Country houses for sale

A gorgeous farmhouse next door to Stonehenge with a gardens by an iconic Chelsea gold medal winner

At Moor Hatches, while away the hours fishing on the Avon, enjoying the amazing gardens, or exploring this seven bedroom farmhouse with exquisite interiors.

The ancient Wiltshire parish of Woodford lies between Salisbury and Amesbury on the western side of the River Avon, bounded on the east by the winding course of the river and on the west by the old turnpike road from Salisbury to Devizes, now the A360. It’s a well-trodden part of the country, partly due to its proximity to the A303 from London to the West Country, and especially because this is the nearest village to Stonehenge. 

The land rises sharply from some 200ft above sea level in the valley to about 400ft at the top of the down. The land on the slopes is mainly pasture and, in the valley, the famous chalkstream runs fast and deep. For centuries, it was fished by permission of the lords of the manors of Woodford and Heale.

The famous Avon chalkstream flows at the bottom of the garden. Fishing rights are included in the sale.

It’s a tranquil pastoral setting where, according to the Victoria County History (1962), ‘the most notable event in the history of the parish occurred in 1651, when Charles II took refuge at Heale House during his flight from Cromwell’s army after the battle of Worcester’.

Undisturbed by housing development in the 19th and 20th centuries, the relatively small number of good houses available along the picturesque valley is much sought after nowadays by country-house buyers from Salisbury and further afield.

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The sitting room. Refined modern elegance.

Oliver Custance Baker of Strutt & Parker quotes a guide price of £4.5 million for the charming Moor Hatches, a converted former 18th-century farmstead set in six acres of formal walled gardens, kitchen garden and orchards at the head of the valley.

The house, which is unlisted, lies within the UNESCO Stonehenge World Heritage site — walk down the path, cross the road, and you’ll get to the stones themselves. And as if that’s not idyllic enough it’s also bounded by the River Avon, which runs along the bottom of the garden.

Built of brick and flint under a clay-tiled roof, the former farmhouse, barns and an older non-conformist chapel were combined in the 1930s to create a significant, 4,850sq ft country house, which has been thoroughly and tastefully modernised by its current owners.

A thoughtful and tasteful modernisation of the interiors has been undertaken by the current owners.

It offers light and airy accommodation on three floors, including an entrance hall, three reception rooms, a family kitchen/breakfast room, a principal bedroom suite, six further bedrooms and three bathrooms.

The main house incorporates a two-bedroom staff cottage and comes with planning consent for a two-storey extension to provide an office, gymnasium, car barn and garden store, with a one-bedroom annexe on the first floor.

The Tom Stuart-Smith designed gardens.

As Mr Custance-Baker sagely observes, ‘a beautiful country home is as much about its setting as its bricks and mortar’. Moor Hatches lacks nothing in this regard, being one of only a handful of gardens in the UK where the entire design has been overseen by internationally renowned landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith.

‘A wonderful maze-like area of watery meanderings, a sanctuary for both people and wildlife’.

Here, he has created a naturalistic garden in three distinct parts: the first is a formal courtyard area in front of the house, which explodes into a sea of tulips in spring; the second is a two-level walled garden with a swimming pool at its centre; finally, an open lawn and wildflower meadow leads down to the river bank, where a number of ponds and rivulets create what is described as ‘a wonderful maze-like area of watery wanderings, a sanctuary for both people and wildlife’.

Alternatively, why not while away the day at the end of a line? Fishing rights on the prestigious River Avon are included in the sale.

Moor Hatches is for sale with Strutt and Parker for £4.5 million. For more information and pictures, click here

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