Tales of the Urban Explorer: The Gate House

I find it fascinating that I can build up a picture of someone’s life by looking at what they left behind.

Take "The Gate House", a property that has been empty for perhaps three years. That's not bad compared to many of my usual dumps.


@anidiotexplorers, my supplier of fine, vintage quality places was responsible for our first outing on a fine June morning and for once we managed to get inside.

...Our track record of failures on the first venue has been rather bad of late. A little like the recent fortunes of Manchester United Football Club...


We checked the back, which was a struggle due to the dense jungle before resorting to what is usually last thing before leaving...

Try the front door; it opened with a loud scraping groan.

Having gotten inside, we closed it firmly hoping the handle would not fall off and thus sealing us inside forever.


The path next to "The Gate House" is full of dog walkers, and as much as I like dogs, the nosey owners can fuck off when I'm exploring.

This was once the gaff of a Mr. M Walker. How do I know…, well read on...


Has all this shit been shoved through the letterbox during the last 3 years? Someone has been abusing the portable radiators with their feet.

"The Gate House" looked like a cool little house for ONE. I mean, it was small inside. Had Mr. Walker lived alone here?


We were certainly not the first explorers to come and nosey in here. The wankers had got here beforehand and smashed some things up.


Not much in terms of food left, besides cheap Bran Flakes. Mr. Walker did not have much of an income, so it does make sense he scrimped on cheapo brands.


Which brings me to… how do you know all this.

Leaving your personal bank statements (edited) helps a lot. I can see Mr. Walker is a man who does not live within his means like 99% of the UK population, probably worked for a living, and was on a very small salary.


The outgoing are more than the income and his overdraft will soon be breached, yet Mr Walker loves his expensive Cafe Nero's and indulges at Burger King (who are a comparatively speaking, expensive fast food joint here).


I did find another two demands lying around the floor. One appears to be a lapsed motor policy that has not been paid.


The other, a demand from the local council to chop the trees down; this is what you get if you live in a forest.

The demands of life eh? Makes you want to run away, live on a desert island and drink coconut juice.

Did Mr. Walker do a runner and leave all his belongings behind, or did he die here? There is no history for this one.



I counted just TWO rooms downstairs, a kitchen, and a sitting room. For a detached property that is extremely small.

Being a gatehouse to an old manor house (yes there is one), historically means the privileged peasants to a rich landowner may have lived here. It would have been luxury to them.


We made out way up the stairs, which were strewn with rubbish and broken glass.


There appeared to be a single large room up there. Some seating had been placed as well as beds. The vandals had chosen to write some unintelligible crap on the walls.


A nice cozy idea, but if there are two of you expect sore heads in the morning, especially if you are the restless type.


In one corner there was a bathroom of sorts, I didn't spot in right away. There is no question about having a shit here (ouch, sore arse springs to mind).., or even a piss.


Someone had been having a right old go at the bathroom. I don’t see the point in any of this.


The furniture had been thrown around... probably for fun by some small-brained youths.


I suspect this was used as a hideout at one time. Some of the crap left behind doesn’t look very old.


Herb Liqueur does not sound very appetising. Why not use the regular Jack Daniels if you want to get pissed?


The Gate House” is quite salvageable and would make a great house for… erm ONE person.


One Bedroom is probably too small for anyone else. Realistically you would not think that looking from the outside. We closed the front door quite firmly hoping it would jam, and left.


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I find these abandoned properties more than mildly infuriating when we think about the level of homelessness here and everywhere else.

I wrote a blog over 11 years ago about it. At the time there were 700,000 empty properties in the UK alone!
The question is. Why is this still happening?

It makes interesting content for sure but why hasn't anything changed with regard to this waste of much needed housing resources?

It boggles my mind.

In the 1970's squatting was very popular in abandoned buildings so of course the government made it illegal!!

They made it illegal? It still goes on, and I know for a fact some of the places I visit house the homeless (illegally). Why they would want to stay the night is mind-boggling. I guess it's better than freezing outside, but these places are creepy.

When the options are freeze to death or squat its a no brainer.
Yeah they changed the law a while back. They'd rather let these places rot than house people?
So dumb and short sighted.
An empty house deteriorates much faster than an occupied one.

