Our farmhouse probably started life as a cottage in the 15th or 16th century and was then extended in the 18th century. It's been fully modernised to meet the requirements of 21st century life, so it combines the old-world charm of beams and wood stoves with the conveniences of central heating and 21st century domestic appliances. There are four reception rooms, a kitchen with a Rayburn stove which links to a parlour where we eat most of our meals, a utility room and a downstairs cloakroom. Upstairs there are three double bedrooms, one of which is ensuite, a single bedroom, family bathroom and a study. The house has a quirky layout with no fewer than three staircases, and a useful cellar where the 18th century farmer would have salted his pigs and stored his bacon.
Outside we have some wooden farm outbuildings, comprising stables and storage, and two acres of land, mostly down to grass. Near the house there is a large lawn togehter with a fruit orchard of young trees and a vegetable garden. We're busy planting the paddock with ash trees which we will coppice in the future to provide us with a constant supply of fuel for the wood stoves. We try to manage the paddock as a small nature reserve and encourage as much wildlife as we can.
Outside there is a very large lawn and an old apple orchard comprising two and a half acres in all, all very securely fenced. There is also a very ancient stable block, providing lots of outside storage.
We are on the edge of the village of Orleton, which is still very much the traditional English village, with a village shop, a school, a surgery and two pubs, both of which provide good food. Orleton is halfway between Ludlow, 6 miles to the north, and Leominster, 6 miles to the south. Both are fantastic little towns with a strong sense of community.
Ludlow has been described as the most perfect of all English towns and is well known for its architecture, not to mention its food festivals. It's set in the heart of the wonderful Shropshire countryside, not far from the Long Mynd and the Wrekin. You can explore Wales and the Midlands by car, including Stratford-upon-Avon and the north Cotswolds, while Wales with the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains is just 12 miles to the west.
We are James and Ann, both retired and in our early 60s. James trained as a teacher and after working as a Head of Department in schools, moved to the County Archive Department as Education and Outreach Manager. Ann trained as a social worker and after working with children and families as a fieldworker, spent the last ten years of her career training other social workers. We would now like to spend our early retirement years seeing as much of the rest of the world as we can.
We are experienced exchangers, having exchanged 17 times in three different continents, and every single one has been a really enjoyable experience. We are happy to go anywhere and are very much open to offers, being firm believers in serendipity. We are both non-smokers and it is important to us to exchange with other non-smokers.
We both speak French, and I speak some German and some Italian, and usually try to learn something of the language of the country in which we are staying. I am particularly interested in architecture, and we both love music and the theatre as well as eating and drinking!