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Find out from the current owners of this large Victorian property in Somerset why it's such a special family home
Do you remember the first time you saw Fairview?
Yes! We fell in love with the place in 1997 and moved in August 1998. We had finally found our dream home to bring up our young family.
What was it that drew you to the house?
We loved the flagstone and original wooden floors in the front of the house and the light that floods in, being south facing. The property was built in 1888 and had been partially renovated by the previous owners but there was still scope to renovate and extend, which we have done over the last 20 years. We actually lived in the barn when we were doing all the building work and now my son lives in there. There is a fully fitted kitchen with appliances and shower room and would be ideal to rent out as a holiday let, or for a relative to be close to hand.
There's such a feeling of being connected to the great outdoors here....
Agreed. The orchard has provided a great space for the boys to play games, make dens as well as many family parties. We have also planted about 30 new fruit trees which have helped boost varieties for our cider making. We’ve had many memorable weekends in the autumn when we’ve had cider making parties! The new spaces that we have created have provided a fantastic light, airy, homely feeling as well as making a contrast between the old and new parts of the house. The new kitchen living space opens out onto the west facing patio which enjoys sunshine all day during the summer, an ideal space for BBQs and eating outside. We have created flower and vegetable beds close to the house and mow an area of orchard as lawn. We’ve purposely not put a permanent fence around the mown area as this would spoil the open aspect of the space.
Tell us about the community
We’ve lived near Wedmore for many many years and love the community spirit. There really is something for everyone, young or old! Both of our boys have been to the excellent local schools but it’s also perfectly placed for Sidcot, Millfield or Wells Cathedral school! There are 5 pubs close by all with their own unique characteristics. The new sports pavilion has opened in the last few weeks and this is going to grow and again there will be something for everyone to get involved in.
What will you miss about living here?
So much! We will miss Fairview very much. It has become our forever home and we have had the time to make it adapt to our lifestyle. But now the boys have their own homes it’s time to downsize. It really will make a fantastic family home as it has for us.
For more information please ring our Wells estate agent office on 01749 605088 or click here for more info for this and other houses for sale in Somerset.
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Kent Farmhouse, Shapwick
This large family home in Shapwick, Somerset, has plenty of equestrian facilities and is close to Millfield School. Find out what the current owners appreciate most about living there.
Kent Farmhouse has an impressive atrium which lets light flood the house
How long have you lived here?
We moved here 11 years ago with our 12, 11, and 6 year-old children. Our eldest was a keen horse rider, so the fact that the paddocks and property back onto miles and miles of bridleways, without the need to go near a main road, was perfect -and encouraged me to pick up the reins again too! We knew that moving here, with all the space and possibilities it presented as a perfect family home, was both exciting and comforting. During our time here we have taken the house, land and garden from being a very run-down, ex-tenant farmhouse to the wonderful family home it is today.
Kent Farmhouse, a large family home currently for sale in Shapwick, Somerset
Can you describe how you felt when you moved in?
I remember that day so well. I had been given the keys 24 hours early so I could go in and clean it before our belongs arrived the next day. It was so dirty I ended up working through the night to try to get it clean but as the sun started to rise at 5:30am I became completely captivated by the beautiful view across the land and onwards to the Mendips. The light from the rising sun slowly brought the landscape into focus and the bird song was amazing. I remember feeling an inner calm and thinking how lucky I was to now be living in a house that overlooked such a truly beautiful place. Over the next year we ‘camped’ in the house, getting to know it before determining how we would carefully bring it into the 21stCentury – time that was so useful and led us to designing the beautiful two storey glazed oak atrium at the rear of the house.
Describe your favourite room/rooms and tell us why you love it/them
The gallery room, located on the first floor of the atrium, provides the house with a space that takes full advantage of the fabulous scenery that captivated me on the very first morning, and every morning since. We spend many hours enjoying this space - watching the fabulous starling murmurations, fireworks across the Mendips on bonfire night and New Year’s Eve and enjoying the view and wildlife while working from home or simply chilling out. The house is perfectly proportioned. All the reception rooms and the kitchen lead off the central Atrium and entrance hall, giving the house a feeling of balance, harmony and flow. The Drawing Room is fabulous with its large ham stone fireplace and sash windows that look over the one-acre front garden. This room oozes elegance and calm and really comes into its own at Christmas time when the roaring fire is the backdrop to a large garland and a Christmas tree with gold and cream decorations.
