Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to questions you might have, and we hope they’re useful. However, if you can’t find the information you need, please do get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.[toggle_content title=”Can we book with confidence?“] A good question in these times when fake properties appear on listing sites and people pay for accommodation that turns out not to exist. We are members of the Visit England Quality scheme, which means we are interviewed and our properties are inspected annually by an inspector from Visit England (the National Tourist Board). Therefore, you know that our properties are real and moreover they meet the standards of safety required; we are also assessed for the quality of the accommodation we provide for our guests.
We’re also members of EASCO, the English Association of Self Catering Operators (now renamed as the HHA or Holiday Home Association), who will act as an intermediary between owner and guest if necessary.
Our trading status and history have been checked out and accepted by Barclaycard who’ve granted us the facility to accept card payments online. Paying all or part of the rental by credit card gives you additional security from your credit card provider – this form of security is not available when paying via a third party such as listing sites or Paypal.
Finally, you might like to take a look at some of the comments we’ve received over the years – although we could have written them all ourselves of course! (we haven’t – honest – although that’s one of a number of reasons why we don’t use review sites such as Trip Advisor).
We’re real people, not a faceless agency, we live on site (and love it here!) and we’re happy to answer any questions.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”How much is the deposit, and when is the final payment due?“] If you are booking more than 8 weeks in advance, we ask for a deposit of 25% of the rental amount in order to confirm your booking. (We send you a link to our online booking form which gives all the numbers).
The balance is due 8 weeks before your arrival, and we send you a reminder a few days beforehand.
If you are booking less than 8 weeks in advance we ask for payment of the full rental amount with your booking.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Can we pay with a credit card or Paypal?“] We can accept card payments online. The process is handled by the secure environment at Barclaycard’s ePDQ Gateway; we are only told the last 4 digits of your card number and can only take a payment that you have authorised.
We don’t have a facility for taking payments over the phone, and these are less secure anyway.
We don’t accept payments via Paypal.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”What other payment methods can we use?“] You can make a direct transfer to our Green Barn Cottages bank account, which is the most efficient and cheapest method for us! The transfer normally completes within a few hours.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”What’s included in your prices?“] The prices in our tariff are fully inclusive of bed linen and towels, electricity, hot water and underfloor heating, even in the winter time when you’ll also appreciate the high levels of insulation. If you are bringing a dog we make a small charge towards our additional cleaning costs, otherwise there are no chargeable extras.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”What are the arrival and departure times?“]
Arrival is any time after 4:00pm; departure is by 10:00am.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Can we arrive earlier?“] It typically takes a minimum of 4 hours to clean and service the smaller cottages to our standards, plus time for any essential maintenance and repairs. Hence we can’t guarantee availability before our stated arrival time. You are welcome to call en route to check if your cottage will be ready earlier, or if it would be helpful to drop your luggage and go off somewhere.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”What happens if we need to arrive late?“] Once your cottage is ready we program the door lock with the code you’ve chosen. As there is then no need to collect keys (or worry about losing them!) it’s not essential that we meet you on arrival, so you can let yourselves in at any time; we’ll come and check that everything’s okay a bit later. If you know you’ll be arriving very late, it’s helpful if you can let us know and we’ll say hello the next day.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Do you live on site?“] Our three cottages form the conversion of a beautiful stone barn in our grounds, so our house is close by. We’ll meet you on or soon after arrival and make sure everything’s okay, after that we’re around and happy to help if needed, but we do recognise that our guests want their own space.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Do you have any facilities for disabled guests?“] We have included a number of facilities in The Carthouse for disabled guests, although the bedrooms are all accessed by stairs. However, all other facilities are on the ground floor including a wet room with wheelchair access, with a shower, washbasin and wc designed for disabled use with suitable grab rails and an assist call. The front door of The Carthouse has ramped access and parking is immediately adjacent. Please contact us to discuss your needs and to ensure that we can provide for them. Further details are provided in our Access Statement.
