HorsePlay

Le Sommelier saddles up and canters off in search of the best equestrian establishments and country seats with stately stables.
2015-06-02
Property

Alderton

For those who would test-drive the Jilly Cooper lifestyle, an immaculate Cotswold farmhouse with stables and outbuildings is available to rent on the Duke of Beaufort’s Badminton Estate in Wiltshire. Situated on the edge of the estate village of Alderton, nine miles from Chippenham (London Paddington 75 minutes) seven miles from Beaufort Polo Club and in the heart of Beaufort Hunt country, Hughes Farmhouse costs £4,500 pcm through Knight Frank (01454 218203) which manages the estate. Previously let for several years to London weekenders with young children, this detached Grade II-listed five-bedroom house is accessed by its own drive and enjoys views over the garden and open fields beyond. To the rear of the property is a Cotswold stone stable yard with nine boxes, a barn and further outbuildings. Tenants, who have the option to rent up to 35 acres of adjoining paddocks for a further £500 pcm, to Badminton Horse Trials.

Newmarket

“Racing-related property is no different from residential. It’s all about location,” says Jane Mynot of Bidwells whose Newmarket instructions include Lester Piggott’s £1.2 million yard with 95 boxes, an indoor arena and direct access to the Racecourse Side gallops. For investors with “a racing interest”, £850,000 will secure a 50-box yard that is let until 2019 at £62,000 per annum to the Dubai Racing Club. Alternatively, Sackville House Stables, which dates from 1760 and is Grade II listed, incorporates 29 boxes whose recent occupants included sprinter Brunelleschi; situated at the foot of Warren Hill Training Grounds, it weighs in at £515,000 through Bidwells (01223 559352) and Jackson-Stops & Staff (01638 662231) who is sponsoring the relocation of the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket.

Overton-On-Dee

Former international event rider Claire Phillips, whose four-star horses Capaccin and Ginger Charlie took her to Badminton, Burghley and Kentucky, is selling her home at Overton-on-Dee. Affording views across Shropshire, Cheshire and the Welsh borders, the 4,252sq ft five-bedroom house was built in 1990 to a Georgian design and is flanked by an 18th-century timber-framed barn with 2,681sq ft of annex accommodation. Within the former event yard and stud are 10 loose boxes, a feed room, tack and rug rooms; two barns provides foaling boxes and young stock housing, and there is a horse-walker and all-weather arena. The 71 acres of rolling farmland are ideal for year-round grazing, while the local area is noted for its superb riding opportunities. Strutt & Parker’s Shrewsbury office (01743 284200), which sponsors the nearby Burwarton Show in August, is seeking £1.6 million.

Surrey Hills

Lucky are the horses who call Woodhatch home. Sporting an Olympic-sized indoor school, 14 loose boxes, a Dutch barn and outdoor sand school, this property lies just south of Godalming in the Surrey Hills. It’s well placed for a choice of equine pursuits, with Cowdray Park, Sandown, Ascot, Goodwood, Epsom Downs and Hickstead all within 16 to 30 miles. Set in over 40 acres of paddocks and fields and surrounded by lovely gardens with a tennis court and indoor pool, there is a three-bedroom cottage in addition to the main seven-bedroom house. The entire property is immaculately presented throughout – down to the boarded corners on the fencing, field shelters and water troughs. Craig Horton, who heads Humberts’ newly formed Equestrian division (020 7594 4746) says, “At the top end, buyers tend to want the finished product rather than having to update equestrian facilities themselves.” On the market for £6.5 million, Woodhatch ticks all the boxes.

Wickhambrook

Six miles from Newmarket at Wickhambrook you will find a seemingly traditional timber-framed Suffolk farmhouse in 44 acres. Closer inspection reveals an exceptional modern six-bedroom house with a two-bedroom lodge, two kennels and a stable block, for which Jackson-Stops & Staff (01638 662231) and Savills (020 7016 3780) are seeking £3,5 million. There are 14 loose boxes, as well as a foaling unit with CCTV, a dedicated veterinary room and a large manège. The land, which includes a large lake and an area of woodland, is predominantly divided into post- and rail- fenced paddocks.

West Sussex

Savills, whose equine sponsorships include Olympic equestrian rider Mary King, amateur ‘gentleman jockey’ Sam Waley-Cohen and the Savills Escalator fence at Badminton, has a team of 16 equestrian experts across the country. Louise Elliott in its London Country Department (020 7016 3780) reports, “Families who are looking for a house with land, close to good schools, often want stables and paddocks so their children can practise after school”. Top of the ‘please can we have a pony’ wishlist is this 21.7-acre estate at Fernhurst, West Sussex, five miles from Haslemere (London 55 minutes). The surrounding countryside offers excellent riding directly from the house, which has five bedrooms as well as an adjoining two-bedroom cottage one-bedroom annex. The new stable block has four loose boxes, tack room and workshops, with further outbuildings, fenced paddocks and an all-weather manege. ‘This ‘slice of the good life’ flutters a guide price of £4.95 million.

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