Country houses for sale

An incredible chance to live in the grounds of the house which inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett’s ‘The Secret Garden’

'If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.' — Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.

Designed in 1909 by Edwin Lutyens for the Right Honourable H J Tennant, Great Maytham Hall is a Grade II listed building of ‘historic interest.’

Great Maytham Hall.

And while Great Maytham Hall isn’t for sale, one of its outbuildings is. Coach House Mews once formed part of the original stables attached to Great Maytham Hall, and is now a well-presented family home on the market via Savills at a guide price of £845,000.

Yet it isn’t the main house, nor the coach house — although undoubtedly impressive — that has our interests piqued…

Recommended videos for you

The communal gardens and grounds at Great Maytham Hall are said to have been the source of inspiration behind Frances Hodgon Burnett’s iconic novel The Secret Garden.

‘In the early 1900s, American authoress, Frances Hodgson Burnett discovered an iron gate covered in ivy, and beyond it she saw glimpses of an overgrown walled garden,’ reads the Hall’s website. ‘Peeking through the bars at the neglected blooms and tangled vines, a story began to form – of a secret garden waiting to be discovered.’

Sadly — and almost incredibly – the original gate that Burnett is said to have peeked through (just as her character Mary does in the novel) was bricked up in 1910 when renovation work was carried out in the garden by Gertrude Jekyll.

However, its replacement still creates that visceral image that has become so well-known from the novels and subsequent film adaptations, whereby visitors can peer through the gate into the flourishing formal gardens beyond.

The gardens are formed of three ‘rooms’, all of which centre around a black-iron gate, draped in Wisteria, where a stone plaque reads ‘The Secret Garden.’

Elsewhere are formal lawns with a central pond and woodland for ‘the curious’ to explore.

Coach House Mews offers two/three bedrooms plus two reception rooms with a private courtyard and roof terrace.

The sloped roof conservatory offers plenty of natural daylight, whilst the teal green stable doors form an appealing juxtaposition against the red bricks on its exterior.

This charming property provides the opportunity to live amongst arguably ‘the most famous garden in literature’ and will no doubt be a source of inspiration for many.

‘And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.’

Coach House Mews is currently on the market via Savills at a guide price of £845,000 — see more pictures, or enquire with the agent for further details. 

Rolvenden: What you need to know

Location: In the Ashford district of Kent in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Atmosphere: The pretty village is home to a weekly farmers’ market, several pubs, a village store and church.

Things to do: Explore the beautiful communal gardens and the surrounding AONB. Cranbrook, Tunbridge Wells and Ashford provide a range of shopping and leisure facilities.

Schools: Rolvenden Primary School is located within the village, whilst Benenden Church of England Primary School and Tenterden Church of England Junior School are within the surrounding area. For secondary, Benenden School offers secondary education for girls and and Cranbrook School is also a boarding grammar option.

See more property for sale in the area.

Best country houses for sale this week

From a truly magnificent Shropshire stately home to a string of delightful thatched cottages, enjoy our pick of the finest