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Worminster Farm, North Wootton
A large country house with outbuildings in the middle of a rural idyll but very close to Wells and Glastonbury? Sounds perfect, but what do the current owners really think about living there? Let's ask them.
The current owners of Worminster Farm found it when they were out cycling one dayHow many years have you lived here and how did you come to find it?We have lived at Worminster Farm for 8 years. We found it whilst cycling around the area, after a year of renting locally. I had to stop for breath at the top of the hill and saw it basking in the sun, rather neglected and on seeing the outbuildings, the house, its position and the incredible views we fell in love immediately. From living in Spain and Cape Town for the previous 15 years this was the little piece of home we had been looking for our family own our return home to the UK. Our daughter went to school locally, our son was at Uni and my mother -in -law needed to be housed.We had quite a mission to purchase the house as the water that supplied the property was on a neighbouring farm. We decided the only way forward was to drill a bore hole, the trouble was that we didn’t know if the quality of the water was going to be any good and the bigger issue was that we didn’t own the house, we needed water to comply with the mortgage so it was very important that we found water and that it was drinkable. We took a punt and went for it, found the water, had it tested, and finally completed on the house, we were delighted and the first thing we did was to have a glass of our own mineral water!!!Describe your favourite roomI love the one that we created at the front of the property, this was two rooms with a corridor in between (kitchen and original sitting room) I told the builders to knock the whole thing through and they told me in no uncertain terms that I was mad. However, 2 RSJ’s later and a new floor and they had to eat their words as the room became a light filled oasis with spectacular views down the valley. It is South and West facing so every last drop of sunshine falls across the dining room table each evening.Knocking two rooms through created a light filled space where sunshine falls across the dining tableWe noticed the swimming pond...We decided to put that in last year, after much planning. We have been keen wild swimmers and often swim in the rivers around somerset, so this seemed a natural way forward. The build was very easy as the structure is simple, the plants grew very rapidly and within 4 weeks of starting the pond we were swimming. In the autumn we cut the plants down quite hard and switched off the bubble pump and during last years cold winter it froze over completely and we walked from one end to the other. It attracts all sorts of pond life, from dragon flies to frogs and newts, we love it and use it daily come rain, snow or sun.The natural swimming pondWhat's the commute to work like?We are very lucky as our commute to work is about 30 seconds. The old barn on the property was the first project we set to once we moved in as we needed a home to launch our online stationery business HoneyTreePublishing.
com. The barn was in very poor repair so needed a new roof, insulation and more windows. It is a divine place to work for our team with the same uninterrupted views down the valley as the house. It is very easy to travel to Bath, Bristol and beyond from Worminster. The road links are fantastic and direct. I often have to travel to London and find the train service excellent from Castle Cary.There is a purpose built office/studio in the grounds of Worminster FarmWhat are some of your favourite memories about living here?Worminster farm has been filled with children and laughter from the moment we moved in, the house lends itself to a family as there are plenty of rooms to escape to if you want some solitude and the big kitchen diner is the epicentre of our home where many Christmasses, birthdays and anniversaries have been celebrated. The cottage housed my mother-in-law for seven years and her carers resided in the upstairs. This has a separate entrance and was designed to ensure no disruption to ourselves, it’s an ideal granny annex or for guests - especially during the Glastonbury festival we are always full up!Worminster Farm has a separate cottage and studio in its grounds in addition to the swimming pond.Did you change the garden at all?Yes as it was very neglected when were arrived. The grass was at chest hight and all the shrubs and trees completely out of control. We set to work to clear up and control it and then put in a planting programme. We created the par terre using plants that are not necessarily associated with formal planting areas as I wanted the garden to have a natural almost permacultural feel about it.We cleared and planted the vegetable patch and created a flower garden that attracts the bees, we also planted lavender up the main path way which I am delighted by every summer and once the plants have gone over, we give them a good haircut and dry the massive bunches of lavender that keep the house smelling of summer through the winter months. Last year we planted 950 trees in the back fields, this was an incentive by Sainsburys and The Woodland Trust to commemorate the fallen soldiers in the first world war. The wood will be here long after we have, left for generations to come.There are lavender-lined walkways in the gardenAny insights into the area?Worminster is a small hamlet of about 8 houses on the outskirts of North Wootton, Somerset. I was recently told that it used to be much bigger but in the Middle Ages the plague depleted the population. Some metal detector enthusiast came to the property last autumn and found a number of Roman coins so maybe there was a large Roman settlement here as well. For all things vegan and pagan head to Glastonbury where you can find anything from hemp oils and creams to shamans and druids to help you along your path. Wells has the beautiful cathedral as well as a delightful market square, the christmas service at the cathedral is not to be missed and will encourage even the biggest of Screwdges to enjoy the festive season.Finally what will you miss most about living here and what do you hope for the next owners?The flow of this house has worked very well, I will never get bored of the view down the valley and will miss that incredibly. I love the Victorian achitechture, they seemed to be very generous in their proportions and their attention to detail is astounding, the house feels so solid and spacious yet still maintains a cosyness that we enjoy. A full south facing house is wonderful, and always warm and since we have had all the cavity walls and attic insulated we are as snug as bugs in the colder months. This house deserves to be loved by the next custodians and I am confident they will enjoy it as much as we have.
