As the song Who Wants to be a Millionaire goes, ‘Who wants the bother of a country estate? A country estate is something I’d hate.’ For those who love country estates and aspire to owning one someday, a more viable and practical option could be the Lilliputian version: the small country estate.
People downsizing from larger estates keen to live in smaller, easy-to-maintain houses don’t want to move away from the land, which makes a small estate attractive, points out Jonathan Bramwell from Prime Purchase Property Acquisition.
‘They still need space for their pets or prize dairy herd and a certain amount of privacy,’ he says. ‘These buyers are probably hunting, shooting and fishing types that want to walk the boundaries and shoot the odd pigeon or rabbit on their land.’
Getting a rundown estate that can be rejuvenated could be a good idea in the current climate where not many people want to take on a big project, suggests Mr Bramwell, but he warns that many underestimate the cost of extras such as landscaping and restoring outbuildings. ‘You can easily spend double what you expected to pay for the work.’
John Young from Chesterton Humberts’ country department has just found a small country estate consisting of a six-bedroom house, cottage and 15 acres for just over £1 million on the Dorset/Somerset border for a young couple that has sold a terrace house in London’s Islington for about the same amount.
‘You get a great deal more for your money,’ he says, ‘and the further you go from London, the bigger the bang for your buck.’
With more people working from home for two to three days a week, they no longer need to live so close to the office, thinks Mr Young. ‘This means they can sell the large London house and pick up a small estate with plenty of land and outbuildings and enjoy a more balanced lifestyle.’
A small country estate should generate income, believes buying agent Jonathan Harington from Haringtons UK. ‘You can let the land to local farmers and cottages to holiday-makers, which helps cover the upkeep of the gardens and house.’
Buyers should pay attention to the position of the main house on the estate – it should be surrounded on all sides by its own land have a lovely aspect, advises James Greenwood of Stacks Property Search. ‘Make sure it has sufficient land for its size, and that parcels of land haven’t been sold off making the estate property heavy.’
Here are three small country estates currently for sale in the UK that are something you will love rather than hate. Again, in the words of the song: ‘cause all I want is you.’
Tyn-Yr-Ynn, Denbighshire, North Wales £1.25 million
Three-bedroom farmhouse with private walled garden 30-foot studio, potential annex, river frontage and fishing on the River Alun, productive grassland, amenity woodland and rough shoot in about 90 acres. Jackson-Stops & Staff Chester 01244 328361 www.jackson-stops.co.uk
Saddlewood Manor, Leighterton, Gloucestershire £5.25 million
Six-bedroom Cotswold manor with indoor pool complex, dovecote, party barn, additional stone barn, two cottages, stone built stable yard with 30 boxes, American barn with 24 boxes, 25-acre polo field and 125 acres of paddocks all set in about 172 acres. Savills 020 7499 8644 www.savills.com
Copt Hewick Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire £5.5 million
Elegant eight-bedroom house that has all the small country estate prerequisites, including a Medieval entertaining courtyard, staff accommodation, pool, tennis court, changing rooms and gym, coach house, garden cottage, parkland, small lake and arable land set in 86 acres. Strutt & Parker Harrogate 01423 561274 www.struttandparker.com
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