Through the keyhole of a magnificent Somerset farmhouse with acres of land and ringside views of a wildlife phenomenon
Fancy a snoop around someone else’s gaff? Thought so. Then let’s play Property Flirt, where we both have a nose around a fab house and you guess the price. Get it right and you’ll be presenting the next series of Escape to the Country. Right then, so it’s eyes down and look inside… Kent Farmhouse in Shapwick, on the edge of the famous Somerset Levels.
So this is what they mean by a sweeping drive.
The magnificent Grade II listed Somerset farmhouse looks nicely trad from the front but it’s been recently renovated – and wait until you see what’s round the back…
The two-storey oak and glass atrium floods the house with light – and the views are spectacular.
Shall we go inside?
Turn left or right into two of the four (yes, four) reception rooms, one of which is this elegant drawing room with stone fireplace and floor-to-ceiling sash windows overlooking the gardens. Sherry before dinner dahling?
Across the hall, the family room’s got an inglenook fireplace, large enough to store a week’s worth of wood for the wood-burner and an ancient stone shelf for your knicknacks. Loving the original wooden lintel across the top. That’s a whole tree you’re looking at.
The huge farmhouse kitchen has all the proper country house prerequisites: Aga (with Aga Companion and gas hob), butler sink (you do have to provide your own butler), granite worktops, gnarled old exposed beams and polished oak floor. Look at the window and see how thick the walls are (keeping the place warm in winter, cool in summer).
Flagstone envy in the dining room. Open fire, natch. And not one but two sets of French windows out onto the terrace.
You’re probably wondering, where the well is? Here it is – in the atrium reception hall, right in the heart of the house, of course. During the winter months, this area’s one of the few places in the UK where you’ll see the phenomenon of the starling murmurations – hundreds and thousands of birds forming amazing shapes in the sky as they come to roost on reeds in nearby nature reserves. Truly a wonder of the natural world – and here you’ve got the best seats in the house.
Or would you prefer the view from upstairs? No probs, the atrium and the views continue up onto the first floor.
There are four double bedrooms, two with en suites and there’s a family bathroom too. This bedroom will do me nicely, thank you.
Get the bubbles ready for a dip in that cast iron claw foot bath.
Space for holiday guests, granny or older kids home from university in the self-contained one-bed annex but if you wanted to make it a little bigger, planning and pipe work’s already in place to turn a couple of store rooms into another reception downstairs and a bed and bath upstairs. Nice.
Even the annex is packed with character – I wonder if you can cook on this old stove?!
The house is sitting pretty in 7.5 gorgeous acres. The front garden’s magical…
..so much so that we’ll soar up for the bird’s eye view over the house and peaceful countryside beyond. Secluded but not isolated, there are two other houses not far away. Got an ‘oss? There’s stabling and plenty of space for equestrian pursuits.
Location? Shapwick’s a small village close to the Polden Hills and on the edge of the Somerset Levels – think big skies, narrow waterways, nesting swans and nature reserves. Post office and shop in nearby Ashcott and Edington. Closest towns are Street (Clarks Village shopping outlet, Art Deco open air pool, Strode Theatre) and Glastonbury (all the mysticism and crystals you can handle). Excellent schools within a short drive: the independent Millfield Senior and Prep, Wells Cathedral School, Taunton schools and the outstanding state Strode College. Specialist dyslexic Shapwick School is in the village. Drive to the M5 in about 15 mins and to Taunton and Castle Cary for trains up to Paddington in about 30.
So, fellow nosey parkers – how much do you think it’s on for ? Answers below … and then check if you’re right.