After a quiet August, September represents the last real opportunity for West Country vendors to launch a country property on the market with a view to securing a sale by the end of the year, says Robin Thomas of Strutt & Parker in Exeter. But, he adds, ‘given next year’s uncertain outlook, realistic pricing is crucial’. A quick review of the best that the region has to offer this autumn suggests that most sellers have taken that message on board.
Ease of access to London and good local schooling are major factors when it comes to valuing a country house in these parts, hence the £2.75m guide price quoted by Knight Frank (01392 423111) for pretty, thatched Stockwell House, near the Exe Valley village of Silverton, 10 miles from Exeter and 12 miles from Tiverton Parkway station (London Paddington is two hours away by train). Silverton has an excellent primary school, and Stockwell House also lies within the reduced-fee area of the highly regarded Blundell’s School at Tiverton.
The 7,317sq ft house, part of which dates from the 16th century, stands in 22 acres of immaculate gardens and paddocks, with views over open countryside to the National Trust-owned Killerton estate. Accommodation includes four reception rooms, a study, a games room, a music room, a kitchen/breakfast room, five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a self-contained two-bedroom cottage. Amenities include an indoor swimming pool, a tennis court and all-weather cricket nets.
Looking for all the world like a classic mid-18th-century farmhouse, charming Waterhouse Farm near Stockland, eight miles from Honiton, Devon, was in fact built in 1996 to the original design of architect Greg Noble. Set at the heart of its 70 acres of well-fenced pasture and water meadows in
a particularly unspoilt part of the Blackdown Hills AONB, the house was bought in 2007 by the present owners, who have converted one of two ancient barns to a two-bedroom cottage annexe, and created an elaborate extension to provide an elegant family room and kitchen/living room.
Sadly, the unexpected demise of their chosen prep school at nearby Honiton has forced a swift change of educational plans, and Waterhouse Farm has been put on the market with Jackson-Stops & Staff in Taunton (01823 325144) at a guide price of £2.2m. The house, which offers frontage and fishing on the River Yarty, has three main reception rooms, a kitchen/living room, five bedrooms and three bathrooms. ‘We are quite happy with the guide price of £3.75m quoted for The Keep at Mount Boone, Dartmouth,’ insists selling agent Christopher Bailey of Knight Frank (020-7629 8171).
‘After all, this is arguably the best house in Dartmouth, set high above the town with magnificent sea and estuary views, beautiful landscaped gardens, ample parking and a south-east facing terrace that catches the sun all day long.’ Built by the Seale family in 1856, The Keep, listed Grade II, was designed in a castellated style to blend in with the castles that line the cliffs around the mouth of the Dart and once protected the harbour.
The grand, 6,836sq ft house has five fine reception rooms, a study, a conservatory, a sun room, a kitchen/breakfast room, master and guest suites, two further bedrooms, a family bathroom and a second-floor one-bedroom annexe; nearly every room in the house enjoys glorious views of the gardens and the Dart estuary.
Just over the Tamar bridge in Cornwall, Knight Frank (01392 423111) and Strutt & Parker (01392 215631) are offering 240-acre Shillingham Manor Farm at Antony Passage, eight miles from Plymouth, at a guide price of £3m for the whole, or in four lots. A haven for wildlife, the residential,
arable and stock farm has wonderful views across the River Lynher towards Antony House, now owned by the National Trust.
It comprises a recently restored and modernised 18th-century manor house, listed Grade II, the ruin of a Grade II-listed 14th-century chapel, a number of traditional and modern farm buildings, arable and pasture land, a large area of woodland, a quay and an extensive foreshore, with direct access to the River Lynher. Shillingham has 5,075sq ft of accommodation on two floors, including four spacious reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, a study, five bedrooms and three bathrooms. The gardens include a croquet lawn and a kitchen garden.
Having sold no fewer than 10 properties for between £1m and £3m in the past couple of months, Ian Lillicrap of Cornish agents Lillicrap Chilcott (01872 273473) is in a buoyant mood. The pick
of his autumn crop, at a guide price of £1.65m, is gracious Tremayne House at St Martin-in-Meneage, near Helston, Cornwall, which stands in 1¾ acres of formal gardens and grounds, surrounded by farmland owned by the National Trust.
The house, listed Grade II, dates from the 17th century or earlier, and was remodelled in the early 1800s by the Vyvyan family of Trelowarren. For sale for the first time in 15 years, Tremayne House has been stylishly renovated by its current owners with the installation of a new plumbing system, kitchens and bathrooms. It has an impressive reception hall with a cantilevered staircase, four reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a first-floor annexe wing. ‘This is a house you can be in control of, rather than it being in control of you,’ Mr Lillicrap adds sagely.