An exceptional country house set in beautiful gardens with outbuildings and land in the New Forest National Park. Separate lodge cottage and land available by negotiation.
Venards House is an extremely handsome Grade II* listed country house, understood to date from the late 17th Century with 18th and 19th Century additions. It has characteristics of the William & Mary period and is built of mellow brick with a slightly projected central bay with a stone pediment over the original front door. The house was once part of the nearby Somerley Estate, until it was sold in about 1901. In its more recent history it was the home of the novelist Leslie Thomas before he moved to the Cathedral Close in Salisbury. Venards House has Commoners' rights allowing the owner to graze livestock on the open forest.
Under its current ownership, Venards has been beautifully renovated and maintained. It retains the sash windows, exposed beams, working fireplaces and some moulded ceilings one expects in a house of this era. The owners have also overseen the construction of a magnificent new kitchen with an orangery.
The ground floor accommodation provides the ideal balance of entertaining and family living space. The front door opens into a welcoming reception hall which, in turn, leads through into an inner staircase hall. There is an adjacent sitting room with an open fireplace and a door opening out onto the stone terrace to the front of the house. The drawing room and dining room are reached via the inner hall and are both extremely elegant rooms. The drawing room is double aspect, and has working shutters, a period fireplace with a log burning stove and a French doors to a south facing terrace. The dining room was added in the 19th Century and is a beautifully proportioned room with superb ceiling height. There is a study, with a working fireplace and a door out to the rear terrace, and an adjacent cloakroom.
The kitchen/breakfast room is a superb space with beautiful handmade cabinetry, a central island and a 4-oven oil fired Aga. The orangery provides informal dining and doors out to the surrounding terrace and garden. There is an adjoining boot room and a utility/laundry room beyond.
There are five bedrooms on the first floor, including a wonderful principal bedroom, which sits within the 19th Century wing and has an exceptional vaulted ceiling. It has built-in wardrobes and a large en suite bathroom. There are four further well-proportioned bedrooms, 2 with en suite bath/shower rooms and a family bathroom. On the second floor is a large bedroom/games room with an en suite shower room.
Venards House sits in delightful, partly walled gardens and grounds which provide an incredible setting with numerous areas of interest. The house is approached via a gravel driveway with double gates opening into a pretty courtyard to the north of the house. There are ample parking and turning areas with lawns enclosed by traditional estate fencing. A spur drive continues to the stable yard and there is potential to create an in-and-out drive with another gateway adjacent to Venards Lodge.
The gardens were originally laid out about 100 years ago and include specimen trees dating from this time together with a magnificent Yew walk with double herbaceous borders which provides a very special centrepiece to the gardens. There are sandstone terraces surrounding the house, providing numerous outside seating areas with a Rose parterre within the south terrace. To the front, Venards House is enclosed in a walled garden with a variety of specimen trees and wide lawns. A magnificent Wisteria clads the front façade. To the north of the Yew Walk is the partly walled kitchen garden with a wide lawn, deep borders, raised beds and a Griffin greenhouse.
The swimming pool is found to the south of the Yew Walk and has been refurbished by the current owners with the addition of a retractable cover, a pool house with a kitchen and changing room and an outdoor shower.
To the south of the house and gardens, a small stream known as Huckles Brook flows through the grounds and there are areas of wild flower planted on its banks. To the south of the stream is an area of paddock and a beautiful block of woodland.
There are extensive outbuildings at Venards, with a principal courtyard of traditional buildings found to the north of the house and an adjacent stableyard. To the far side of the courtyard is a workshop, studio and a range of stores which have the potential for a variety of different uses. The courtyard is completed by the traditional brick hay barn and the adjoining stables, which face out towards the stableyard. Overall the stableyard has 8 loose boxes, a tack room and feed store along with and storage within the traditional hay barn. There is a further modern hay barn and a covered Claydon horse walker, along with a 30x50m sand and rubber manège, which is a rarity in the New Forest.
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Venards House is an extremely rare style of country house for the New Forest, enchanting, and standing in exquisite gardens and grounds. The property has a wonderful balance of house, gardens, a secondary house and excellent domestic equestrian facilities.James McKillop