Television sets in all cottages can display subtitling for those who are HOH, and we’re happy to help set this up, or help set up any assistive listening devices you may bring.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Are your cottages suitable for children?“] The Byre and The Haystore are open plan, so please bear this in mind if you have young children. We can provide stairgates, but if you have any concerns please contact us and we will be happy to discuss with you so that you can decide on suitability. We can provide a highchair, but don’t have cots available as we find most parents prefer to bring their child’s own travel cot. Drawers and cupboards do not have childproof locks. We don’t have any special play facilities within the grounds for children, although if they enjoy the open countryside there’s plenty of that nearby! We don’t charge for stairgates or highchairs.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”I want to bring my dog. What facilities are there, and how many do you allow?“] You are welcome to bring your well-trained dog. We provide a dog bed, a bucket, sponge and dog shampoo, and there’ll be a Bonio on your welcome tray!
As a guide, The Byre and The Haystore are suitable for up to 2 dogs, and The Carthouse for 4, but please contact us and we can discuss further (as an example, if only one bedroom is being used in either The Byre or The Haystore there’s additional sleeping space for more than 2 dogs, and we’ve had more than 4 in The Carthouse depending on size, breed etc). Each cottage has its own enclosed area where dogs can be let out. Please note that we have our own dogs, and guests’ dogs must be kept well under control in the grounds.
No dogs in the bedrooms, please, but if you bring your own throws dogs can be on the sofas (we can usually supply something if you forget throws or need more). Dogs must not be left behind when the guests are out.
Both the local pubs are dog friendly.
It is only a matter of moments to be out of our grounds and onto open land, however do be aware that there are usually loose sheep close by, often just outside our gates, and chasing our Red Squirrels is definitely not allowed!
Please let us know in advance if you wish to bring your dogs, and have a look at our Dogs FAQs page.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Do you provide internet access?“] All the cottages have wireless internet access; we do not charge for the service, but you will need to bring your own WiFi enabled laptop or other device. We are in a rural area beyond the reach of fibre, so we have invested in a system that provides a microwave link to the nearest fibre connection. This gives each cottage a speed of around 3Mb/s or more which is much faster than our previous ADSL connection, but the service does have a capped data usage allowance. As a guide, for a week’s stay the allowance is around 30GB which should be plenty for normal usage but may not be enough for constant streaming, gaming etc
As a condition of use, guests must not download any unlawful material.
There is 4G coverage from EE.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Is there a telephone, and what mobile networks have a signal?“] There is no landline telephone in the cottages. Of the mobile services, both EE and Vodafone have coverage at the cottages, although Vodafone has no coverage in the village. There is a payphone approximately one and a quarter miles away, and we are normally on site and can help if you need to make an urgent call.
We can loan guests a PAYG EE phone if needed, but please let us know in advance as we only have one available. There is 4G coverage from EE.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Do you have car parking?“] We are located down a private track about 400 yards from the road, and all parking is within our own grounds and dedicated to each cottage. The Byre and The Haystore each have space for two cars, The Carthouse has space for three. We can accommodate more by arrangement.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”We have an Electric Vehicle, can we charge it?“] We don’t have a dedicated EV charging point, nor do we have a suitably certified and protected outdoor electricity supply point. We ask guests not to trail extension leads through an open window and use an internal mains socket as we cannot guarantee that any socket is on a circuit suitably RCBO protected for supplying an outdoor appliance, nor that the circuit is certified safe for supplying a high load for many hours. There are EV charging points within a few miles in Kirkby Stephen and at the motorway services.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Where can we sit outside?“] Each cottage has its own outdoor table and chairs. There is a shared area at the highest point of our grounds with the best all-round views, and there is a lovely area beside the beck, which is a perfect spot to sit and relax, maybe have a picnic at the tables provided, or use the brick barbecue.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Do you have a hot tub?“] Although hot tubs are the current trend for some holidaymakers we make no apologies for not having them.
