The Coach House has a rugged attraction while the rooms are finished with a contemporary touch
Sitting in the inevitable A303 traffic jam playing I-Spy is one of life’s major frustrations. So it’s no wonder that locals are excited by the continued push for an A303 traffic solution.
It was back in December 2014 that the Government announced it would invest in a tunnel to replace the A303 and there are more public consultations this month to discuss plans for a 1.9-mile tunnel passing Stonehenge, a free-flowing dual carriageway and a bypass around Winterbourne Stoke.
The tunnel is a slightly longer version of an earlier plan that Unesco said could damage the World Heritage Site and that archaeologists claimed could wreck still-to-be-discovered ancient monuments.
But the new road would end commuter queuing, making homes in villages around Stonehenge more accessible for those who want to move to the countryside.
“It looks like something is going to happen but it is just a question of how it is going to work,” says Rupert Lawson Johnston, partner at Strutt & Parker’s office in Salisbury.
The Coach House backs on to the Longleat Estate, and you can hear the lions roar in the morning
In the mornings you can hear the lions of Longleat roaring
Even without a new A303, though, interest in the pretty towns and villages around Stonehenge, near the Somerset and Wiltshire border, is high.
New to the market is The Coach House, set in rolling countryside backing on to the Longleat Estate, which has its own unique selling point.
“In the mornings you can hear the lions of Longleat roaring,” says Lawson Johnston.
“It’s pretty cool.”
Equally attractive in this extended old vicarage are beautifully decorated rooms combining old beams and fireplaces with contemporary greys, creams and whites to create what Lawson Johnston describes as being like “a small boutique hotel”.
2 Garden Cottages is a converted greenhouse with a roof that revels in the sunshine
The converted greenhouse is in the walled garden of the Palladian, 18th-century New Wardour Castle
Next door is the old rectory, which “just sold recently for a good lot of money to a Hollywood actor”. Lawson Johnston reveals that the thespian was in Titanic. It’s definitely not Leo DiCaprio, though.
The Coach House is near Frome in Somerset, 23 miles north west of Stonehenge and close to two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Cranborne Chase and Mendip Hills.
Frome is deep in countryside but has a rail service that gets you to Bath in 40 minutes and London Paddington in two hours 20 minutes.
It also has a “destination” market with local food and drink, while the shops are mostly independent.
The Coach House itself is on the edge of woods, with bifold doors from the open-plan kitchen on to a patio and five bedrooms including an ensuite master bedroom with French doors on to a balcony overlooking the large garden.
It’s on the market for £1,150,000 (01722 344010; struttandparker.com) and there are plenty of other period properties not far from Frome, such as Ebble Thatch, once home of Lord Of The Flies novelist Sir William Golding.
This five-bedroom thatched house has an open-plan kitchen-dining room with an Aga range cooker, three reception rooms and a conservatory plus a detached one-bedroom cottage in the garden.
On sale for £745,000 (01722 344011; struttandparker.com) it is near the village of Broad Chalke, Wiltshire, at the heart of Cranborne Chase.
Lawson Johnston confirms “it is beautiful there”, although the house is in need of modernisation.
Also unusual in Cranborne Chase is 2 Garden Cottages. This converted greenhouse in the walled garden of Palladian, 18th-century New Wardour Castle (where designer Jasper Conran has an apartment) is now a light-filled home with open-plan sitting room, kitchen-dining area and two double bedrooms.
It has solid wood floors with underfloor heating, wood-burning stove and stunning skylight roof. It’s on for sale at £420,000 (01722 344011; struttandparker.com).
Archaeologists are still puzzling over the mysteries of Stonehenge but it seems estate agents have got the area all worked out: “There’s a definite tie in, in terms of aspiration,” says Lawson Johnston.
“People just want to be in these country locations.”
If you’re popping down to have a look, make sure you visit Stonehenge as it’s a century since landowners Cecil and Mary Chubb donated it to the nation and English Heritage is planning a string of events.
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