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5 tips to buying a B&B business!
A large country house, meeting people and the flexibility to work when you want – renting out rooms to holiday makers, or Air B’n’Bing an annexe cottage sounds like the ideal revenue stream. But if you’ve never run a B&B business before just how do you get started? We asked hospitality consultant Caroline Nolder, aka The B&B Doctor, to share some of her invaluable tips to start you off on the right path.
Caroline Nolder aka The B&B doctor (L) with her husband, who helps her run her B&B business in Bruton, Somerset
1. Give yourself a reality check
“You have to enjoy people as the client is always right,” says Caroline. “This is vital because running a B&B from your home is very in your face, so be honest with yourself about how much you like dealing with guests.” Once you’re confident this is the job for you, then make sure your family feel the same way. “It’s absolutely all about talking,” continues Caroline. “For example sit down with your partner and both write a list of your expectations. If they work from home and suddenly six guests arrive, how will they feel about that?”
2. Be prepared for hard work - at first anyway
“Make sure you can manage all the rooms yourself” advises Caroline, “as you might not always be able to get help with the cleaning and cooking. If budgets are tight initially, you might have to do it all yourself anyway and bear in mind that nowadays rooms are expected to be cleaned to a very high standard.” You should expect to work around five and half hours a day on a changeover, from laying tables, preparing and washing up breakfast to changing bedding.
3. Identify which part of the property will be your private home
Says Caroline: “When buying a house to B&B, sort out your own accommodation first so that the business is secondary to family life. Our children have left home so we let out two rooms in our house and guests really become part of our family. We have met so many inspirational people that way, but other B&Bs have separate entrances so guests don’t impinge on their homelife.”
4. Research reasons for guests to visit
It’s important to work out why people are going to stay with you ie: Who your potential customers are. For example, Caroline’s B&B business in Somerset, is near wedding venues, galleries like Hauser and Wirth, independent, acclaimed restaurants like At The Chapel restaurant and other independent shops like The FMLY Store. Plus the town is a very up-and-coming place to visit, often appearing in travel features in the national press, so she has a wealth of wedding parties and tourists to market to.
The kitchen plays a key role in any B&B. This one at Clanville Manor in Castle Cary, Somerset, is where many breakfasts have been prepared.
5. Play at being a guest yourself.
Before you move to an area, do your research and go and stay at local B&Bs, or if you are thinking of buying an existing business, read reviews and stay there yourself. Ask questions. “We are very lucky that businesses in Bruton are very happy to help,” says Caroline, which is a good sign for an area as it means independent businesses will support each other.
“Overall,” concludes Caroline, “running a B&B business is a very positive experience and you can certainly make a nice salary from it. It’s also flexible – we go abroad for four months of the year and open up again when we come back.”
Three Bed and Breakfast Businesses to Buy Today
If you love the idea of running a guesthouse but you'd rather not start a B&B from scratch, then an alternative is to buy an existing business. We currently have three for sale, all in Somerset.
Grade II listed, six bedroom house with ancillary accommodation in striking distance of Bath, Bristol, Frome and Wells which has an additional 4 outbuildings offering further sleeping space and a past with royal connections.
The Old Parsonage in Farrington Gurney is well-located for visitors travelling to events in Bath, Frome and Bristol
A longtime family home, with parts dating back to the 1600s, this five bedroomed Somerset farmhouse has fabulous views, a swimming pool and established gardens. It also has an attached two bedroom cottage that's currently being used for a successful Air BnB business, although in the past the current owners have also let out several rooms in the main house as B&B.