It actually looks a lot more modern inside than I was expecting given the state of the outside. It threw me a bit when I saw that nice washer/dryer and other stuff like that. Pretty cool find for you here. Lots of good tidbits for you to look at. Good old Jagermeister. I can't remember the last time I had a Jager and Redbull shot...

I expect the original building is quite old. This is how property used to be in the dark ages. Many of these gatehouses have been converted, although they are small. A retired couple perhaps could live there.

That is cool.

What was a gatehouse in the middle ages, and do you think this particular home is from that time?!

Yeah, I was going to ask about the washer. Do people put their washers in their kitchens in the UK?! We don't do that at all in the US. And do people not usually have clothes dryers, too? We always have clothes dryers.

I think that unit does both the washing and the drying. If I remember right units like that are really common in Europe.

Pretty interesting look into someone's personal life. Makes me wonder if they were an honest person in dire straights or a sort of shady character type who opened accounts and then burned the companies as much as he could before getting cut off? The house actually looks quite nice from the outside. Quaint and charming really. Would make for a nice little cottage after some work. Quite a bit of work.

A lot of work but not a compete wreck. The roof seems good for now.

Do they sell homes like that or do they just sit there and Rot away?

If there is no owner (deceased) they tend to rot away.. at least for a while.

What a cute little house and with all of that green around? I would love to live there! Such a shame it's empty and very sad about the destruction. So pointless :-(

Thanks for letting us share in the exploring!

Your articles remind me of that movie "The Road". Have you seen it?

Seems appropriate for these times too if you ask me... ;)

Keep up the great work. Your posts are a lot of fun!

Someone else mentioned 'The Road' before. I should take the time to watch it.

Bolton Council, the home of the "jobsworth"

The locals don't say nice things.

This is an amazing look at history and culture of long forgotten homes!

@evileddy, I haven't seen you in ages. We were scrambling over RavenCoin once. I got some.. and lost the damn wallet password.. grah!

@slobberchops hey there,sir!!!

Oh man that sucks! RVN is still mine-able!

What a gorgeous little house that is. Is it a repo?

I have no idea. We visited the 'manor house' last year and overlooked this (and walked past it). It's not for sale and is a mystery.

Looks like it could be a cosy place for someone as long as they don't need much space, but then you see what gets classed as a flat in London these days. The bed looks a bit precarious. I wonder what happened to Mr Walker. Do you think he was renting? If so then the owner would be losing money on it. It does seem a fair few of these places you go to could be empty due to the owner dying.

If it was rented, would it not be up for rent again after the tenant does a runner, or dies? I should have had a closer look at those bank statements.

I was looking for the rent going out, but maybe he paid cash. Anyway, it looks like he had money issues. This is like a budget Through The Keyhole :)

Really interesting and fun post about this forgotten property. With your storytelling, I couldn't help but put myself in Mr. Walkers shoes and try to understand what happened to leave that house.

Keep up the great work! I look forward to reading these posts more when I can.

I have managed to track owners down in the past.., unfortunately they tend to be dead and that's why these houses exist.

Bloody images are down. It makes for surreal reading without them. I have tried peaked and blog. Gaaar.

Anyways, Herb Liqueur can be quite nice. The Ibizan one is a favourite of mine when I am over there. Herbas you ask for. Its magic. Smooth as feck!

Oh... you need the images, that's where the imagination comes from (and his bank statement). It works for me, but mine are cached.

They're back now!! Unfortunately that means I can see the herb liqueur is that Jaeger shit!!! Aiyee!!

that Jaeger shit

Is that like... terrible or something? I don't know... being a simple Tipperary Scotch man.

Such simple ways!

And yes, its fecking awful, lol

oh wow wow.... why do people find joy in breaking other people's things... i don't understand it. i guess at least in this case the people that "owned" this place were not really minding the damage like if its kids running past you lived in place and ripping plants out of the garden.

our neigbours at our last house had a lovely garden... beautiful roeses that the wife tended daily with her walking stick close by... then kids came and RIPPED THEM ALL OUT and wrote LOL with e branches oh her front lawn.

she cried and cried and cried and was in a nursing home 3 months later. We moved after that but i bet that vandalism took months of her life.

why they need to trash stuff.

but WOW what a find in the forest. such a pretty little spot. i love the videos and posts that are about abandoned buildings. So fascinating

thanks so much
BLINGIT (sarah)

she cried and cried and cried and was in a nursing home 3 months later.

