Approaching Castle Farm through the handful of cottages that make up the hamlet of Bridge, you drive up the old fashioned grass drive towards a charming thatched period stone house. The elevations blend limestone rubble with rendered and brick extensions, and the front façade has mullion windows topped by an unusually steep thatched roof.
Castle Farmhouse was built in about 1700 from the recycled stone and oak beams of the Old Manor House, now a romantic ruin in the adjacent meadow. The property is listed Grade II*.
The farmhouse has undergone an extensive programme of refurbishment in recent months with new plumbing, heating and electrical works, and a newly thatched roof. The interior and exterior have been redecorated, and limestone floors and carpets fitted throughout adding a contemporary feel to this stunning home. The interior has been freshly painted white, and simply presented so that the new owners can add their own style and feel to this wonderful home. Castle Farm benefits from Sky TV, fibre broadband, mains gas and private drainage.
The Kitchen/Breakfast Room and Utility Rooms are fitted with new stainless steel SMEG appliances, and limestone flooring. The bathrooms are fitted in a traditional English cottage style, with high quality fittings, whilst the stunning vaulted Attic room blends old oak beams with contemporary balustrades.
Outside there are a range of outbuildings, including a recently built large, two room barn with mezzanines and underfloor heating with permission for light industrial use, an old brick built dairy suitable for conversion, a stable, four berth car port and two further barns.
Recent discussions with Historic England and North Dorset planning indicate that applications for changes to these outbuildings would be considered. Plans for these preliminary ideas are also available as part of the sale.
Castle Farm is surrounded by 10 acres of its own land, and is a haven of peace and tranquillity. Deer, badgers, owls, buzzards, swallows and butterflies are all regular visitors to the valley. The stone waterfall and adjacent pool was originally built to provide fish for the table, while the orchard provides an abundance of apples for cooking and cider making today.
Half way down the valley, there is a fresh water spring feeding into the shallow river which flows northward through the land to join the River Stour. The land has been utilised variously over the years, with cattle, sheep, horses and forestry. At the southern tip of the valley there is a broadleaf wood through which the river continues. Predominantly witch elm, hazel and field maple, this is host to many ancient indigenous flowering plants and English bluebells, and offers an endless supply of firewood for the house. For the last 5 years the grassland has been successfully managed by modern machinery alone, and extensive clearing and new planting has been carried out with the guidance of the Forestry Commission and Dorset Wildlife Trust. On the south western boundary, a private gate leads directly to a network of local footpaths and bridleways, although there are no footpaths or public rights of way crossing the property.
Within the ten acres of land is an Iron Age settlement and Hill Fort known as Newton Castle, which forms an important part of Dorset history. This ancient monument is sited on a prominent limestone ridge, which overlooks the old mill and medieval bridge of Sturminster Newton. King John was believed to have resided there whilst hunting in the surrounding forests. In the 10th century a manor house was built on top of the hill fort, by Glastonbury Abbey. This was later included as a Royal residence in the wedding dowry given by Henry VIII to his last wife, Catherine Parr. The renowned Dorset playwright, Thomas Hardy and his Players performed in the Castle grounds as a setting for his plays almost 100 years ago.
English Heritage states in their 'Scheduled Monuments, A Guide for Owners and Occupiers'; (EH) does not impose any legal obligation to undertake any additional management of the monument'.