Country houses for sale

New commuter map: Milverton

Milverton is one of the most sought after villages around Taunton in Somerset. It manages to tick several boxes for buyers moving out of London in search of the rural idyll: it’s a conservation village with a very good primary school, and it has two pubs one with excellent food an active church and a very pretty Georgian high street. It also boasts that increasingly rare trinity of a post office, village shop and doctor’s surgery to boot. ‘The market in Milverton was unusually quiet at the end of last year throughout the price range, although property at the top end of the market, those for sale for more than £1 million, attracted quite a lot of interest. But we’re hoping to see a good flurry of activity now the New Year has started,’ says Brian Bishop of Jackson-Stops & Staff.

‘Prices on some properties, mostly in the mid range from £400,000 to £800,000 have been selling at lower values than expected. For example, we sold one for £800,000, which was on the market for £875,000; another for £645,000, which was previously £695,000. However, houses in North Street, which is the most sought-after street in Milverton, are holding up. We achieved £850,000 for a five-bedroom, beautifully restored terraced house at the end of 2007.’ Someone looking for a small two to three bedroom weekend cottage in Milverton can expect to pay between £275,000 and £325,000, and, for a pretty Georgian or Victorian house with four bedrooms, between £450,000 and £550,000. A large Georgian country house with 30 acres close to the town would cost from £2.5 million to £3 million.

Travelling time: Taunton is about a 20-minute drive from Milverton, and from there, the journey takes about 1 hour 45 minutes by rail to Paddington. And there are excellent long-term and short-term car parks, which are easy to get into.

Schools: King’s College and Queen’s College are both excellent private schools for 13-18 year old girls and boys. Also within easy distance are Taunton School and Wellington. All four have their own junior schools. Kingsmead Community School is a good secondary school in Wiveliscombe.

Shopping: The shopping in Taunton has improved over the past 10 years, and there is now a very good shopping centre. The useful town of Wiveliscombe is five minutes away.

Eating: The Castle Hotel is very popular and has a good restaurant; Brazz, which is also part of the hotel, is a fun contemporary wine bar. The Sanctuary is a good atmospheric bistro, and another nice eatery is the Thai Jasmine Restaurant. ‘There are also many good pubs in the surrounding villages, all with good food,’ says Mr Bishop.

Attractions: Taunton is the home to the Somerset County Cricket ground and is also well known for its racecourse. Two country houses worth visiting are Hestercombe House in Cheddon Fitzpaine, which opens its gardens to the public, and Cothay Manor in Greenham, near Wellington, an early medieval manor with beautiful gardens.

Pros: There is a bypass around the village, so it’s very quiet. Milverton is surrounded by the Blackdown, Brendan and Quantock hills with good riding and walking. It’s also close to Junction 26 of the M5, so you can be in Exeter in 30 minutes and Bristol in an hour.

Cons: Hardly any, but parking in Milverton can be a problem, and theprices of houses in North Street, most of which are listed, are pretty steep, with mainly Londoners and ex-military people living there.