The gallery room at Kent Farmhouse
How easy is it to entertain here?
With plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate everyone, the large kitchen with 2-oven AGA and 2-oven AGA companion and large reception rooms, it is the perfect place for festive family gatherings, when the large dining room comes into its own. We host dinner parties in the lovely dining room for up to 14, hold garden parties and BBQ’s for 100 plus in the front garden.
The dining room
The whole house lends itself to Christmas! We usually have 4 Christmas trees with a large 12-foot tree in the atrium. With the fires lit and the lights twinkling it is the perfect place to host Christmas gatherings and parties and then once done, curl up by the large inglenook fireplace with its log burner in the family room with a mulled wine or Irish coffee in hand. Our American friends came to spend Christmas with us in 2017, and we had the best 2 weeks together – Parties, Christmas lunch served in the beautiful dining room, chill time, walking down to the Nature Reserve each day, attending the midnight mass at Wells cathedral and simply chatting and catching up by the roaring fires, it was perfect! They left with fabulous memories of this beautiful old English house and their first Christmas in the UK
One of the current owner's pictures of Christmas at Kent Farmhouse, Shapwick
Describe any historical or notable facts about the house and garden
It’s not known exactly how old the property is and this fact was considered by the ‘Time Team’ who were visiting and researching Shapwick some years ago, but it is known that the front of the house, which was a typical Somerset long house, burnt down a couple of hundred years ago and when re-built was replaced by the Georgian style it now boasts. Because of this, the front of the house benefits from having the large sash windows and high ceilings associated with the Georgian period with the beautifully traditional beamed rooms at the back of the house. Couple this with the creative introduction of the oak and glass atrium, the house is complete and cleverly suites every taste. While building the atrium the original old well was uncovered – It had been hidden under a large flagstone below a Victorian staircase and now, covered with strengthened glass and illuminated, it forms a fabulous feature in the atrium entrance hall. The house has the benefit of a large annexe which has been fully renovated and now, due to its popularity, particularly with the bird watching community, provides income as a holiday let (full planning permission is also in place). It is possibly the oldest part of the house and has many gorgeous and quirky features; the elm staircase, old range fire and original flagstone floor to name a few. There was even a doorway found above the ceiling in the hallway leading to who knew where back in its day!! The renovation, being done sensitively, ensured the original elm and oak doors were repaired and retained and really add to the character and history of this house.
Tell us about any other significant features of the house and garden.
Kent Farmhouse is a handsome well-proportioned house with the back of the house being as attractive as the front with the addition of the two-storey oak and glass atrium between two original gables – It’s a stunning addition! The house is surrounded by garden totalling approx. one and half acres and is laid mainly to lawn and has beautiful mature trees which punctuate the scene across the garden. The long driveway runs alongside the garden and is edged on one side by a small stream and more mature trees. Over our time here we have developed the garden, introducing manageable flower beds, planting trees, hydrangea, lavender, shrubs and perennials as well as laying footpaths and terraces to ensure there’s always a picturesque spot to sit and take in the unhindered views.
What do you love about the garden and why?
Firstly, the peace and quiet – all you can hear is the birds. The garden is full of birds (including 3 woodpeckers) due to the house abutting the Shapwick Heath Nature Reserve and the Hawk and Owl Trust lands. We spend many an hour watching the hawks and owls as they hunt in our fields. The house is surrounded by wildlife – a family of deer often pass through on their way to the woods that belong to Shapwick House. Beyond the garden to the North and East of the property are 3 level paddocks totalling approx. 6 acres. The stable block and yard provide two 12’ x 12’ stables and a tack room. The stables are built on a large concrete base which is fenced and extends in front of the stables to form a perfect equestrian yard. An edged gravel driveway and hard standing leads to the stables ensuring horse boxes and trailers have direct access to the stables.
The stable block at Kent Farmhouse makes this ideal for equestrians
Can you tell us about transport links?
