Penny Churchill uncovers two gorgeous family homes for sale in this exclusive area.
Master builder W. G. Tarrant had the property world at his feet in after his hugely successful work at St George’s Hill in Surrey in the early 20th century. Rather than enjoy the spoils, however, he went on to create a new dream estate: Wentworth, the 1,750-acre Wentworth Estate covering 2½ square miles of gently undulating coniferous heath in Virginia Water.
Unlike St George’s Hill, where each house was built on at least an acre of land, at Wentworth, Tarrant opted for houses offering a broader mix of size and price, with the eastern area near Virginia Water village and its railway station having shops and smaller houses. To the west around the original golf course — the first of two designed by Harry Colt, and now known as the East Course — the plots of land and the houses would be larger. The covenants on the deeds forbade the subdivision of plots and the redevelopment of the houses was restricted to ensure that the exclusive nature of the area would be maintained.
An intriguing survivor of the Tarrant era is charming Bluebell Wood in elegant West Drive, Wentworth (pictured at the top of the page), said to be the last house that Tarrant himself built on the estate.
Unlike many contemporary houses on St George’s Hill and Wentworth, where the latest in gadgets and gizmos are de rigueur and owners seem to change with the seasons, Bluebell Wood has been the long-term family home of its present owners, who added a large extension to the eastern end of the house in the 1990s.
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Currently for sale through the Ascot office of Strutt & Parker (01344 636960) and Hamptons International in Sunningdale (01344 568149) at a guide price of £5.45m, the 4,630sq ft house stands in two acres of mature woodland gardens and grounds adjoining the ninth fairway of the East Course.
A traditionalist would probably be content to rejig and modernise the interior of the house, which offers a reception hall, four reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, 10 bedrooms, six bathrooms and a self-contained staff cottage.
Alternatively, the agents point out, you could go with the flow and, subject to planning permission, replace the present building with a large modern country house of grander proportions, given that the gently sloping grounds would make it possible to build a lower ground floor with the benefit of natural light.
At the opposite end of the design and price spectrum, Wentworth specialist Hencan has thrown down the gauntlet to the international market with the December launch of the classic, neo-Georgian Westbourn in Pinewood Road, Wentworth, at a guide price of £23m through Knight Frank (020 7861 1065) and Hanover Private Office (020 7935 5797).
Having bought the site 2½ years ago, the developer has created a sumptuous, 22,087sq ft mansion within landscaped grounds of 3.77 acres in one of the very best parts of the estate.
Built of mellow Bath stone with a 1,000sq ft roof terrace, the scene is set by the imposing double-height reception hall, the sweeping staircase leading to the galleried first-floor landing and the magnificent main reception rooms, all of which have views of the gardens.
The master bedroom suite is indeed a masterpiece, with a sitting area, his-and-her bathrooms, two dressing areas, a balcony and its own private roof terrace; five further bedroom suites have en-suite bathrooms or shower rooms.
The leisure facilities are second to none, with an entertainment room, a bar and games room and a wine-display room. At one end of the swimming pool is a gym, two treatment rooms, a sauna and a spa.
There is also a 16-seater cinema, garaging for eight cars, two staff flats and a commercial kitchen. Needless to say, Westbourn is equipped with the very best in audio-visual and home-automation technology, with underfloor heating and air-conditioning throughout.