Country houses for sale

Endless views, period charm and a magical setting at this delightful Devon mansion

East Down Manor is on the market, a gem of a place set in a dozen acres of wonderful English countryside.

Down in deepest Devon, James Carroll of Jackson-Stops quotes a guide price of £2m for Grade II*-listed East Down Manor, near Barnstaple. The property stands in more than 12 acres of idyllic gardens, grounds and magical woodland on the edge of the pretty North Devon hamlet of East Down, in the foothills of Exmoor National Park, with expansive views across the rolling north Devon countryside.

Originally a Dower House serving Arlington Court, now owned by the National Trust, the striking Georgian-fronted house probably dates from the late 17th century, with some 18th-century remodelling. Currently in need of modernisation after 60 years of ownership by the same family, East Down Manor offers three main reception rooms, six bedrooms, three bathrooms and two self-contained, two-bedroom apartments.

Once part of a large Devon estate owned by the Pine-Coffin dynasty, the manor was bought in the 1960s by the family of Victoria Scott Brown, who recalls how her parents, then based in London, came to look at a two-up, two-down, cottage by the sea at Instow: ‘Unimpressed by the cottage, they were on their way home when Ma spotted an advertisement for East Down Manor in the local paper at nearly the same price, and immediately fell in love with the house.

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‘Pa, who trained as an artist in New Zealand, was an interior designer who gathered interesting and colourful paintings, furniture and ceramics from all over London. On our regular trips to Devon, the estate car would be loaded with children, while large paintings or furniture were carried on the roof.’

‘On one occasion’, she adds, ‘a painting later identified as being by Devon artist Benjamin Haughton, who lived at East Down Manor in the early 1900s, blew off on Salisbury Plain and was reclaimed somewhat the worse for wear.’

‘The painting of the manor garden still needs restoration and a little love, like the rest of the house, but it will remain with it as part of its history.’

East Down Manor is for sale at £2m — see more details and pictures.

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