Where could you stay that is more typically English than at one of our thatched holiday cottages to rent. A timeless icon of traditional village life, the thatched roof has long been synonymous with English country living.But what is it about thatched holiday cottages that make them so sought after?
Once thought of as the 'poor man's roof', it is now a symbol of affluence. Apparently there are more thatched roofs in the UK than anywhere else in Europe. For centuries, most cottages and farm buildings in Britain were thatched, and until the Middle Ages even churches and large houses were too. In 1800 there were reckoned to be over one million thatched properties in the UK.
Thatchers used whatever grew locally leading to distinctive local styles such as heather in Scotland and moorland areas of England, water reed throughout Norfolk, combed wheat reed in the West Country and wheat straw in southern England. Each type of thatch produces different architectural results. For example, water reed creates angular lines and straight edges, while combed wheat reed lends itself to curved eaves. In addition each master thatcher has a signature style adding further to the individuality of the roof. A good thatched roof not only makes a country cottage picturesque - it is also very long lasting. A roof thatched by a skilled craftsman can last 40 to 50 years without needing refurbishment.
It was 18th-century artists and their idealised paintings of thatched cottages that created our romantic view of rural life. Today we are more in love than ever with the intricate craftsmanship and rustic simplicity of these characterful buildings. Thatchers are concerned that climate change is having an impact on thatched roofs - milder, moist winters with less sunshine are leading to the colonisation of roofs by algae and mosses which may, in some conditions, reduce the life expectancy of the thatch. Plus wetter summers mean the straw used to make the roofing is in increasingly short supply and could be prohibitively expensive. Nevertheless English Heritage is very keen, despite the protestations of owners and thatchers, to protect regional styles and resist the spread of the durable Norfolk reed across the land.
So, if you are looking for thatched holiday cottages in the UK, why not browse my selection to find something that catches your eye?
For enquiries, availability or to book over the phone please call: 0844 561 8329
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Brixton Barn Main Road Brighstone. View on map>
9 King Street, Winterton-on-Sea. View on map>