Nicolas is the 6th generation of Broadhursts to farm here at Cote Bank. He spent 2 years in South Africa working as a mechanical engineer after finishing at Manchester University. While there he met Pam, a midwife and intensive care sister, and they took over the family farm after their marriage and have been here ever since – wouldn’t live anywhere else even if we were paid!
Where else would we find our own crystal clear spring water, the best views in Derbyshire, crisp clean air and friendly village life but still be close enough to Manchester to enjoy museums and orchestras like the Halle and the BBC Philharmonic, shops and so much more.
Our farm is a typical north Derbyshire hill-farm, and we specialise in breeding Derbyshire Gritstone sheep - a local rare breed, well adapted to life out on the Derbyshire moors.
Our farmhouse is built of stone from the leaking wing of the Old House, which was pulled down in 1884, plus extra stone from our own quarry, now disused. The beams and flagged floors were retained and even the original oak door of the Old House has been mended and used.
When we restored the cottages we used second hand roofing slates and kept all the original features possible and we also used local builders and craftspeople to restore the cottages sympathetically.
Restoring the Old House
When we restored the Old House in 1983 it was mainly to stop the water coming in through the perished lead flashing in the valley gutter between the two houses, which was ruining our sitting room wallpaper.
It took Pam 3 long weeks to sort through and clear over 100 years of accumulated junk in the upstairs 2 rooms We found no treasures, sadly – the farming here has always been hard and marginal. We did unearth a fireplace in the upstairs bedroom no-one had previously realised was there, so covered in boxes and junk was it!
The floor was very springy after all the weight of old saddles and the like had gone and, on going downstairs to investigate, we found that the main beam had rotted through at one end and was hanging in space. The lead flashing must never have been correctly put in place and 100 years of water had done the damage.
However, our inventive builder cut away the rotten wood, as the beam is a beauty, possibly from a ship originally. He then used a redundant beam from our barn at Stubbins to prop up the sound remainder and it is still serving its purpose today. In the gap left by the missing 2 foot of beam, he put the stairs to link the 2 floors.
We had decided that the damp fourth room behind the sitting room was only useful as a store room for our house, so we walled up the doorway to form the bookcases in the Old House sitting room.
The original beams and mullions were cleaned and left, although the joists in the sitting room ceiling had to be replaced, as the damp had rotted their ends over on the window wall.
Sadly an apprentice electrician ruined the original sound joists running into the fireplace wall by drilling holes for the electrical cables in the lower third of the joists, so that half of the ceiling had to be covered over with plaster board. With the benefit of hindsight and experience we should have made him plug the holes with wood plugs and start again but time and finances were against us.
We had some furniture from the period of the original house which we have used in the sitting room, along with some of the old books we found while clearing the junk.