With 15 residential properties, over 1,500 acres of arable land, a further 78 acres of ancient woodland and a Site of Scientific Interest, Gawy Hall Estate is not a property you come across all too often.
In Norfolk’s Waveney Valley, Charlie Paton of the Savills farms and estates team is handling the sale of the high-powered 1,953-acre Gawdy Hall farming estate near Harleston, 12 miles from Diss and 19 miles from Norwich, at a guide price of £24.25m for the whole, or in seven lots.
There is no longer a ‘big house’ on the estate, as the hall built in the 1500s by the influential Gawdy family was demolished in 1939, the year after the estate was sold at auction to Jean Henri Tresfon, grandfather of the present vendors.
At the time, the old house was in need of substantial repair and, faced with crippling taxes and the huge building costs involved, it was decided to replace it in the short term with a four-bedroom, South African-style timber lodge that Tresfon enjoyed living in so much that he never got around to rebuilding the hall.
Happily, the original 117-acre landscaped parkland, serpentine lake and ancillary buildings, including the former entrance building to the hall, coach house and kitchen garden, still remain and could provide an appropriate setting for a grand new country house, subject to planning consent.
Thanks to constant reinvestment in the land and buildings over the years, the now highly mechanised farm has evolved from a payroll of 58 men working 1,050 acres in 1953, to three men working an acreage of almost twice that size today.
‘It’s almost unheard of to find a ring-fenced, near 2,000-acre farming estate for sale in Norfolk with an extensive residential portfolio, a large block of ancient woodland—a SSSI and the setting for a former shoot—and the potential to create a new principal house in historic parkland,’ Mr Paton observes.
Harleston: What you need to know
Location: In the heart of the Waveney Valley, 12 miles from Diss (which has train links to Norwich, Ipswich and London Liverpool Street), about 20 miles south of Norwich and about 28 miles from the Norfolk Coast.
Atmosphere: Within the market town are a number of shops, pubs and a hotel all dotted around historic buildings. There is also a strong arts community.
Things to do: The town is a great place from which to base yourself to explore the wider Waveney Valley area. Visit the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, walk the Angels Way which follows the county border between Norfolk and Suffolk, or take a day trip to Earsham Hall or Billingford Mill.
Schools: Harleston C of E Primary School and Alburgh with Denton Church of England Primary School are the local primary options with Archbishop Sandcroft High School for secondary.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.