Because of the significant risks to health from hot tubs in holiday premises there are increasingly stringent regulations being introduced, although you’ll find many properties where the owners are unaware of them, or choose to ignore them. Unlike at home, a hot tub in a holiday let should be emptied, checked, sanitised, filled, dosed with chemicals and reheated between departing and arriving guests; followed by twice daily tests on the water. (There’s more…)
The regime sounds a lot but it’s important; a hot tub that’s not rigorously maintained is an ideal environment for infections and diseases to be passed between guests; theres an increasing number of reports of skin diseases and there have even been reported deaths from Legionella associated with holiday hot tubs in the UK that weren’t properly managed. There are of course responsible holiday let owners who provide a suitable hot tub that complies with the requirements for non-domestic use and follow the operating guidelines to ensure it’s safe for their guests to enjoy. They have to know if their particular market justifies the considerable initial expense, along with the ongoing significant maintenance costs and effort. It’s not a trivial addition! Those owners will be happy to give you details of their hot tub maintenance and hygiene regime.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Can we hire or bring our own portable hot tub?“] There are important reasons why we are unable to allow this. The main problem is with emptying the hot tub after use; the water will have been treated with chemicals that are harmful to aquatic life and it’s an offence to discharge the water where it could end up in ground water or a watercourse. The water can’t be discharged into our drainage system which uses a septic tank as the same chemicals kill the bacteria that are essential for the septic tank to work.
We don’t have a suitably certified external electricity supply point for power to a hot tub.
We’re also aware that sometimes people using a hot tub can be very noisy and could disturb other guests.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Do you have a private water supply?“] The water supply is from our own deep borehole. It is tested annually in line with water supply regulations, with consistently stable good results.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”What public transport is there?“] There is a limited bus service from Ravenstonedale, with buses to Kirkby Stephen, Sedbergh and Kendal. The bus stop is about a mile and a half away.
There are also leisurely trips on classic buses which stop in the village.
The railway station at Kirkby Stephen is on the famous Settle to Carlisle line and has services to Carlisle and Leeds. There is no taxi rank at either Kirkby Stephen station or town; taxis are available but need to be booked.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Where do we get our shopping?“] Kirkby Stephen has a range of shops about 6 miles away, including two small high street supermarkets and a larger supermarket on the edge of the town.
Immediately off the M6 at J38 there is a service station just off the roundabout with a shop attached.
Unlikely as it may sound, the nearest Motorway Services (Westmorland Services between J38 and J39, a couple of miles north of the exit for Ravenstonedale) has an excellent range of high quality local farm produce. Westmorland Services is one of the very few privately owned services in the country, and is a shining example to the rest of them.
There are regular Farmers’ Markets nearby selling top quality local produce.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Can I get groceries delivered?“] Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda all deliver to this area. If you anticipate arriving late, by arrangement we can accept a delivery on your behalf and put it in your cottage.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”What if we don’t want to cook?“] We consider ourselves spoilt! The village has two pub/restaurants,The Black Swan (winner of the AA England Pub of the Year Award 2012/2013) is about a mile and a quarter and The King’s Head is about a quarter of a mile further. They both serve very good food; they’re also both dog friendly.
Kirkby Stephen, about 6 miles, has a number of pubs and cafes plus fish and chip shops and both Chinese and Indian takeaway/restaurants.
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Are you on any of the giant listing sites such as HomeAway? “] No. We avoid the corporately owned (and increasingly greedy!) sites such as Expedia/HomeAway, Booking dot com, Airbed’n’Breakfast and the TripAdvisor group all of which impose charges on guests booking through their sites, prevent conversation between guests and accommodation owners prior to booking, and provide less security than if the guest uses a credit card to pay the accommodation owner directly.
We only use a few small listing sites which are independently run with a level of integrity, and which facilitate direct communication and booking with the accommodation owner – and obviously don’t charge the guest!
[/toggle_content] [toggle_content title=”Can we find reviews of your accommodation on Trip Advisor? “] Owners of self-catering accommodation can only get reviews on TA if they are signed up to a few giant internationally owned sites listing thousands of properties, and we find our guests typically use different more specialised sites, or internet searches based on their particular requirements, so we try to spend our advertising budget where it gets us results. Many people in the tourism business will tell you that Trip Advisor have insufficient controls to prevent fraudulent use, and whereas hotels with hundreds of TA reviews are not likely to be affected by a few fakes, regardless of any “right of reply” a small business with only a few reviews can be very seriously damaged by the publication of a single malicious false review. This is a blackmail weapon easily available to fraudulent individuals seeking to extort payments. Although we have never been affected, we know a number of self-catering owners who have had their lives made a misery in this way, and it doesn’t seem right.