Such is the stressed-out Londoner’s need to hear himself think that relatively modest houses in quiet corners of Gloucestershire have been fetching pheno-menal prices in recent months. Privacy, seclusion and the absence of road or aircraft noise are an irresistible combination for City buyers, who nevertheless like to entertain lavishly, and will pay ‘whatever it takes’ for a house they really want, says Atty Beor-Roberts of Knight Frank in Cirencester (01285 659771). Some are even prepared to wait, he adds, citing the case of a client who offered to buy a particular house in June 2006 and eventually agreed a deal in June this year, with completion set for June 2008.
You can hear a pin drop at Pindrup on the edge of the Coln valley village of Coln St Denis a sought-after area otherwise known as Gloucester-shire SW3. Knight Frank quote a guide price of £6 million to £7 million for the Grade II-listed, early-18th-century Cotswold stone farmhouse with its slightly later 18th-century extension, in a magical 26-acre setting on the banks of the river. Over the past 20 years, the owners have cleverly expanded the house, linking it to a range of former barns to provide five reception rooms, a spectacular orangery, master and guest suites, four further bed-rooms and two further bathrooms. Another large barn could be incorporated to create a larger dining room, or a party room.
The small Cotswold village of Edgeworth, seven miles north-west of Cirencester, is one of the quietest places in Gloucestershire, according to Mr Beor-Roberts, who quotes a guide price of £3m for the even quieter Old Forge on the outskirts of the village. Here, a small 17th- or 18th-century cottage with an acre of garden bought by the present owners in the late 1990s has been ‘extensively extended’ to create the present L-shaped house, which has four reception rooms, three bedroom suites, two further bedrooms and a family bathroom. A substantial orangery by Marston & Langinger incorporates 10 sets of antique French windows, and provides additional entertaining space. A village house with an acre of garden for £3m? ‘A small price to pay for perfection,’ Mr Beor-Roberts says reassuringly.
A few miles north as the crow flies, the Mill House at Elkstone is another hidden Cotswold gem this one on Knight Frank’s books at a guide price of £1.6m. It, too, was a modest edge-of-village house in an idyllic lakeside setting when the present owners bought it six years ago, since when it has been renovated and extended to provide four reception rooms, master and guest suites, two further bedrooms, and a separate studio/office. The Mill House’s two-acre garden is dominated by the lake at the bottom of the lawn, where carefully sited comus, bamboo, irises and willow create a restful, ever-changing backdrop.
In complete defiance of the Property Misdescriptions Act, Thousand Acres (formerly Beaconsfield House) stands in 9.5 secluded acres on the edge of the pretty south Gloucestershire village of Wootton-under-Edge, with breathtaking views over its own land and gardens to the Brecon Beacons and Wales. The sturdy Victorian six-bedroom house was built in 1873 for local brewer Absolom Perrett, and was later home to Dame Joan Evans, a well-regarded writer on architecture and antiquities in her day. It is now on the market with Savills (01285 627550) at £2.75m.
The house was not in great shape when the present owners bought it six years ago and set about reinstating its Victorian virtues. They completely refurbished the house, laid a sweeping new driveway to emphasise the grandeur of the setting, and recreated the original Victorian walled garden. For selling agent Anthony Coaker, Thousand Acres now has everything a country family needs: from a sub-stantial main house with three reception rooms, a large kitchen/breakfast room, a lower-ground billiard-room and sitting room, six bedrooms, four bathrooms and a separate two bedroom coach house, to a swimming-pool complex, a tennis court, outbuildings and stabling, beautifully landscaped gardens and an orangery wired for sound, making it ‘an ideal venue for summer garden parties’.