We moved to Shapwick to be close to Millfield but also due to its fabulous access links to the where we as a family needed to be. One of us worked in Bristol the other in Taunton and more latterly Yeovil, but the biggest attraction was the close proximity to the children’s school in Street. The location has really worked well for us, being only 20 minutes (7 Miles) from the school and 12 miles from the M5 it is so easy to go north to Bristol, the M4 and beyond or south to Taunton, Devon and Cornwall but equally easy to get to the A303 to head east.
What do you love about the location/village/street and why?
Shapwick is a small village which has a church and thriving community. The cricket pavilion, which was re-built a couple of years ago forms the heart of the village and hosts many events including live band events in addition to providing a fabulous locally supported cricket field that is well used during the summer months. The house is off the beaten track, half a mile out of the village down a ‘no through road’ which is highway-maintained. It is consequently quiet, secluded and private despite being part of a cluster of 3 properties. The lane eventually becomes a drove that leads onto the Hawk and Owl Reserve and beyond to Shapwick Heath. From the end of the lane we follow a footpath for a mile to the local pubs (The Crowne Inn or King William at Catcott).
Where do you recommend for food?
Despite being in the countryside, Kent Farmhouse is surrounded by some cracking places to eat – the Duck at Burtle, the Swan or George at Wedmore, The King William Inne at Catcott to name a few. Shapwick is only 6 miles from Street where there is the usual range of supermarkets and range of shops for everyday needs but there is also a local small supermarket in Edington, 1 ½ miles away – perfect for last minute shopping and the paper.
For more information about this and other houses for sale in Somerset, please look at our listings. To book a viewing for Kent Farmhouse, please click here and/or ring our Wells office on 01749 605099.
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3, High Street
Packed full of historical features, the current owners of this 7-bed property explain how it gives you the option to work from home, raise a family
and enjoy a garden sanctuary in the middle of a vibrant, fashionable Somerset town
The garden at 3 High Street, Bruton, a large family home with plenty of business potential too
Can you describe how you felt when you first viewed this house?
Absolutely! It was a bright and very cold day in January 1999. We were looking to buy the pharmacy business that was run here up to recently, but we also wanted a home for us and our two teenage sons. What we found was quite amazing! We came in through the hall and remember being excited by all the different features of the house as we were shown round, for example, the courtyard and its Tudor building which were totally unexpected. When we discovered the walled garden and the large building at the bottom of the garden (described as garaging for two cars) we wondered who they belonged to and couldn't believe it when we were told it was all included! It was an exciting venture for us, buying and taking over an existing business, moving to Bruton with two boys 14 and 16 and it didn't disappoint. Living here has provided us with a livelihood and a fantastic family home in a vibrant community.
Which are your favourite rooms?
Andy’s study is light, warm and sunny and overlooks the garden - it's a quiet retreat from the rest of the house. We also like the first floor, open-plan area in the coach house which has a very interesting design, with a feature window overlooking the garden. There is lovely lighting in there, especially in the evening.
The Coach House is light and airy and overlooks the garden
The outside space is one of the hidden gems about this property - being able to find peace and calm right on the high street..
That's right. We actually built the summerhouse about four years ago and it's become a real escape. We also redesigned the courtyard to include the fish pond and create a really private open air socialising area that's beautifully cool on very hot summer evenings. The garden is a private sheltered area, good for children to run around in and is well planted and managed to provide year-round colour. It's truly an oasis of calm, especially appreciated in the middle of a town.
The courtyard at 3, High Street, Bruton makes for a great entertaining space
You mentioned that the house has an amazing historical background - can you explain more?
Yes and we've found mentions of the house's archaeological details in books like “Traditional Houses of Somerset” by Jane Penoyre, and “Bruton, an intimate urban ideal – a survey past and present.”
Here are just a few of them...
- As far as we can tell, the earliest archaeological features date the building to the mid 15thcentury and we have copies of ownership records dated from the mid 17thcentury which are almost complete to date.
- There is a 11/12thcentury archway into the garden which likely came from Bruton Abbey.
- Two of the great families of Bruton ( Dampiers and Ludwells) have lived here – if you find Dampiers treasure you can keep it and in fact you can still see Henry Dampier's centuries-old 'graffiti' - his name - written on a piece of glass.
- The property was known as “formerly Roper’s tenement” in the 17thcentury, and since then there have been silk workers, apothecaries, tea merchants, a Dentist, and the premises were registered as a Pharmacy in 1820.
