Thursday, 18 August 2022

Country estate has lots to offer


Country estate has lots to offer

A SUBSTANTIAL country estate in Harpsden, on the southwestern edge of Henley, has come on the market with Simmons & Sons for the first time in 40 years.

The property is being sold as a whole or in two separate lots. Lot one is a family home with 22.5 acres of land and a guide price of £3,450,000.

Lot two is a group of three historic farm buildings with planning permission for development and a guide price of £800,000, bringing the combined total to £4,250,000.

A tour of the Harpsden Hill House estate is like peering into the past and seeing the future at the same time.

I visited on a balmy afternoon as summer was turning into autumn, some of the trees on the estate were turning red and brown leaves were crunching underfoot.

The eight-bedroom house, built in 1920, is in a private and secluded spot surrounded by dense foliage, at the top of a long tree-lined drive that winds uphill through the fields.

It needs to be completely refurbished and modernised, but it has the potential to be a fabulous family home when the work has been done.

The house has a large entrance hall with wooden parquet flooring and an open staircase in the middle. There is a spacious drawing room with a garden room on one side, a dining room, a snug and a study, along with a kitchen-breakfast room that features a vintage Rayburn range cooker.

The first floor has a big landing, a master bedroom with an en suite bathroom, seven further bedrooms, two bathrooms and a second set of stairs leading back down to the ground floor.

The upstairs is potentially a fantastic living space, although it does need some clever redesign and refurbishment throughout.

With some strategic improvements made to the garden — in other words, with slightly fewer trees — the view over the estate from the bedroom windows would be far-reaching and spectacular.

Next to the main house is a row of unused storage rooms, a cellar containing two giant oil boilers that would not look out of place in a museum, and two double garages.

Above the garages is a self-contained apartment, which is in good decorative order and could be a comfortable place for a family to live in while the refurbishment work is going on in the main house.

There is a former grass tennis court in the grounds, a wide stepped lawn and a large number of beautiful and enormous trees.

The gardens around Harpsden Hill House are packed with well established greenery, gnarled tree trunks, crooked gates, curious features, stone walls and pinecone-covered paths zigzagging between the hedges.

Again, the potential here is vast — the grounds are fabulous and could be even better with a strong creative vision and some investment in landscape design and gardening.

Beyond the gardens, the land included in the sale includes areas of woodland and four fields.

We drove back down the drive to Hunts Farm, which is being sold either as part of the estate or separately.

Planning permission has been granted for the development of the three buildings on this site, creating three new homes, garden space and off-street parking.

Hunts Farm Barn is a cavernous structure made with huge timber beams, and believed to date back to the 17th century.

It may now be converted into a 2,900 sq ft four-bedroom house, with the historically interesting features protected by its Grade II-listed status incorporated into the design.

Hunts Farm Cottage is thought to be even older, probably a 15th century agricultural dwelling, and has not been lived in for many years. It is full of character and charm but requires a lot of attention to make it habitable again.

This Grade II-listed cottage is semi-detached and needs to be renovated. Permission has been granted for this and an extension, which will bring the living space in Hunts Farm Cottage to 1,200 sq ft and into the 21st century.

Interestingly, the semi-detached cottage on the other side of this building is a lovely refurbished home already, and is on the market in an entirely separate sale with Peers and Hilton.

The third building earmarked for development is Hunts Farm Dairy. A single storey building that was once occupied by cattle may now be turned into a modern three-bedroom bungalow of 1,300 sq ft.

The Harpsden Hill House and Hunts Farm estate is full of history and promise, and represents a unique development opportunity.

For more information or to arrange a viewing, call Simmons & Sons on (01491) 571111.

At a glance...


Bedrooms: eight

Bathrooms: three

Receptions: four

Separate apartment: Three bedrooms, one reception room, one bathroom

Additional space: Garages, storage rooms, workshops, basement, garden room

Gross internal area: 6,553 sq ft, 608 sq m

Land: approximately 22.5 acres

Guide price: £3,450,000

Agent: Simmons & Sons on (01491) 571111


Buildings for development: Semi-detached cottage, former dairy building, timber-framed barn

Land: Approximately 0.54 acres

Guide price: £800,000

Agent: Simmons & Sons on (01491) 571111


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