The medieval village of Zeal Monachorum, with its winding street of cob and thatch houses, stands in lonely countryside 400ft above the mid Devon countryside. It was once called Sele Monacor, meaning ‘the place among the willow trees owned by the monks’ (of Buckfast Abbey). And it is well worth making the steep climb to the church at the top of the hill for the views of Dartmoor in the distance.
Despite its rural location halfway between Dartmoor and Exmoor, Zeal Monachorum is only 17 miles from Exeter, and well within reach of good independent schools such Maynard and Exeter, and Blundell’s at Tiverton, where the author R. D. Blackmore was a pupil.
Robin Thomas of Strutt & Parker (01392 215631) is selling two contrasting properties near Zeal Monachorum. Newton House at Leigh Cross, two miles away, is a 16th-century thatched farmhouse with a delightful garden, two reception rooms, three/four bedrooms, a bathroom and an adjoining cider house and barn. Offers in the region of £425,000 are invited.
The price tag on Reeve Castle, a recently renovated Victorian Gothic castle set in 12.5 acres of Japanese gardens, parkland and woodland, a mile from the village centre, is £1.3m. This rambling Victorian extravaganza has three reception rooms, two conservatories, a breakfast room, eight bedrooms, four bathrooms, and spectacular views over Dartmoor.