Nun Appleton Hall is a Georgian stately home surrounded by beautiful parkland, but only a few people have set eyes on it in the last 30 years. The house is hidden behind locked gates, barbed wire fences and has a land locked public footpath which really intrigued my curiosity. The more I found out about this house, the more I wanted to see it in person, but how do you access a land locked public footpath?

Google Earth and OS maps are very can provide useful starting points, but you then have to use a lot of determination and investigation to see if there is a way in to the grounds of Nun Appleton Park. Although there is a public bridleway that runs along the perimeter of the grounds, it’s like walking on the outside of a prison camp like Colditz or a military installation.    Apparently, the fences went up around the permiiter of the park in the 1990’s, but prior to that you could walk through the grounds.

Humphrey Smith, the chairman of the Samuel Smith’s brewery in nearby Tadcaster purchased Nun Appleton in 1982 and it became another addition to the company’s large land portfolio. The notoriously secretive Humphrey 

Smith, who is descended from the brewery’s founder, has never lived at Nun Appleton, and the family currently live at Oxton Hall, near Tadcaster. However, it’s believed Samuel Smith does intend Nun Appleton to be used as a private dwelling once again. Records from Selby Council show that a planning application was submitted in 2016, requesting consent for the mansion to be restored to its original designs with some demolition of the 18th, 19th and 20th century modifications being required.

As a result of the Covid pandemic, one thing that has occurred is that access paths to once public areas have been blocked or fenced off (West Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a good example of this) Moreover, with local council budgets being hit hard, many local authorities are selling off assets (Wakefield selling WYSP)  The issues affecting abandoned buildings is they are at risk and can end up being demolished as a long term result of neglect, so I thought, if I intended to see Nun Appleton, I would need to pay a visit asap.

We were able to find a way into the grounds of Nun Appleton without climbing over any fences or destroying anything, but it was far from easy. To our surprise, it looks like planning permission has been approved for the alterations to the house, as you can see from the images. I would have loved to see the inside of this house, but that’s just not possible. Ironically when the house is restored it will remain being seen by very few people, but at least it will survive and live on.  Nun Appleton Hall is another Yorkshire hidden gem and I am glad I have seen it.


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