- The small shed in the garden was used as a pigsty in the war, and Army Engineers used the Coach House.
- There is also an old Victorian range hidden behind a wall in the dining room and an old bread oven in the kitchen.
- 200 years ago it was a Gentleman’s residence, but since 1799 it has also been a business location.
- You can still see carpenters' marks on the Tudor building.
The house dates back centuries
So interesting! Of course living here isn't just about looking after a museum piece though, what does 21st Century Bruton have to offer?
Such a lot. For a start, the central location of the property on the High Street is very convenient. It's possible to walk to most social events in Bruton, and there are currently five restaurants, three takeaways and two pubs serving food. The town has excellent services, including a doctor's surgery, an excellent pharmacy (relocated down the high street) a dental practice and a physiotherapist, a Post Office (with banking facilities) a community-run library, four convenience food stores, and a host of other various shops. Bruton has some of the best schools in the county including Kings Bruton and All Hallows both of our boys did well at Sexey’s school, which is state-run. The town is a mixture of people from different backgrounds - there are longstanding local families and people who have moved to Bruton bringing a wealth of experience and different skills. It is an outstanding vibrant local community, which holds pride in the town. I love when you walk down the High Street someone will always hello or good morning! And when you want some country life, there are lots of walks that head out from Bruton and a series of 20 local walks have been published. Stourhead, a leading National Trust House and Garden is also a go to favourite place.
The front of 3, High Street Bruton which has two front rooms that can be used as a business if required - it used to be a pharmacy
Somerset is renowned for delicious local produce - is Bruton for foodie-lovers too?
Yes - there are plenty of great places to eat and drink like At The Chapel and the newly-opened Bruton Table and we would recommend all of them, including the Shepton Montague Inn, and The Bull, Hardway. There is a wealth of good local produce available in the local shops and a number of internationally acclaimed cheesemakers in and around Bruton like Godminster Cheese. There is a fish seller on Fridays and farm shops nearby.
How easy is it to get to London, Bath or Frome from here?
No trouble at all, Bruton has easy access to Bath and Bristol, Wells, and two coasts (West or South). The railway station has trains to Bristol, Bath, Weymouth and London, and the Berry’s bus goes to London from Wincanton.
Back to the house...what's your favourite memory of living here?
We've loved hosting significant family events and some memorable parties here too. There are locally organized 'Safari' suppers and we have anjoyed entertaining at dinner parties, and staff Christmas parties. We have just generally enjoyed living in this place, enjoying family times in the house and coach house. It is lovely sometimes when we are sitting in the summerhouse in the evening to watch the swallows and bats in the garden.
The summerhouse is the perfect place to spend Summer evenings
What do you hope for the next owners of this house?
That they understand the continuity and responsibility of owning a historic building in a historic town, and that they enjoy the rich social and cultural life of Bruton. It is an amazing place to live!
To book a viewing at 3, The High Street, please call our Bruton office on 01749 605099 or click here for more info and other houses for sale in Bruton, Wells and Somerset.
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Made in Somerset!
Fun-runs, bake sales, sponsored ping-pong matches - there are plenty of ways to raise money. But a group of Somerset women have proved that fundraisers don't always have to have a novelty factor, by running a stylish, creative shopping event that showcases local artisans and food producers and supports an educational charity at the same time. Meet Jacquie Lindgren, founder of both the Made in Somerset event and the charity, Etatu.
Jacquie Lindgren helping students in Africa
Hi Jacquie, great to meet you. Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your work?
I'm a teacher. I have taught in many different environments: state schools both here and abroad; private schools both here and abroad; camps for people who are asylum seekers or refugees; prisons. I am now a private tutor of GCSE English, History and Georgraphy and A Level Geography. I hold qualifications in dyslexia and TEFL and in 2012 I set up Etatu, an educational charity that works in Msambweni, Kenya. I spend much of my spare time managing and fundraising for this.
One of the ways you fundraise is through running the shopping event 'Made in Somerset'. Can you describe it and what inspired you to start it?
Made in Somerset is an artisan fair and shopping event. It brings together some of the best designer-makers and artisan-producers from around the county. We've had five so far - our first one was in 2015 - and it came about because a group of three of us wanted to raise money for Etatu and also to help after the dreadful floods on The Levels in 2014. Two of us had experience and expertise in the area of design and craft – so we dreamt up Made in Somerset, a chance to showcase the talent and the generosity of the small-scale businesses of the county.
