Country houses for sale

For sale for the first time in 50 years, an unlisted Sussex farmhouse surrounded by a ‘thriving 117-acre nature reserve’

Newbarn sits on the edge of the 770-acre Bewl Water reservoir, and has been a much loved family home of more than 4,200sq ft.

The picturesque setting of Newbarn on the banks of the Bewl Water, three miles from Wadhurst on the Kent/East Sussex border and nine miles from Tunbridge Wells, is almost entirely manmade. The 770-acre Bewl Water reservoir was created between 1973 and 1975 by damming the valley of the River Bewl, a tributary of the Teise, and flooding it with more than 31,300 million litres of water, during which time land was compulsorily purchased and farms relocated, leaving buildings and ancient lanes submerged beneath the surface.

It is, as you can see, quite a big lake.

Surrounded by a thriving 117-acre nature reserve — a haven for birds and wildlife — the lake is home to a wide range of aquatic sports, with numerous woodland paths providing endless opportunities for cycling, walking or riding.

One of the reception rooms.

For sale for the first time since Bewl Water was built, Newbarn, which is unlisted, is an enchanting Sussex farmhouse set in the middle of 14 acres of gardens and paddocks that slope gently down to the water’s edge, to which it has private access. Selling agents Knight Frank quote a guide price of £4.25m for the 4,208sq ft main house, which dates from 1720, and offers light and airy accommodation on four floors, including four reception rooms, a principal bedroom suite, five further bedrooms and two bathrooms.

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A (dining) room with a view.

‘It was a very different picture that confronted my parents when, in 1977, they bought the neglected farmhouse, previously home to the manager of the nearby Whiligh estate,’ says Miriam Bentsen, the present owner, who recalls her own idyllic childhood at Newbarn.

The well-appointed kitchen.

It took her parents 10 years or more to restore the farmhouse, oast houses and buildings, and when, years later, she and her husband, Morten, were desperately looking for a place in the country where they could keep horses, they decided to buy her parents’ house.

If the first lake is too big, the house also comes with a smaller lake. Credit: Andy Scott

Over the next 20 years or more, their children enjoyed the same Swallows and Amazons experience, swimming, sailing, windsurfing and paddle-boarding on Bewl Water, riding through the woods or whizzing around the farm on quad bikes. Now that their offspring are almost on their way, the time has come for the Bentsens to move on, although Mrs Bentsen is dreading the day when they have to leave ‘this wonderfully peaceful and quiet place, where the only sound you hear is birdsong, the rustle of wind in the trees, or the drone of the occasional aeroplane’.

Newbarn is for sale with Knight Frank for £4.25 million. For more information and pictures, click here


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