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Unprententious mansion a showcase for local stone; LEDBURY - PS5,700,000 A quarry on the doorstep proved invaulable when the heart of The Haffield Estate was built, says Alison Jones.

The builders did not have to travel far to source the raw material to build the mansion house on The Haffield Estate in Ledbury on the Herefordshire/Gloucestershire borders.

Its entrance faced a quarry where the chocolate-coloured Haffield breccia, an unusual stone which appears at the southern tip of the Malvern Hills, could be found.

The Haffield Estate had been created in 1813. The wooded, south westerly facing slopes of Haffield Bank provided an ideal site for a small mansion house.

In 1817, the well-known architect Sir Robert Smirke designed it for William Gordon. Sir Robert's architectural CV included the British Museum, The Inner Temple, The Oxford and Cambridge Club, Luton Hoo, and nearby Eastnor Castle.

Though described as an "unpretentious Greek revival house", Haffield certainly stands out against its beautiful green backdrop.

It has a chunky Doric porch and a six columned portico on the garden front, much of which is reflected Smirke's earlier works.

From the lawns to the south of the house, there are fine views towards May Hill and the Forest of Dean.

Specimen trees in the mansion's park and arboretum are planted informally in the gardenesque manner recommended by J C Loudon, the Scottish botanist and garden designer.

In 1868 an avenue of Wellingtonias was planted along the south drive to the house. There has been extensive further planting over the last 15 years.

The Regency double walled garden is approached from beneath a green lane by a tunnel built of Haffield breccia stone.

The central orchard has productive fruit trees while half of the kitchen garden is still maintained as a vegetable garden with many of the original buildings,lean-to greenhouses and forcing pits.

There is an Iron Age hill fort within the wooded grounds.

The estate covers some 206.68 acres and is being sold off as a whole or in seven lots which comprise both buildings and land.

Lot one is the largest and includes Haf-field House itself and 181.51 acres.

Now Grade II listed, the mansion sits at the end of two long drives which sweep through rolling parkland. There is a gravelled parking area opposite the classical east facade. However, it is the south front which is arguably most impressive thanks to its projecting portico with its Doric columns.

The interior boasts a series of excellent reception rooms running off the spacious staircase hall.

An interconnecting drawing room and library have far reaching southerly views. The latter with a beautifully detailed Robert Adam fireplace. A high ceilinged dining room leads to the kitchen/reakfast room and larders.

In addition there are several further sitting rooms and family rooms as well as a second kitchen.

Up the cantilever staircase is the spacious first floor landing that gives access to a master suite with dressing room and bathroom.

There are nine further bedrooms with seven bathrooms in the main part of the house. A guest wing has four more bedrooms and two bathrooms.

At the back of the property are the stables with traditional loose boxes, tack room and storage above. Adjacent is the coach house with garaging and more storage.

The house sits in a commanding elevated position. To the east is a quarry waterfall and cliff garden while to the south lawns and a ha-ha lead down to the park. There is an outdoor swimming pool with pool house enveloped in wisteria.

All the farmland on the estate is down to permanent pasture and let on an annual Farm Business Tenancy. In addition there is some managed mixed woodland extending to approximately 62 acres which is the backbone of the family shoot. This currently provides six days shooting a season with an average bag of 75 birds with a part-time keeper. There is huge scope to improve this.

The estate also offers riding and walking over the land and through the woods.

Lot two includes Garden Cottage, Laundry Cottage and the walled garden in a plot of 4.2 acres. It is reached down its own long drive. The double walled garden has glass houses, productive vegetable garden and orchard. East of the walled garden is a pair of back to back red brick cottages which have three and two bedrooms respectively. Garden Cottage has a service occupancy while Laundry Cottage is let on an assured short hold tenancy at PS575 per month.

The cottages could be combined to create a wonderful farmhouse.

Lot three is Haffield Lodge. Situated at the head of the main drive, the two-bedroom lodge is let on an assured short hold tenancy at PS550 per month.

Lot four is Smallends Farm and 4.59 acres. This includes a range of traditional farm buildings with cattle shed, workshops and four bay machinery shed. At the core of the farm yard is a traditional hop kiln which has significant potential for development (stpp). They are currently let on an annual licence, part to the farm tenant and part workshop space.

Lots five and six are No 1 and No 2 Smallends Cottage. Adjacent to Smallends Farm, this pair of three-bedroom, semidetached red brick cottages have lovely views. Both are let on assured short hold tenancies at PS650 and PS630 per month.

(The total rental income from the five cottages is PS28,860 per annum).

Lot seven is a 15.96 acre block of pasture with ith its own access.

The Haffield Estate is close to the market town of Ledbury which is famous for its medieval town centre. It has an excellent range of local shops and services.

The bigger centres of Malvern, Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester are within driving distance.

There are a range of private and state schools in the area including The Elms and the well-known Malvern and Cheltenham schools.

The M50/M5 are within a few minutes' drive providing fast access north to Birmingham and south to the M4 and Bristol. Recreational amenities in the area include golf courses at Hereford, Malvern, Ross and Dymock and racecourses at Ludlow, Worcester and Cheltenham. There is trout and salmon fishing on the River Wye and its tributaries. Malvern has an abbey and theatres.

There are also walks and rides through the surrounding countryside and over the Malvern Hills.

VIEWING INFORMATION AGENT: Knight Frank TEL: 01432 273 087/ WEB: GUIDE PRICE: PS5,700,000/ LOT ONE: PS3,850,000
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 1, 2014
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