The current Made in Somerset team - (L-R) Virginia and Frances, the clever pair who dreamed up the event in 2015, Emma, who joined last year to help with social media
and Jacquie, who is the founder of Etatu.
What do you remember about the first one?
We wondered how we had the audacity to think people would come – it was nervy. It still is quite nervy, never knowing how many people will come on the day. We relied on the reputation and style of The White Hart in Somerton, to set the tone, which is where we held our first four. There have been many memorable moments since, like the first people to come through the door; stalls selling out; meeting up with and discovering so many people who know and love Kenya. We raised £1200 the first year, which we shared with The Abingdon Fund which helps farmers facing hardship. This year we hope to raise £3,500.
The next event is Saturday 4th May 2019 in Somerton at Ace Arts Gallery and The Parish Rooms, from 10am to 4pm - what can visitors expect?
They'll be offered the best of contemporary crafts, gifts, food and produce. The range and variety means there is ‘something for everyone’ including face-painting for children. They can have coffee, tea, cake, a simple lunch as well. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and there is the feel good element of everyone being there out of a desire to ‘make a difference.’ There will be 33 stallholders, plus two Etatu stalls and a table displaying wonderful raffle prizes.
Tell us more about Etatu, about you and its work
I set it up and run the charity. I act as main fundraiser and also, in collaboration with the Trustees, decide policy in Kenya and manage the wonderful Kenyan team of part-time staff who implement the various initiatives. Etatu works in Msambweni Kenya, a fishing and farming community in the south of Kenya. It is characterised by things like warmth and hard work, but it is also characterised by poverty. Few people can afford education, which is seen as the key route out of poverty and to improved life chances. Etatu helps families send their children to school, helps them stay there and to achieve. This is important for girls especially, for whom secondary education offers a range of other advantages, for instance delayed marriage and a 70% reduced risk of dying in child-birth. Etatu does a range of education-related things but Made in Somerset specifically raises money for secondary school fees for girls. My involvement is also to work with the fantastic volunteers who work hard for Etatu in the UK. Made in Somerset is now organised by five people but about 15 others are involved in various ways in Made in Somerset on the day.
What does Etatu mean?
‘Etatu’ literally means ‘Three ‘e’s. It is a name chosen by a group of twelve year olds, shouting out ‘Education, Education, Education’. It clearly indicated what children in the village of Mwaembe placed emphasis on. To us at the moment Etatu means ‘Education, Enterprise, Empowerment’. Etatu is pronounced: ee-tar-too
Have you seen the results of your labour in action - seen how the money raised has helped girls’ education in Kenya?
I visit Kenya relatively often, (lucky me) and I witness the results often. In 2018 eleven girls sponsored by Etatu at Kingwede Girls’ School, completed their secondary education. Eight did well enough to progress to college and two of those are going on to Univeristy. This is amazing. Without Etatu’s help, they would not have gone to school at all.
We're proud to support you and the charity. How vital is sponsorship to you?
Lodestone Property is a wonderful supporter of Etatu – its financial help enables us to run the event as we would like to – there are invariably unavoidable costs to running such an event, although we keep them to the absolute minimum. Lodestone means that absolutely all money raised can go towards Etatu’s work. Lodestone’s publicity is also vital as you have a growing presence in the area and are well regarded and well liked. Your support is affirming and signals Made in Somerset as a quality, well-run event. Finally, without publicity there would be no-one coming. All publicity is important and Lodestone’s is very much appreciated. Access to their own, loyal supporters is a great gift from Lodestone.
We wish you every success.
Follow Etatu on Facebook and Instagram: @MiS4Etatu and @EtatuKenya or visit their website https://www.etatu.org.uk.
Visit the 2019 event on Saturday 4th May 2019 in Somerton at Ace Arts Gallery and The Parish Rooms, from 10am to 4pm
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Lower Downside Farm
A large four-bedroom Victorian family home in Somerset, with stunning vistas and light-filled rooms -
it’s easy to see why this "Hidden Gem" is our latest featured house.
