Penny Churchill takes a look at the bold and beautiful Rookwoods, nestled in its own valley in the Cotswolds AONB.
Magnificent Cotswolds estates seem to be like the proverbial London buses at the moment, for hot on the heels of Edgeworth Manor appearing on the market is Rookwoods, between Stroud and Cirencester in the heart of Laurie Lee country, on the market at £10 million through Savills and Knight Frank.
It’s not much more than a stone’s throw from Edgeworth to the rustic charm of Rookwoods, a beautifully renovated, late-17th-century former manorial farmhouse set in 50 acres of landscaped gardens, meadows, paddocks and woodland overlooking the unspoilt Holy Brook Valley, deep in the Cotswold Hills.
Although the earliest records of Rookwoods date from 1190, the most prominent family to have lived there were successive generations of Butlers, from the end of the 17th century. Its Historic England listing mentions restorations dated ‘W. T. 1835’, which were probably carried out by William Taylor, who owned the property in 1844.
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The present inhabitants, whose family home it has been for more than 20 years, have restored and extended the house, its outbuildings and grounds to create the perfect country retreat.
Approached through electric gates down a long drive, the main house offers more than 8,000sq ft of cheerful, light-filled living space, including a dining room/reception hall, kitchen/breakfast room, garden room, family room, snug, study, flower room and butler’s pantry on the ground floor.
Above, there is a principal bedroom suite, five further bedrooms, and two bathrooms on the first and second floors. There is also and a self-contained guest suite on the ground and first floors.
The drawing room occupies a wing originally built in 1954 and extended by the current owners, whereas the kitchen is a large open-plan family room, built in about 2000, with a vaulted ceiling of fine oak timbers and fully fitted with Mark Wilkinson units.
Outbuildings include a stable yard built by the owners in 2006 and something which will catch the eye in fine style. A traditional Cotswold stone barn has been created which looks entirely traditional in style from the outside, but which comprises a large games room, bar — complete with neon ‘Hollyrookwoods’ sign — and a state-of-the-art Art Deco cinema designed by the American home-theatre designer Theo Kalomirakis. Such modern flourishes are found throughout a house which mixes ancient beams with extravagant hot tubs and bold design.
There is also further accommodation among the outbuildings: the one-bedroom Jockey Cottage, renovated in 2003; and the self-contained Audio Barn, which could be used as an additional cottage or office space.
The gardens and grounds have been reconfigured by the owners to include a delightful kitchen garden, a children’s playground with a tree house, a hard tennis court, a spring-fed lake with a jetty and an outdoor swimming pool with a Cotswold-stone surrounding wall for added privacy.