Property of the week: Five-star luxury home near Barnstaple
Becky Sheaves discovers a magical North Devon home designed with entertaining in mind.
Once upon a time, Scotts Moor consisted of just three derelict cottages, a five-acre field and a stream.
Today, the property has been transformed into a luxury home set in magical and very private grounds, with six bedrooms, large gardens and a wildlife haven of a field, surrounded by mature trees.
"We bought Scotts Moor eight years ago," explains owner Susie, who owns the property with her businessman husband David. "It had been built in 2001 by a local property developer as his own family home, so everything is top-of-the range and really just as good as you can get. It's a really wonderful place to live."
Indeed, it is hard to know where to start when describing Scotts Moor. Perhaps its many attractions are best explained by daughter Rebecca, now in her twenties, who describes a visit home to her family as: "Just like staying in a five-star hotel".
Indeed, David and Susie even went to the lengths of having the house and its grounds registered for weddings, so that in 2009 Rebecca could get married in the huge Georgian-style orangery. The ceremony was followed by a party in a marquee in the beautiful 3.7 acre field.
"It was a fabulous celebration," remembers Susie with a smile. And there have certainly been many memorable get-togethers over the years at Scotts Moor, which has more than 7,000 square feet of accommodation space. "David has a really large family and we love getting everyone together. There is so much space here, and so much to do."
If you are sporty, you might enjoy the top-notch all-weather tennis court here, or a swim in the 40 x20 ft pool. "When we bought the house, there was almost nothing we needed to do to it as everything was so new," says Susie. "But one of the improvements we did make and have really enjoyed was to put a retractable building over the swimming pool. It gives us the best of both worlds – an open air pool on hot summer days, and all-year-round swimming in comfort and warmth as well."
If relaxation is more your thing, then there is also top-of-the range hot tub, as well as a full-size snooker room and a library. Or you could just wander through the grounds, where the mature trees all around the property make the 4.7 acres a completely private and magically secluded. The wildlife at the property is well worth watching, as David and Susie have done much to promote conservation on their land, including creating extensive wildflower meadows and planting trees.
The house was certainly constructed with no expense spared, and includes a glamorous master bedroom that is 29ft long. Its separate dressing room is bigger than most double bedrooms (17 x13ft) with deluxe oak wardrobes and dressing tables.
Downstairs, the large family kitchen is a particular highlight. It has a four-oven Aga, a gas range cooker and two additional electric cookers. There is space for a generous kitchen table seating 12 or more, and very pretty and extensive hand-built painted wood units. "It is no chore at all to cook in the kitchen here, as this room is so friendly and sociable. I love having everyone around the table, chatting and eating," says Susie.
Susie and David are, they explain, going to miss Scotts Moor. "To be honest, we had planned to stay here until we were 100," says Susie with a laugh. But then an opportunity came up to buy and restore a Grade II listed house on the coast nearby. It was a challenge which the couple could not resist. "Although we are retired now, after a lifetime working together in business, we still wanted to have a go at a really major renovation project," says Susie.
"We've bought our new home already and have spent well over a year completely gutting it with major renovation work. Now our new home is finally ready to live in, it's time to say a fond farewell to Scotts Moor."
Susie and David's ambitious restoration project is a wonderful opportunity for new owners to buy a house that, quite simply, needs nothing doing to it at all. "This is a very easy house to live in and extremely low-maintenance," says Susie.
What is more, despite its seclusion, the property is far from isolated. Although it lies at the end of its own private drive, it is on the edge of Barnstaple and it is within easy reach of the shops and eateries in the oldest and most charming part of Barnstaple, on the north-western outskirts of the town. Within a short drive you will also find the dramatic scenery of Exmoor, and the renowned surfing beaches of Croyde, Saunton Sands and Woolacombe. Fishing can be enjoyed on the Rivers Taw and Torridge, while safe bathing, sailing and boating are on offer in the sheltered estuary waters of Instow and Appledore. There is also a good choice of golf courses in the area, the nearest being at Barnstaple, Saunton Sands and Westward Ho!.
The gardens too at the property are worthy of note, extending to around an acre, south-facing and designed to include several outdoor eating and relaxation areas, including a pretty gazebo and a charming African-style breeze house, where up to eight people can eat undercover outdoors. The alfresco theme continues in the magnificent 35 x 16ft orangery. This is built in a traditional Regency style yet has up-to-the-minute technology allowing the roof to retract on sunny days. "It's a lot of fun," says Susie. Other hi-tech innovations include low-voltage and concealed lighting throughout. There is also a central vacuum system and a Bang & Olufsen Link system wiring to link most rooms to a central sound system.
All in all, there is certainly something for everyone at Scotts Moor. There can be no doubt that the new owners will have many happy times here.
Scotts Moor, Bradiford, Barnstaple
Property: A top-spec modern home with every possible comfort, designed with entertaining in mind
Location: Near Barnstaple and the North Devon coast.
Accommodation: Six bedrooms, huge entertaining space including family kitchen with Aga, library, snooker room and magnificent reception rooms.
Outside: 4.7 acres including an acre of gardens and a pretty meadow. Swimming pool,
all-weather tennis court and
hot tub, triple garage and two private drives with electric gates.
Price: £1.25 million
Agents: Stags, Barnstaple, 01271 322833, www.stags.co.uk