is very easy to light.

There are three tilting LED spot lights in the inglenook, switched on the left of the inglenook.  But the main room lighting is provided by 6 ceiling mounted swivelling and tilting LED spot lights to provide bright light where it is needed, but give softer, more relaxing, reflected light elsewhere.  These lamps are individually switched with over-ride switches next to the doors to hall, garden and kitchen.

The long dining table seats up to 8 people comfortably.  4 traditional wooden chairs are provided by the table, but 8 other suitable upright chairs can be found elsewhere in the house if needed.  In the table are 4 drawers containing respectively: table cutlery; first aid and emergency equipment; table clothes; and place mats.

On the south side of the Sitting Room is a seating area with two leather sofas, and orthopaedic easy chair, nesting and chess tables, TV, DVD and video player.  Instruction booklets are provided.  4 double power sockets are provided (8 total).

The Sitting Room has 5 opening windows and a 91.5cm (36.5”) clear opening accessible door onto the brick paved garden path.  It also has a 69cm (27.6”) clear opening door into the kitchen reached up a 1 in 20 ramp, tiled in contrasting smaller terracotta tiles, to reduce slipping and provide visual and tactile contrast with the main floor.

There is 198cm (79”) clear head room beneath ceiling beams in the Sitting Room.

Kitchen

The Kitchen has an 89.5cm (35.8”) high stainless steel double sink with integral double draining boards.  Under the sinks is a deep curtained shelf with cleaning equipment.  Under the draining boards are a washing machine and tumble dryer respectively, both front opening.

To the left of the sinks is a good size freezer with side opening door (opens from right to left) at floor level, and an integrated capacious fridge with similar door above.  The highest shelf in the fridge is 147cm (58.8”) from the floor.  Overall height of the fridge & Freezer is 180cm (72”).

Above the right hand draining board is an alcove, at the back of which is the cast iron door to the old bread oven.  At the top of this alcove an open chimney to take smoke from the fire required to heat the bread oven.  The oven has not been used for its intended purpose in decades but makes a handy wine cellar.

To the right of the bread oven alcove is a range of 5 shelves reaching up to the ceiling and bearing a diverse range of crockery.  A short wooden step ladder is provided by the waste bin to assist you in reaching items on the top shelf, but for those who like something to hold onto when climbing steps a taller aluminium ladder is provided by the fridge.  Ceiling height is higher than most other rooms in the cottage at 234cm (93”).

Opposite the sink is a kitchen counter 90cm (36”) high, with a deep food storage shelf underneath, equipped with 4 capacious, washable, food storage containers.  There are 4 narrower shelves above the counter.  A little emergency canned food is supplied on the top shelf.  There is a minimum of 110cm (44”) between sinks and counter.  There is a double electric power socket below the counter with fused isolating switch above; and 2 double sockets above the counter to the left of this isolating switch.  To the right of the isolating switch is the switch for the immersion heater which has a tell-tale light incorporated. (This immersion heater should only be needed if the gas boiler fails and is capable of heating the whole house as well as providing hot water).  To the left of the 2 sockets is another switch with a tell-tale light, for the big chimney top air extractor fan.

To the left of the counter is a dual fuel cooker with cooker hood above.  The cooker hood also incorporates a rather noisier extractor fan with 4 speeds (marked 1-6!) and two spot lights all switched electronically on the leading edge of the hood.

The 60cm (24”) wide cooker has a four gas burner hob and two capacious fan assisted electric ovens with full width grab handle rails on each and twist controls easily accessible on the front of the cooker.  Left hand controls for hob and right hand for ovens. The top oven door opens downward and the lower oven opens from right to left.  The two ovens share 3 adjustable shelves.  The top oven also has a double element grill, turn central control anticlockwise for left hand grill only and clockwise for both elements, each has 4 settings.  There is a digital clock with the controls on the front of the cooker, whose main oven is fully programmable.

To “automatically” light each gas hob burner push the relevant control knob while turning clockwise.  The gas supply will be automatically cut off if the glass cooker lid is lowered.

NB. Because the gas supply is propane which burns hotter than natural gas, the normal low setting on the gas hob controls (fully clockwise) is too hot for gentle simmering, to achieve gentle simmering it is necessary to turn the control anticlockwise until the flame is almost on the point of going out.

The kitchen has 2 ceiling pendant lamps each switched separately beside the nearest door.  (Note that the switch closest to the kitchen/patio door controls the external patio light)

Proposed Downstairs Toilet

It is intended that a new door be opened up between kitchen and boiler room for next year.  This will give access to the propane gas fired boiler and proposed downstairs toilet, which is under construction between guests.  It will also provide more direct access to the parking yard.

