Country houses for sale

56-room property set in four acres of glorious South Devon sells for just £433,000

Opportunities don't get much bigger — or more daunting — than Hope Cove Bunker, a former nuclear bunker near Salcombe.

It’s not often that Country Life covers a property whose architecture makes the average garden shed look beautiful, but that is the case with the sale of Hope Cove Bunker.

This bunker was built by the government in 1952 as part of the ROTOR programme, the elaborate radar defence system installed to detect possible nuclear attacks as the Cold War gripped the globe.

Modern technology has long since rendered the bunker obsolete, however, and it was auctioned off on Wednesday, fetching £433,000, just above the guide price of £400,000.

A Hope Cove corridor. Credit: Alamy

The reasons for that bargain price tag should be obvious from even a cursory look at the images on this page. Unless the buyer wants to keep it as a curiosity, a huge amount will have to be spent — and as there are no permissions yet in place, such plans would always be something of a gamble.

Hope Cove Bunker from the air. Credit: Clive Emson via OnTheMarketThe bunker — whose name was technically changed to Crown Buildings ahead of the sale — is in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, the South Devon AONB. Salcombe, unarguably one of the prettiest seaside towns in Britain, is just three miles away.

For your £400,000-ish budget in Salcombe, you’d normally be able to find a pretty little cottage such as this, or (if you want sea views and a central location) perhaps a small flat such as this one.

Both have their charms, but for anyone after more than three bedrooms and a small patch of lawn then Hope Cove Bunker fitted the bill.

Credit: Clive Emson via OnTheMarket

There are an astonishing 56 rooms in the two-storey building, including corridors so long you could use them for ten-pin bowling, and all on a four-acre site in the middle of open countryside.

Hope Cove Bunker. Credit: Clive Emson via OnTheMarket

Don’t expect any mod cons, or even any windows. But there is a giant radio mast, so presumably you’d get amazing TV reception, and there’s an air strip — the details from auctioneer Clive Emson doesn’t explain what your rights are over that, but there is at least the potential to fly down for the weekend, rather than braving the traffic on the A303. And if you want to find out more, this chap on YouTube paid a visit a couple of years ago:

The auction closes later today; we’ll report back with an update with the final hammer price… and we’ll watch with interest whatever happens next at this fascinating property.

Hope Cove Bunker was up for auction with Clive Emson — find more properties in the South Devon AONB