The £2.25m eco-house for sale that ‘blends in’ to the Nidderdale countryside
Last updated Apr 29, 2022
Fringill Dike House in Darley.

Nidderdale’s countryside conjures up images of farmhouses and stone cottages peppered across the sweeping rural landscape.

So Fringill Dike House in Darley certainly catches your eye.

However, the £2.25 million property isn’t invasive, as it has been intentionally designed to “blend in” to its natural surroundings.

The five-bedroom eco-house has been designed by Skipton-based Rural Solutions and took more than two-and-a-half years to build.


The property, which spans more than 6,000 ft, has been constructed using a mix of traditional dry stone walls and sedum living roofs. It is fitted with ground source heating, as well as an underwater storage tank, which collects rainwater.

A third of the house is also built underground.

Owner Paul Chapman lives on a nearby farm. He explained that the home had originally been built for him and his wife, Caron, on land owned by the couple.

Mr Chapman, who has eight children, said:

“We built four houses for our sons in one field and built this house in another. The intention was my wife and I were going to move into it.

“However, we decided we didn’t want to swap 13 acres for one. So we made the decision to sell it rather than move in.”

The property is back on the market with joint agents Knight Frank and Carter Jonas after an original sale fell through.

An aerial view of the house.

Despite it’s £2.25 million price tag, Mr Chapman said there had been a lot of interest in the property, which he put down to it being located in an affluent area.

However, he admitted he had spent too much on the build, which was hit by delays due to the pandemic.

He said:

“The difference between the build cost and the sale price is the price of the land, that’s all. It might not even be that much.”

But there is no denying the house is impressive, with no expense spared.

Private driveway

The property is approached via a lengthy private driveway over a bridge, which gently winds past a grassed field.

Upon entering the house, oak steps lead down from the hallway into a huge kitchen space. A wall of floor-to-ceiling glazing frames uninterrupted views of Nidderdale.

The huge kitchen that boasts incredible views across Nidderdale.

The lower ground floor features two large spaces, which have yet to be transformed.

Cinema room

Mr Chapman said:

“We were going to put a bar in one of the rooms, but when we decided we weren’t going to move in, we left them empty. So whoever moves in can build a bar, cinema room or a gym.”

Despite being underground, the lower floor features high ceilings with glazed panels in the terracing above, flooding the space with natural light. In addition to the two rooms, there is a shower room with a sauna, separate cloakroom and plant room.

One of the underground rooms.

Upstairs, a landing provides access to five bedrooms, all with their own ensuite facilities.

One of the bathrooms.

The gardens and grounds surrounding the property extend to just under 1.5 acres. A large paved sun terrace spans the entire width of the rear of the property.


Mr Chapman said:

“We had discussions with the architect and when the plans were designed, we were able to do a virtual tour of the house.

“We made sure everything was where we wanted it to be. We put in the best appliances and units and everything was sourced locally. For example Woodhouse, in Harrogate, designed and fitted the kitchen.

“It is named after the beck – or dike – that runs through the property.”

Mr Chapman, who has owned race horses for 15 years, has also named one of his horses Fringill Dike, a champion at that.

He said:

“He’s running again at Hexham this weekend and we are hoping he will win again.”

The sauna in the underground space.

Asked if he would build any more houses in the future, Mr Chapman, who moved to Darley from Howarth 12 years ago, didn’t seem overly keen.

He said:

“It went on too long. We did it for ourselves, but I wouldn’t want to build any to sell. If you employ a middle man, it’s hard to make a profit. Especially if you have to buy the land.”

‘Anchored in nature’

A statement on the Rural Solutions website, which features some impressive architectural drawings of the property, said:

“Working with the client, we produced a design for a new house on an open, sloping site in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“Incorporating a dynamic, landscape-based concept we used indigenous dry-stone walls as a device to structure a single ‘ribbon’ design. In this way the project was designed deliberately to blend into the landscape, using local, natural materials; a beautiful home anchored in nature.”

You can watch a video of the property here.

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