So, I’m looking for a home with lots of land – does this fit the bill? Absolutely – Lower Downside Farm near Shepton Mallet in Somerset is set in 6 acres, with bucolic views to boot. Not only can you look across glorious Somerset countryside here, you also benefit from beautiful gardens which have been professionally designed and that are easy to maintain. These include three hundred trees including silver birch, fruit trees and blossoming cherries which enhance the scenery, creating avenues that draw the eye beyond.
There are over 300 hundred trees at Lower Downside Farm, creating avenues for the eye
Fabulous. Any room for our very own Black Beauty? Yes, there’s a paddock and outbuildings.
I can see someone’s going to be rushing home from school every day! Quite. Luckily there are excellent private and state schools nearby, like Millfield, Downside and All Hallows Prep School (all within 20 minutes) and it’s less than 40 minutes to Bath, so it won’t be long until the pony will be fed and watered.
Brilliant. Tell me more about the house itself. It looks like it should be in a Sunday night drama….we agree! It has a lot of history to it as it was once owned by the Duchy of Cornwall - there are pictures of King Edward VII and Prince Charles visiting as part of their duties. It’s Victorian and as you would expect, plenty of period features remain. For instance, the rooms have high ceilings and the sash windows let in ample light. Then there’s a Victorian grate and open fire in the kitchen and a Victorian mantle with log burner in the downstairs study. There is the most beautiful half landing window with amazing far-reaching views, so it takes longer to get upstairs than in most houses!
The kitchen is large, well-fitted and includes an Aga
Hmmm, does this mean we’ll need to swap our 2019 lifestyle for Nineteenth Century? Not at all, as the house has been enhanced by the current owners to blend past and present. For a start, the rooms are generously proportioned. The kitchen is large and exceptionally well-fitted, including a four oven AGA and opens onto a family sitting room. The formal sitting room faces due south over the garden and your own land whilst the dining room has also been opened up into a substantial David Salisbury-built orangery which creates the most fabulous entertaining space with stunning views of the countryside and it captures day-long sunshine.
The dining room has been opened up to include an Orangery designed by David Salisbury
My solicitor’s on stand-by! But what about upstairs? You won’t be disappointed. An elegant, wide staircase leads to a galleried, first-floor landing, which has a glorious picture window off the half-landing. The master bedroom is south-facing, overlooking the garden and paddock, whilst the adjoining, large en-suite has bespoke, fitted cupboards and a huge walk-in shower.
There are three other bedrooms, right? Is there scope to create even more – in case we want to Airbnb for example, or the extended family crashes here at Christmas? Yes, because the current owners actually reduced the number of bedrooms from five to four so they could have bigger rooms, so it would be easy to revert to five again. They have also had some plans drawn up to convert the roof space to an apartment with bedroom, bathroom and sitting room if required.
Lower Downside Farm has four large bedrooms and the master is south-facing and overlooks the garden and paddock
Idyllic! But hang on, given that it sounds so self-sufficient and rural, I’m not going to go days without seeing another human am I? Don’t panic, because while there’s plenty of room to live, work and play in peace here, the market town of Shepton Mallet is just a few minutes away, providing easy access to all the usual amenities, as well as Kilver Court and the renowned Mulberry store, which offers fabulous designer shopping and the necessities like supermarkets are close by too. The ancient Cathedral city of Wells is only five miles away and offers a wider range of shops including a twice-weekly market, plenty of coffee shops and restaurants, local supermarkets include Waitrose, Morrisons and Tesco. Wells has a thriving cultural scene with concerts from the Cathedral School to regular art gallery events and the very well attended Wells Literature Festival and Food Festival. You’re also within easy reach of the very fashionable small town of Bruton which has the very popular restaurant/coffee/bread shop called ‘At the Chapel’ and the world famous Hauser & Wirth Art Gallery. Frome which has numerous markets and is renowned for its independent shops and vibrant creative scene is less than half an hour’s drive away. Its also centrally located for both Bristol and Bath (approx 20 miles) with excellent access to the M4/M5 and mainline stations. Finally there are also trains that run from Castle Cary (approximately 9 miles) to London Paddington taking approximately 90 minutes. Bristol Airport is 20 miles away.
For more info please click the link here or call our Wells office on 01749 605088 to make an appointment to view.
This house is under offer May 2019