Breathing new life into Hutton Wandesley Estate since taking over the place with her husband in 2014, Sasha York has reimagined this traditional rural estate which has been in the York family for 150 years.

Originally from Northumberland, Sasha has loved Yorkshire since attending Queen Mary’s School near Thirsk from a young age, so returning with her husband Christy and their three boys in 2014 to take over the running of his family’s estate was a decision that came easily.

Belonging to the York family for 150 years, Hutton Wandesley is a traditional 3,000 acre rural estate in the Vale of York, incorporating arable farming, ancient woodlands, residential lets and offices.

Great British Life: Sasha taking a stroll through her passion project - The Walled Garden. Sasha taking a stroll through her passion project - The Walled Garden. (Image: Georgina Harrison Photography)

Keen to ensure the longevity of the estate and bring it up to speed with the times, Sasha had two main objectives – redevelop the walled garden and introduce holiday lets. ‘One thing we didn’t have was holidays,’ explains Sasha. ‘And because of where we are, I felt we were in a fantastic location to offer some holiday properties.’ Reimaging this grand estate through forward-thinking and inventive approaches, the family have not only allowed those near and far to enjoy its beautiful offerings, but have helped to secure its future for generations to come.

Great British Life: Hutton Wandesley StablesHutton Wandesley Stables (Image: Sasha York)

A home away from home

Transforming some of the old buildings into holiday lets was first on the agenda when Sasha arrived at her husband’s family estate. ‘With farming being the way it is - getting more difficult with subsidies being withdrawn - we always look to diversify to see how we can move the farm forward and keep up with the times and see what we can add to the mix.’

First up was Marston Lodge Farmhouse. Taking a year to renovate, the farmhouse now provides a beautiful base in the Vale of York for up to eight guests. This was followed by an old cow shed that was totally derelict with no floors, but has been transformed into a modern barn conversion named Dovecote Barn that also sleeps eight. The final building on the farm was an old granary barn now known as The Granary which sleeps 12. ‘These three buildings together can sleep 28 – they’re really popular and mix modern with the old.’

Passionate about buildings and design, Sasha set her sights on The Stables which was ‘being run as a livery barn but wasn’t adding anything and coming into a state of disrepair in places.’ What would have once been a coach house back in the day has now been transformed – original coach lamps, wooden beams and exposed brickwork sit alongside modern touches, making this a unique and inviting space. Nine ensuite bedrooms sit inside the stable block, while a further two can be found in Laundry Cottage (the old laundry building to the big house) providing accommodation for 22 people in total. Welcoming their very first guests to The Stables in 2022 for a family birthday, the daughter found it such a special place that she is returning this year for her wedding.

Great British Life: The Botanicum. The Botanicum. (Image: Sasha York)


Opened alongside The Stables in the summer of 2022, the Botanicum was once an old agricultural building stabling racehorses that has now been reimagined into an events space that can hold up to 120 people seated. Fusing old and new, it’s beautifully adorned with large wooden pendants juxtaposed by two giant, shiny disco balls to create a fun, unique space. Bi-folding doors not only flood the building with beams of natural light but connect you to the sanctuary of the walled garden, adding a special touch to any event. Not much is out of the question here, from photoshoots to pop ups, team building to talks, and weddings to workshops.

Great British Life: The Yorkshire Pop Up. The Yorkshire Pop Up. (Image: Georgina Harrison Photography)

Sasha runs her own array of events here - from making a pop-up café in the space when she runs the open garden or filling it full of fabulous independents from all over the country that come together for the Yorkshire Pop Up. For the Coronation they threw a party inviting the local community, and they often host fundraising events for their charity, Cystic Fibrosis Care. Not wanting to be tied to just one thing, Sasha has made sure it lends itself to so many things, which is why only 10 weddings a year are hosted here with exclusive use for three full days – creating an intimate, and exclusive, feel.

Great British Life: Take in all of the flora and fauna in The Walled Garden. Take in all of the flora and fauna in The Walled Garden. (Image: Sasha York)

The Walled Garden

At the heart of the estate lies The Walled Garden – a place where Sasha has poured so much of her own heart. Starting its life as the original walled garden to Hutton Wandesley Hall and Hutton Hall, it served as a working kitchen garden with twelve full-time gardeners tending to it. In the 1990s it became a nursery garden supplying plants to local garden centres, before being turned into a grazing paddock for horses. ‘After many years and discussions, the decision was finally made to go for it,’ explains Sasha who was able to relandscape the garden and bring it back to its former glory. Inspired by the original design drawings dating back to 1874 which feature a quadrant design, the garden is made up of four aspects, each bringing something special to the space. An Italian Garden is home to 16 parterres, while a Perennial Meadow Garden showcases a central water feature with eight beds planted around it. The Cutting Garden is planted with David Austin Roses, dahlias and annuals that can often be found dotted around The Stables, and the final quarter is laid to lawn to allow those hiring the venue to host a marquee within its walls.

Great British Life: The Walled Garden. The Walled Garden. (Image: Sasha York)

Sharing the tranquillity of the gardens with others is something Sasha feels strongly about, having experienced the healing qualities gardening can bring for herself. Nursing her son through a lung transplant at the tender age of 10 due to cystic fibrosis, Sasha often sought out solace through gardening.

‘I know how good gardening makes me feel, it has been there for me when I have been very sad, especially when he was so ill – I just wanted to go into the garden and be at peace and do something else – I really believe in the magic and the therapeutic side gardening can give you.’ With this in mind, Sasha has set up the Mindful Monday Gardening Club where she teaches people how to garden while also ‘explaining the history and the passion I have for the garden and the stables. They’ll get a fork and a trowel and to do jobs around the garden,’ she explains.

The beauty of The Walled Garden can also be experienced through a private garden tour priced at £10, during an open garden day (currently June 9 and September 15), by going along to one of Sasha’s Yorkshire Pop Up events, or in the autumn when she hosts ‘pick your own dahlias’ on a Friday and Saturday.

Great British Life: The Stables is perfect for a large family getaway. The Stables is perfect for a large family getaway. (Image: Sasha York)Great British Life: Fusing together tradition and modern innovation. Fusing together tradition and modern innovation. (Image: Sasha York)Great British Life: Cosy down in one of nine en suite bedrooms in The Stables. Cosy down in one of nine en suite bedrooms in The Stables. (Image: Sasha York)Great British Life: Modern details sit side by side traditional touches. Modern details sit side by side traditional touches. (Image: Sasha York)