Country houses for sale

A £24 million estate that has everything you could dream of — except the final half acre to make it perfect

The Buckholt Estate is a grand country home in a grand country estate of a size that's a hair's breadth away from being a grand.

Nine hundred and ninety nine and a half acres.

Would anyone know if the agents had just pretended it was 1,000? After all, it’s just 0.05% of the land that comes with the Buckholt Estate in Hampshire, a £24 million property centred on a superb house in the Test Valley. Half an acre out of a thousand is basically a rounding error, quite possibly the slip of a surveyor’s pen at some point in the ancient history of what was once a royal forest. But as things stand, it’s an agonising half an acre short of four figures.

In 2011, the old house was replaced by a grand, new 12,500sq ft house designed in the neo-Classical Georgian style by Winchester-based Adam Architecture. It offers comfortable family accommodation on three floors, including four reception rooms, eight bedrooms, six bathrooms, cellars and a separate staff apartment.

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The rolling landscape that makes up the Buckholt estate provides a wonderful mix of sporting interest and farming potential. The arable land is contract farmed undera traditional rotation of spring barley, winter wheat and oats. The estate also runs a suckler herd of rare White Park cattle, which graze the downland and pasture surrounding the house and buildings.

The bowl that comprises most of the land wasn’t traditionally hunted over (it provided sanctuary for the deer — hence the name, Buck’s Holt) but that’s not the case these days. The well-established private and commercial Buckholt shoot is highly regarded, boasting a magnificent combination of pheasant, partridge and mixed drives. Guests can also enjoy the luxury of an overnight stay in the former coach house and stables, which have been cleverly converted into a substantial nine-bedroom shoot lodge.

As for the quirk of history which left this as a 999 1/2-acre estate?  In the 1870s, the estate was owned by the Baring family as part of the Norman Court holdings, during which time the original Buckholt House was built as the Dower House. In 1906, the Norman Court estate was sold to the Singer family, then, in the 1950s, it was sold and split up following the death of the Singers’ son in the Second World War. The land passed to the Dalgety family before being sold, in 1983, to Lord Rothes.

In 2007, sporting farmer Michael Matthews sold a family farm in Hampshire’s Candover Valley and bought Buckholt Farm from Lord Rothes. Two years later, he bought the old Buckholt House, thus restoring the estate to its original size of 999.5 acres.

So what should a new owner do? We’d suggest either leaving it a hair short of 1,000 acres (and thus have the fun of casually referring to it as ‘my little place in the country’), or send a few letters around to the neighbours, asking if anyone has a corner of woodland or a paddock they might consider letting you take off their hands to bring it up to the round 1,000.

The Buckholt Estate in Hampshire is for sale via Savills at £24m — see more pictures and details.

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