Read about the Railway Cottage
The Railway Cottage can be found in Frosterley, which is a small picturesque village in the heart of Weardale and has been described as the last wilderness and is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Its natural wildness and extensive forests in medieval times made the area a highly prized hunting ground of deer and wild boar. The Prince Bishops of the Area were the landlords and hunted primarily for sport although farms in Weardale and the well stocked rivers also supplied the Church with revenue for its Castles (Auckland Castle was originally the Hunting Lodge of the Bishop of Durham) and produce for its table.
Originally an area rich in minerals, fluorspar, limestone and lead which were valuable during the industrial revolution. Weardale, is also famous for a unique form of marble, which can be found most easily on river banks or quarry’s around Frosterley. The `marble' is formed from a black, carboniferous limestone which is speckled with the remains of prehistoric plants and marine creatures. These tiny beasts appear in the form of sea shells and for this reason Frosterley marble is known to local quarrymen as `Cockle'. Frosterley marble can be found as a decoration in churches throughout the world and some of the best examples of the marble may be seen in Durham Cathedral. We have some impressive ‘lumps’ of Frosterley marble in the courtyard next to the conservatory – when wet examples of ‘cockles’ can be seen most clearly, there are also one or two pieces of local fluorspar, collected by ‘geological’ family members over the years.
The Weardale Railway developed to carry the lead and other materials to towns for processing, use or further export. Details of the rich history of the area can be found at the various museums and exhibitions mentioned in the guide. For Railway enthusiasts you can see we are very close to the heritage line – just look out of the side bedroom window! The trains run from Stanhope just three miles away and the highly regarded Locomotion Museum is located in Shildon approximately 20 miles away. Another heritage steam railway is located in Alston – The highest Market Town in England and is well worth a visit too.
Railway Cottage as the name suggests has close links with the Railway and the Quarry. Built around 1825 the cottage was originally two’ back to back’ cottages situated on its own. It is thought that the cottage was built by the Quarry to house its foremen – the side window in the utility was the ticket office for workers coming to hand in their ‘tickets’ to be recorded for their day wage and some would then catch a ride on the quarry train to nearby villages if they lived further afield. Over time the street of ‘The Batts’ grew and houses were added on as the street and the Quarry industry grew.
We bought Railway Cottage in 2006 and we use it as our family holiday home with family visiting from as far afield as Seattle, USA. We love it here and we hope you do too. However, if you have any problems or queries please let us know as soon as possible so that we can make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as we can.