Pure Wind in the Willows: the waters of the Tees pass the bottom of your garden. Woolly Hebridean sheep baa and chickens scurry about the lane to this 300-year-old cottage which was once a cobbler’s home, hence its name. A big open fire built of stone is the focal point of the sitting room, where pale shades and crisp white wood blend beautifully with country pieces. The kitchen is compact but perfect, and its dining end has a table by the wood-burner and French windows opening onto a terrace with roses, barbecue, and steps down to the river. Sunshine streams into the cream-walled double bedroom with its ancient wood headboard and cast-iron fireplace; under the rafters is a fun little eyrie for two, the second bed suitable for a child. For groups of six, ask the charming Peats to let you use the guest bedroom (with bathroom) in their house. There’s an all-weather tennis court in the walled garden, you’re a quarter of a mile from cycle route 52 and you can walk the glorious Teesdale Way. Plenty to keep you lean, though the nearby farm shops could throw a spanner in the works. A wonderfully tranquil hideaway.