Clanville Manor in Castle Cary is ideally placed to visit Glastonbury and Bruton
Located just outside Bruton in Somerset, this eight bedroomed home is set up to run as a B&B, although the current owners only operate a successful tearoom there currently. Blessed with picturesque gardens, wine cellar and and a micro-hydro electricity generator too.
Cole Manor near Bruton has a successful tearoom but is also set up to run as a B&B
Compiled by Cath Rapley on behalf of Lodestone Property. To book a viewing at any of our properties please go to our website where we have further information and also other houses for sale in Somerset, many of which have annexe cottages or outbuidlings that could be rented out as holiday accommodation.
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Wild Orchard, Frome
Here's the latest in our series of behind-the-scenes pieces about what it's actually like to live in the houses we market - written by the owners themselves. So please join us for a personal tour around Wild Orchard, a 5 bedroom single storey home in Faulkland, just outside Frome, Somerset.
Wild Orchard in Faulkland, just outside Frome in Somerset
Thank you for showing us around your home today, how long have you lived here?
"This has been our family home for more than a decade. We love how it's surrounded by nature - only yesterday morning we watched a mother deer with her two youngsters enjoying the grass in the field just outside the kitchen window. We will miss the uninterrupted countryside views, the changing crops and pheasants strutting along the boundary wall."
Wild Orchard in Somerset has uninterrupted country views
What's your favourite time of year at Wild Orchard?
"We've never really been able to agree on this! Winter means a cosy log fire, closed blinds and the twinkle from the fairy lights twirled around the exposed beams and special memories of laughter and love at Christmas time. Summer sees us open up the lounge doors to join our inside and outside space together, long lazy evenings, lighting the outside chimney fireplace for extra warmth or chilling out in the summerhouse (once upon a time the perfect playhouse for the children).
You can enjoy eating outside at all times of the year here
Describe some of the advantages of living at Wild Orchard.
There's plenty of space at Wild Orchard that can be used in various different ways - an upstairs bedroom has once been a second lounge for example
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The Old Vicarage, Henton, near Wells
You can look at photos but when it comes to the reality of what it's really like to live in this spacious 6 bed Victorian country house near Wells, only the owner knows the truth. We asked him to let us into what it's like to live there.
Tell us about your decision to move to this beautiful. home....
"Why should we, 27 years ago, with three young children, decide to move from a very nice semi in Chiswick to a late Victorian old vicarage (having six bedrooms, its eight main rooms facing directly south, separate coach house and wood/garden shed, and over 3 acres)?"
The kitchen at The Old Vicarage, Henton near Wells
Tell us more....
"Perhaps because of; its high-quality build, spacious rooms with large windows and high ceilings, or its design integrity - no out-of-period changes. Or its large garden, with trees to climb and lawns for football, croquet, badminton and sun-bathing, all in privacy and safety, or its open view onto fields and hills, with so many local walks; or its peace, with star-bright nights; or this welcoming and vibrant village community with church and modern village hall; or its proximity to the little-discovered medieval city of Wells with Cathedral, Bishop’s Palace, good schools, concert hall, cinema, theatre, societies, festivals, many concerts, two markets a week; or Bath and Bristol within about 20 miles; OR Waitrose, Lidl, Tesco and Morrison’s.
I really can’t think why! But we have always cared for it and loved it."
The impressive dining room at The Old Vicarage, Henton near Wells
For further details and to book an appointment to view The Old Vicarage, or any of or other houses for sale in Somerset, please click here
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Calling all entrepeneurs: Bruton planning enterprise centre
As if you need another reason to move to Bruton, we're very excited to share the news that plans for a new enterprise centre for start-up and growing small businesses have reached the consulation stage. And this week, Bruton Chamber of Commerce shared an artist's impression of what the building could look like (see below):
Proposed plans for Bruton's new enterprise centre
The next stage is that Somerset County Council need evidence of interest and demand for workspace from local businesses, so a short online survey has been set up at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/R68J3S6 and they're asking for people to share their views.
We think that a new centre would be fantastic for the town, as it by providing affordable workspace for you to start your new venture it would encourage creative & entrepreneurial ideas and people and initiatives to add to an already vibrant community. We'll keep you informed as plans progress but you can also keep up-to-date by following Bruton Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.