Country houses for sale

A picture-perfect Elizabethan home in a Surrey village that has aged simply beautifully

The charmingly-named By The Way is a lovely house full of character and in a great location — but is there a compromise to be made? James Fisher takes a look.

Many things age well, such as red wines, cheeses or Madonna, but few things so well as By The Way in the village of Witley, which can trace its roots back to the 16th century. It’s up for sale via Hamptons International at £835,000.

Externally, the property is still bursting with Elizabethan character, being of brick-and-timber construction, with sloped roof and mullioned windows.

Inside, period features remain, mixed in with a light touch of modernisation, including an extension to create a ground-floor bedroom suite with its own external door.

That external door will see a lot of action, as the gardens and grounds are a playground of separate areas, such as the ‘secret garden’ that is enclosed by mature beech hedges, the main lawn and a sunken garden with a well-stocked fishpond and waterfall.

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There are three bedrooms as things stand, and the agents note that the master bedroom’s dressing room ‘could easily be returned to a separate 4th bedroom if needed’. The catch is that you’d need to walk through one room to get to the other, but that’s not necessarily a deal breaker for parents with small children.

The second upstairs bedroom, it has to be said, is fairly tiny: it’s currently used as a home office, and considering that it’s an L-shaped room that’s not much more than 9’x8’ that seems the best use for it.

That said, this is a pricey part of the world, between Haslemere and Godalming, and character properties are incredibly sought-after in similar villages nearby. It’s especially so here given Witley’s station, easy access to the A3, wide open spaces (the National Trust-managed common is a lovely spot) and good schools. This is the age-old conundrum of trying to balance location, character, space and price.

For sale via Hamptons International at £835,000 — see more pictures and details.