Penny Churchill takes a look at Hayne Old Manor, an elegant estate surrounded by truly picturesque gardens and grounds.
Lindsay Cuthill of Savills quotes a guide price of ‘excess £6 million’ for secluded, Grade II-listed Hayne Old Manor, which stands in 70 acres of gardens, grounds and parkland in a magical hidden valley on the edge of Dartmoor, less than a mile from the pretty village of Moretonhampstead and 13 miles from Exeter.
According to local records, the ‘very ancient large Estate and House’ of Hayne was owned for centuries by the Nosworthy family of Sloncombe until, in 1730, the last Nosworthy heiress, Judith, married a Southmead of nearby Wray Barton, after which the estates descended together until, in 1833, that branch of the Southmeads died out and Hayne Manor passed to John Courtier, a distant relative.
By then, the old manor house on the estate had fallen into disrepair and was demolished the following year when Courtier built himself a new house on the site.
He then sold Hayne to John Newcombe Stevenson and went to live at Wray Barton. Hayne Manor was owned by the Stevensons until 1890, when Col Stevenson sold it to W. H. Smith, later Lord Hambleden, who bought the Manor of Moretonhampstead and North Bovey at the same time. Smith later sold Hayne Manor to his sister, Mrs Seymour, who lived there until the 1930s.
The handsome stucco façade of Hayne Old Manor comes into view at the end of a long winding drive that leads through the park and up to the front of the house, with a back drive providing access to the cottages and stable courtyard.
On the west side of the house, beautifully maintained gardens cascade down a sloping grass bank in a series of terraced lawns, herbaceous borders and mature trees to an enchanting ornamental lake—a haven for wildfowl, including resident swans.
The current owners, who acquired the property in 2008, have lavished evident care and attention on the house and grounds, buying in additional land and improving the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms.
The interior, lit by a domed skylight in the hallway, is light and bright and provides 7,857sq ft of accommodation, including three main reception rooms, a study, sitting room, conservatory, large principal bedroom suite, six further bedrooms, three bathrooms and extensive cellars. Additional accommodation is available in two estate cottages.
The paved stable courtyard includes a coach house with four traditional loose boxes and a groom’s flat above; now in need of modernisation, this area could be converted to further accommodation or a home office, subject to planning.
Moretonhampstead: What you need to know
Location: Situated on the north-eastern corner of the Dartmoor National Park and approximately 13 miles from Exeter, Moretonhampstead is a secluded idyll with excellent accessibility links. Trains run from Exeter St David’s station to London Paddington and Exeter Airport provides links to Europe.
Atmosphere: Although the charming market town is small, it provides wonderful facilities with a butchers/delicatessen, a general store, chemist, bakery; cottage hospital, primary school, several pubs, a library, post office and hotel — quite the lineup!
Things to do: Once you’ve explored all 70 acres of your own estate, head further into the Dartmoor National Park to enjoy the abundance of wildlife, rugged moorland and excellent walking trails. The nearby Cathedral city of Exeter offers excellent restaurants, leisure and shopping facilities, whilst the River Exe and River Teign are a haven for sailors and water-enthusiasts.
Schools: Moretonhampstead Primary School, Running Deer School and Dunsford Community Academy are all within the local area and further options can be found in Exeter.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.