That seems a little extreme. It happens from time to time, more so if you live in a shitty area.

This one appears to be in Hansel and Gretel land.., but is quite near a main road. Gatehouses, often were.. and sheltered the manor house.

I think it was her pride and joy and it kept her going... the love of her garden kept her at home... when the kids took her garden she kinda gave up... It wasn't too bad an area but near a bad one (if you know what i mean) but we have long since moved from there.

Oh to have a house with a gatehouse... i can dream right!

The house doesn't seem pretty much damaged.

Better than most I visit. A lot of it is the time factor, the longer they stay derelict the worse they become.

This place looks less wrecked than your previous explorations. I wonder wheter the washing machine and the stovetop are working, the washing machine seems ready to run at least :)

I figure the appliances could still work. They looked in good condition.

Dang why would they just abandon it if they could sell it to someone else. A beautiful home just got wreck just like that 😒 I would love to live in that kind of place 😍

Maybe after a little refurb... yes.

Complete with Bran Flakes and a band statement. It is amazing what people leave behind! Imagine what is in the landfills!

This is an interesting idea: -Recreate the appearance of the former owner of the old house from the things left from him. But it is difficult to plunge into the previous era completely ... although you can do it, I think.

You had an interesting discovery trip, over time everything will be destroyed. I enjoyed this article thank you for sharing it.

What a shame that'd make a nice house. I'm always amazed at these properties that 'somebody' owns just sits there rotting away. I don't understand why they don't sell them off?

Likely a dead Mr Walker with no kids. It's often the case.

In those cases, the property should go to the council for them to sell. Local councils are always strapped for cash.

I think there may be some timeout period but am not sure. Many of the capsules I have visited are due to people dying.

Another great exploration! If the treasure hunters who made holes all over the place had taken the time to read bank statements they would have saved time and energy 😂

The personal stuff is what I find most interesting. Other explorers generally don't look at this.

Wow this place is so interesting with all those left over documents.

Yes, I love nosing at old personal documents. I can't always find them though!

lot of work to clean up !LOL

I invented a new word today.

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I guess Mr Walker walked away from his property 😂

It's looking like that is what happened.

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This is a wonderful small house. Specially it's structure is amazing.

I like these kind of houses in the forest imagine the view from the mirror

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Lol this is right up my alley. I'm infinitely interested in people and their lives. My version of this is going to estate sales. Often families just open the doors and allow a home to be dug through. I've seen some people up really close over the years. Once I was in Minneapolis and spent an hour in the deceased's basement where there was a hidden stack of old letters to the husband's secret lover. I'm assume he had to hide his homosexuality because of the social climate of his day. Another time I explore the home of a fascinating artist who loved photography and traveled the world. Recently I went to the estate auction of an old Appalachian family's farm where they kept everything impeccably neat, clean, and tidy. I love to see the quilts and such of grandmothers. For many of them it was their outlet for self expression. Oh, and one time I went to the sale of an old Appalachian family of hoarders! I got there late in the sale. They had bins of old happy meal toys and everything you can imagine. They kept everything! And the most interesting part is I was told that earlier in the day people were walking away with purses full of coins! Appalachian people used to live very much cut off from the rest of the world, as they were up high in the mountains, and it was very hard to get here. So in many ways they were 100 years behind the rest of American society. You can find people living the old way still to this day. They didn't trust banks; they buried money in the ground, and hid it in books and such! And many people actually had quite a lot of money yet they lived simply and were extremely self sufficient. (ha ha it felt good to share all that. I'm passionate about it, and there aren't many other people who are, so I took my opportunity to share with someone else who appreciates this up close look at people's lives!)

I don't get it... He gets a complaint about the trees, then they don't do anything when it's abandoned?

Somehow I have a feeling someone is living there, the way that bed looks. Maybe even the owner, but he doesn't want to maintain it?

Living like this in the woods would be a good experience apart from this can grow our own crops and have a farm. This way we know we are eating natural and inhaling pure oxygen. I like your content 😃.

It's not exactly in the middle of nowhere, but I can see that's how it comes across.