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.