Shilstone, near the village of Chagford in Devon, is a truly magical small estate surrounded by beautiful pasture and woodlands. Penny Churchill takes a look.
More than 1,000 years of Dartmoor history are woven into the fabric of Grade II-listed Shilstone, three miles from Chagford in the Dartmoor National Park. The beautifully restored, thatched complex of buildings, comprising a Grade II-listed Devon longhouse, two cottages and a traditional farmstead set in 30 acres of pasture, paddocks and woodland, is currently for sale through Jackson-Stops and Knight Frank at a guide price of ‘offers over £3.5m’.
Its 1952 listing describes Shilstone as ‘an outstanding Dartmoor longhouse… attractively sited and, like many of the older moorland houses, tucked tightly into the hill-slopes. It forms a group with its associated 17th century farm buildings… It is remarkable that such a modestly-sized farmhouse should consistently be built to such a high standard, from its medieval roof to the 1656 front doorway. As early as 1935, the historian R. H. Worth recognized the house as one of the finest surviving examples of the Dartmoor longhouse type, and [a building] of national importance, in his book The Dartmoor House’.
Set at the end of its own private drive and surrounded by delightful gardens, picture-perfect Shilstone, which reputedly dates from Saxon times, has been much improved by successive owners since it was last used as a farmhouse, although its spectacular views towards Castle Drogo and Chagford remain the same.
The house lies centrally within its land, sheltered by the rising ground to the south west but high enough to capture long views to the moor. It offers more than 6,100sq ft of living space in the main building, including three reception rooms, a garden room, kitchen/breakfast room, three bedrooms with bathrooms, and a recently added master suite with a dramatic vaulted ceiling.
Another addition of note is the converted party barn with its 34ft dining hall, as is the equestrian yard comprising four loose boxes with Victorian-style fittings, and an adjoining thatched barn with two further loose boxes leading to a full-size sand arena and a range of gently sloping post-and-railed paddocks.
Two two/three-bedroom cottages, located beside the entrance drive, have also been recently renovated and are used partly as guest cottages or for occasional holiday lets.
Chagford: What you need to know
Location: On the north-east edge of Dartmoor, four miles from Moretonhampstead and roughly 20 miles west of Exeter.
Atmosphere: The market town is hailed a ‘hidden gem’ within the Dartmoor National Park, with picturesque stone cottages, a 15th century church and a number of good pubs.
Things to do: Explore the national park via the many walking, cycling and bridle tracks. Exeter is a short drive away for a cultural or shopping excursion, and is home to both high street and independent shops and restaurants.
Schools: Chagford Church of England Primary School, South Tawton Primary School and Running Deer School are all local to the area; with Kelly College and schools in Exeter slightly further afield.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.