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School House, Ambergate
School House, Ambergate
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The Old School, Crich Lane, Ambergate £575,000

It was the huge windows which attracted me to this home in a former school.

School House, Ambergate

School House, Ambergate

That, and the fact that having watched far too many re-runs of Grand Designs, I just needed to know how it had been converted.

The answer, I discovered, was smartly.

The main classroom still takes pride of place as the sitting room, see picture below, and with the aid of an L-shaped galleried landing the roof space has been cleverly converted into four bedrooms and a bathroom. There is nothing particularly spectacular about the upstairs but the main bedroom does have an en-suite if that is important to you.

With this house, it is definitely the ground floor which has all the charm.

School House, Ambergate

School House, Ambergate

The owners, Simon Bate and his wife Nicky, adore it so much they are also considering letting it so they can return in later life.

They are moving to London in August when Mr Bate takes up a new job. He was in the Forces so they have moved around a fair amount in their lives but he says Derbyshire is one place they would love to stay.

He explained that they were torn between moving on and parting with the house so letting it was definitely an option.

I can understand why as it is light and airy thanks to the massive windows and high ceilings but at the same time it is cosy and divided into a variety of different rooms. Not open plan like many a barn conversion.

As well as the sitting room, which has a magnificent fireplace, there is a garden room, which does as it says on the tin, and opens on to the gorgeous garden in one of the old school playgrounds (pictured far right).

There are also a dining room, study and downstairs loo.

However, it is the kitchen, pictured above, which steals the limelight at the Old School.

It has the roomy feel of a farmhouse kitchen and there is more than enough space for a table for family meals.

If you are lucky enough to be viewing the home while Mr Bate is there he will fill you in on the history of the place and proudly show you mementos left over from the school days, which the family will be leaving behind for the new owners.

Bizarrely there is a satchel, school desk, coat pegs and even a boy Scout’s cap.

Ridgeway School, as it was once known, was closed in the second half of the last century along with a lot of other small schools across the country. At first it was a council store but eventually it was sold off and converted.

Some of the neighbours remember attending the school and there are pictures of pupils from a bygone era on the walls in the large entrance hall, see below, which will also remain with the property.

Mr Bate said there were separate playgrounds for the boys and girls and one of these is the gloriously secluded garden with views over to the Derwent Valley and Shining Cliff Woods pictured below and the other could be more of a kitchen garden.

It is pretty much overlooked by other more elevated properties in Crich Lane but it is perfect for a growing vegetables, salad crops and herbs – and to Mr Bate’s amusement I was mentally planning a few chickens to run around under the fruit trees he has there.

Sadly this house was a bit out of my price range.

If you are interested in buying or renting the property (£1,350pcm) contact the estate agents, Scargill Mann, at their Matlock office on 01629 584591.