Fuse Box

Above the foot of the stairs is the main trip switch cabinet (“fuse box”) for the property including out-houses and Byre.  The cabinet is located above head height at 200cm (80”) above floor level, and has a side hung door opening left to right.  Inside this and just within reach of taller adults is a range of trip switches behind a clear, drop down plastic screen.  The red switch at the extreme left of this row is the master switch for the house.  All switches to the right are subsidiary switches for named circuits.  A slip of paper within the cabinet details which areas of the house are covered by each circuit.  The drop down plastic screen must be closed before shutting the wooden cabinet door.

A dry powder fire extinguisher suitable for electrical fires is located adjacent the foot of the stairs.

Stairs

There  is a single straight flight of waxed oak stairs to the first floor landing, leading up from the left of the hall as you enter the cottage via the west door.

These stairs have a single round section hand rail at 80cm (32”) height, of 4.3cm (1.72”) diameter, on the left as you ascend; and a minimum clear width of 68cm (27”).  There is no door at either top or bottom of the stair, but a 223x157cm  (89”x 62”)landing at the top (disregarding furniture).  Each step has a 20cm (8”) riser, 22cm (8.8”) going, and 72cm (28.8”) width tread.

These stairs form the principal fire escape route from the 1st floor as the casement windows are too small for escape by many adults.  Stairs and 1st floor have slightly enhanced under floor insulation against noise and fire.  The stair well has a smoke alarm incorporating an emergency light.  During daylight it is it by an opening window at 1st floor level, giving views to the north; and at night by a small iron chandelier.

Landing

The landing is lit by the stair window and by a twin lamp wall bracket.  The switch for which is located with the upper stair light switch to the right of the head of the main stairs as you ascend.  The landing contains a large Chinese carved wooden chest filled with spare bedding, a wooden carver style kitchen chair, and behind this a foam fire extinguisher.  All 1st floor rooms open off this landing, from which the attic stair also springs.  The attic stair is a very steep “staggered” stair so is closed off to guests for safety reasons.  The attic is not let to guests, but there is a smoke alarm above the stair well.

Toilet / Bathroom

A combined bathroom and toilet is located off the first floor landing.  The door clear width is 61.5cm (24.6”).  Pull cord light switch at arm’s reach directly in front of you as you enter the room.  This operates two wall lamp brackets (double and single) above head height.  The bathroom has a higher (variable) ceiling height than other rooms to facilitate use of the hand held shower in the bath.

The conventional 60cm (24”) high, 145cm (5’ nominal) internal length bath, which has no hand rails, has a mixer tap with integral hand held shower / hair washing attachment, which is also convenient for use with the adjacent large hand basin.  Clear passage width beside the bath is 73cm (29”)

There is a full length shower curtain to screen the bath, but the waxed oak floor is not water proof, so please ensure the curtain hangs inside the bath before use of the shower.

The toilet seat is 43cm (17.2”) high and has only 40cm (16”) clearance to the sides.  The flush has a right handed lever action (facing the toilet), while the hand basin is diagonally in front and to the right when sitting on the toilet.  There is 40cm (16”) clearance between basin and toilet bowl, but the hot tap (closest) is 74cm (29.6” horizontal distance) from the toilet seat.

There is a cupboard under the capacious hand basin [internal dimensions 45x25cm (18”x10”)], containing various useful items including potty and no-slip rubber shower mat.  A much larger under-stair cupboard opposite the bath contains spare duvets.

In case of  emergency the bathroom door lock can be forced gently without excessive strength being required or damage done and easily reinstated.  There is a single opening window, dating from 1720, which is a little draughty, helping to keep the room well aired.  (It is easier to open and close if one rests one hand on the window sill while lifting the lower window handle)

Main Bedroom

The 71cm (28.5”) wide door into the main bedroom scrapes the low ceiling.  There is 180cm (72”) minimum head room under the low ceiling beam in the middle of the room. The floor slopes gently to the west.  The hand made American “Queen Size” double bed is 50 cm (20”) high, 200cm (80”) long, and 180cm (72”) wide.  (larger than English “King Size”).  Due to the low ceiling and beam it is unwise to stand on the bed!

Both over stuffed and lightly stuffed feather pillows are provided as standard.  Hypoallergic non feather pillows are available on request.  Sheets and duvet covers are pure cotton.  ‘Autumn’ and ‘summer’ duvets supplied have ribbons at corners to facilitate combining them for added warmth in winter.  Mattress protectors are fitted as standard.  Spare linen and woollen blankets are kept in each bedroom.  Cotton counterpanes are fitted to keep beds dust free.

