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Report - - Windlestone Hall, Rushyford – August 2020 | Residential Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Windlestone Hall, Rushyford – August 2020


WExploreNorthEast

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
We knew Windlestone Hall had been quite a popular venue for exploration for those in the North East, however we had to try it for ourselves.

History

Windlestone Hall is a 19th-century country house situated near Rushyford, County Durham. It is a Grade II listed building. The house and estate were used as a prisoner of war camp during World War II, a satellite camp of Harperley POW Camp 93. Durham County Council acquired the Hall around 1954 and, between 1957 and 2006, it was occupied by Windlestone Hall School, a local authority residential special school.

The school closed in 2006 and was sold for £240,000 by Durham County Council to William Davenport, a private investor, in 2011. Durham County Council was criticised for the sale, especially when Windlestone Hall was put back on the market three years later for £2,500,000 – over ten times the previous sale price. Davenport, the investor, was jailed for 6 years in 2016 for using forged documents to acquire a mortgage when purchasing the house and estate, and the property was repossessed by the bank.

Windlestone Hall was listed for auction with an entry guide price of £400,000 in July 2017. On 17 July 2017 it was removed from the auction and marked as "sold prior to auction" to an, as yet, unknown buyer. The BBC later reported that the Hall had been purchased Carlauren, a property developer, for £850,000; it intended to turn the Hall into a high-end care home and attracted £8.5m in investment through the sale of 53 residential units which investors would lease to care-home residents. The BBC reported in October 2019, however, that the property was "still derelict" and not operating as a care home.

Having been exposed to the elements since the major roof metal (lead) theft of 2017, the building is now considered to be beyond economical repair - costing more to repair than its completed value.
In November 2019 Durham County Council secured the property and gave notice for no access due to safety. The interior is deteriorating rapidly although it seems work has started by someone, as yet unknown, to secure the exterior from further damage and deterioration.

In July 2020 the Hall and Estate were purchased by a dedicated preservation trust, a registered UK charity, with the sole aim of protecting, restoring and preserving the heritage assets. The Trust have ambitious plans for complete restoration of Windlestone Hall to its former glory as a significant private residence, reinstatement of the walled gardens and grounds, returning the designed landscape and reinstating a working and viable country estate with significant access for the public.


The Explore

We had heard about this place quite a bit in the past and had also heard it had been sealed up, however we thought we might as well try. After looking on Google Earth at where the hall was situated, we thought we found a direct route through the trees and over the fields. In short, it didn’t go well. After darting across a large field, we ended up at a private road where houses were situated. It was then we realised the hall was on the other side of the houses and we had to go around.

In our second attempt in finding a route through, we were much more successful. Without giving too much away, we had to venture through a lot of trees which brought us to the edge of the grounds. On first look, we were very surprised, as we didn’t expect the hall to be that big. The windows were sealed up as you would expect, along with parts of the roof being bare, exposing the wooden beams underneath.

Once inside, you could see that this would have once been a really nice building, however it was stripped and crumbling. Debris was scattered all over, the walls were peeling, and the place was empty. What more could you want from a massive abandoned building? Surprisingly, there wasn’t as much as graffiti as we anticipated, however given the hidden away location and security you could probably see why.

Walking around this place took a good chunk of time, wandering from one barren room to another. The roof looked as though it was about to be refurbished, however given the state of the whole building, I’d be shocked if that was true. Bits and pieces lay around the place, ranging from a bathtub to a pile of tables and chairs. I’m pretty sure we would have missed some of the rooms in the building but given the size of it you would need more than enough time to get around everywhere.

On our way out we took a trip to the clocktower-like building, to see if there was anything of interest. To our surprise it was open, so of course we had to have a look inside. After climbing the narrow spiral stairs, we came to a set of ladders that led to the top of the tower. On side of the ladder was hanging off its screw, so we didn’t want to risk climbing up. We set off back through the forest to the car. This place was one of the best explores we’ve done to date, as it had that feeling of a big abandoned building that you don’t get at many places.

Photos

Front view

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Side view
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Tower and surrounding building
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The roof
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Did you bring a ball?
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The ceiling
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Light at the end of the tunnel
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Bath time?
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Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!​
 

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