Country houses for sale

Houses estate agents wish they’d bought

‘It’s a little charmer’
Oakley Farmhouse, Mottisfont, Hampshire
Tom Hudson, Middleton Advisers

‘It’s not the largest or most impressive house that I’ve seen, but it’s in a setting that can’t be beaten. It’s a pretty Georgian farmhouse on the banks of the River Test in the middle of the Mottisfont Abbey estate. Manageable, charming, peaceful, with great gardens, some good rooms and the best chalk stream in the world babbling at the bottom of the terrace and just 70 miles from London-perfect for the Hudsons!’

Oakley Farmhouse

‘It oozes character’
Hascombe Court, Godalming, Surrey
John Denney, Hamptons

‘Over my 35 years in agency, Hascombe Court is one of the properties that I have had the pleasure of dealing with on several occasions and is, without doubt, the one I always wished I could have been fortunate enough to own.

It enjoys a spectacular elevated position with glorious views across Surrey’s picturesque countryside. The house is an Arts-and-Crafts masterpiece built by J. D. Coleridge, a former pupil of Edwin Lutyens, in 1906/7. I particularly like the mix of architectural styles, with elevations of fine Bargate stone to the front and then, to the rear, it’s softer, with a part-timber elevation and detailed herringbone brickwork. Inside, the principal rooms are panelled in oak. It oozes character and I imagine is ideal for both family life and entertaining on a grand scale.’

Hascombe Court

‘A time capsule with
a secret garden’
Castle Farm, Wickham, Hampshire

Matthew Hallet, Carter Jonas ‘When I first saw Castle Farm it had been largely untouched since the 1930s. With classic proportions of about 7,000sq ft, the Georgian farmhouse also had a stable block, kennels and a granary. Grounds included a wonderfully overgrown walled garden and a pond. To find such a time capsule with its secret gardens and tree branches growing through windows was enchanting.’

Castle Farm

‘I have an interest in all things Art Deco’
 Yaffle House, Poole, Dorset
Tim Winney, Winkworth

‘In November 2006, after a chance initial meeting with the clients in a local pub, I received instructions to sell Yaffle House, a Grade II-listed property, just outside Poole in Dorset. Built in 1930, the house was the missing link between traditional and modern, a hybrid of the Arts-and-Crafts and Art Deco periods of architecture.

I would have loved to have bought the house, as I have an interest in Poole Pottery and all things Art Deco-I’ve always thought the 1930s would have been a fun time to have lived, especially if you had been upstairs rather than downstairs. Unfortunately, at the time the house was for sale, the £1.5 million asking price was unaffordable. It was sold to a distant relative of the Carters, who I believe has now restored it to its former glory.’

Yaffle House

‘Views to die for’
Shakenhurst Hall, Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire
Andrew Grant, Andrew Grant
‘Every time I visit Shakenhurst,I never want to drive out of the gates again. It’s just such a beautiful Queen Anne house in a wonderful position in unspoilt countryside and at the end of a lovely long drive. The views are simply to die for. Of course, I could never afford it, but I’m fortunate enough to shoot there every so often and I’ve known it for about 20 years. It’s definitely my dream house.’

Shakenhurst Hall

‘Like being transported to a Tolkien book’
Hookeswood House, Blandford, Dorset
John Young, Chesterton Humberts

‘In my 30-year career, I’ve sold this house twice and bought it once for clients-the most recent time was in 2002, when we advertised it in Country Life. It’s a handsome property set in beautiful gardens at the end of a small no-through lane. Surrounded by chalk downland, it feels like you’ve been transported to another era or even a Tolkien book. The layout and interior are informal and relaxed and it has one of the most spectacular cottage swimming pools I’ve ever seen.’

Hookeswood House

‘I was instantly taken by its charm’
 Hamsey Manor, Lewes, East Sussex
Tim Page-Ratcliff, Strutt & Parker

‘The house lies about two miles outside Lewes, and I’d driven past it, on average, about once a week for 20 years. It has a classically symmetrical Georgian elevation, one that a country-house agent finds impossible to pass without giving it more than just a cursory glance. It’s even worth slowing down for. Then, in 2007, I was invited by the owner to advise on the sale. Instantly, I was taken by its charm-the five reception rooms, seven bedrooms and three bathrooms provide wonderfully elegant accommodation. Standing in grounds of just under 12 acres, with glorious views to the South Downs, the picture was complete. A daily commute of just under five minutes to my office in Lewes would have been ideal.’

Hamsey Manor

‘Award-winning gardens’
 Bourton House, Bourton-on-the-Hill, Gloucestershire
Robert Pritchard, Smiths Gore

‘We sold this magnificent Queen Anne manor house [which will be featured in next week’s issue] which is situated between two significant Cotswold estates, last autumn. The gardens were the creation of our vendors, Mr and Mrs Richard Paice. They won the Historic Houses Association/Christie’s Garden of the Year award, and every time I visited, there was the most sensitive shift in the garden, from a change in colour, hue or texture. It was virtually imperceptible and yet the displays were so vibrant and life-enhancing.’


Bourton House