The bed slides easily on the polished floor if more space is required on one side, giving a maximum transfer space available to one side of 100cm (40”) with 37cm (14.8”) remaining on the other side.  The free manoeuvring space clear of doors and furniture is 135x180cm (54”x72”).

A wardrobe, chest of drawers and two bedside tables are provided.  The room has a smoke alarm, and 5 double wall lamp brackets, plus 2 flexible stalk bedside lamps.  There are 2 opening windows with views south and west.

Small Bedroom

The 63cm (25”) wide door has headroom of 180cm (72”). The twin beds are each 36cm (14.4”) high, by 200cm (80”) long and 85cm (34”) wide.

The room has a wardrobe and small cupboard, but no chest of drawers.  It has a smoke alarm.

The single opening window looks south over the garden.

Cot

2 baby’s cots are available on request.  They come with mattress and mattress cover but no other bedding.  The cots have barred sides to prevent baby falling out.  The smaller cot has one side that can be lowered to reduce back strain, the larger cot meets USA regulations so has both sides fixed.

Garden

There is an enclosed south facing cottage garden; with 2 brick paved seating areas to catch afternoon and morning sun respectively, 2 lawns, all linked by brick paved paths between mixed shrub and herbaceous borders, with ornamental and fruit trees, soft fruit and herbs.  Please help yourself to fruit and herbs in season.  A portable “Kadai” barbeque is provided, with charcoal and barbeque cooking tools.

An unfinished 2 storey stone extension provides additional shelter and privacy to the northeast of the garden, but is not accessible to guests.

Orchards and Wild Flower Meadows

Two ancient orchards part of the Wyre Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), adjoin the Cottage within the wider Manor Holding grounds, as do two wild flower meadows and an area of young woodland with a shallow wildlife pond, about 100m north of the cottage.

Wyre Forest

To the south and west the grounds are bordered by ancient woodland, part of the Wyre Forest SSSI.  To the north and east several other small holdings make a patchwork of fields within the wider forest.  A network of foot, bridle and cycle paths (including the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark Way, Sabrina Way, Mercian Way [Sustrans’ National Cycle Route 45], and several other long distance routes) laces the forest.  These paths vary in quality from broad forest roads to informal animal trails, but the better quality trails link directly to the cottage door.  It is easy to get lost within the forest so guests should take compass and map (supplied) when venturing any distance.  Please note that mobile phones tend not to work in the forest.

Parents should assess for themselves the safety of the innumerable exciting play opportunities available, including exploring, informal play equipment, tree climbing etc and set clear limits for their children.

Additional Information

A welcome pack file containing more useful information in large font and A3 format is provided in the Cottage; containing essential, emergency, useful and merely interesting information relating to the Cottage and it’s environs.  This is supplemented by a comprehensive and catalogued selection of brochures and other data about local attractions and available activities.

The is very poor mobile phone reception in the area of the cottage except at the top of the hill, and no reception within the Cottage.  A landline phone can be provided by arrangement.  Please refer to our booking form or website prices page (www.wyreforestcottage.com/prices) for prices.

Wireless broadband internet access is available free, but bandwidth is very limited due to the distance to the nearest telephone exchange, and internet coverage can be disrupted for prolonged periods by power fluctuations.

We ask guest to refrain from smoking indoors.

Pets are welcome but must be booked in advance.  Please refer to the booking form or website prices page (www.wyreforestcottage.com/prices) for prices.  However we ask that pets be discouraged from going upstairs, or chewing or climbing on the furniture.

Dogs must be kept under control at all times in the vicinity of Manor Holding as sheep and wild animals frequently graze within the wider grounds and surrounding fields.

We welcome your feedback, to help us continually improve the service we provide.  If you have any comments or reactions that you feel may be useful or encouraging, please add them to the previous comments within the visitor comment book in the Cottage or write to us at relax@wyreforestcottage.com or by post to Nigel and Penny Dobson-Smyth, 32 Church Street, Hagley, Stourbridge, DY9 0NA, UK.

We hope you have a wonderful time at Manor Holding Cottage.

Yours,

Nigel and Penny Dobson-Smyth

Guest Comment

It was a pleasure to stay at the Byre this week, it was very peaceful and well equipped, so thank you. ... Once again thank you and I hope to return as soon as I am able.

Steven + Mike,

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