Ralph reviews a country house with ten acres near Chester
As you know, I am, by nature, a rather nosy little pug and I love exploring houses of all shapes and sizes. The last few weeks have left me in little doubt about the charms of country houses. A couple of weeks ago I was enchanted by beautiful Hargrave Hall and this week I have fallen for Croughton House, another majestic country house which is situated a mere 5 miles from Chester city centre.
This wonderful country pile may only be a stone’s throw away from the city but travelling down the sweeping driveway, one could be worlds away.
After my previous experience at Houghton Hall I was very well-versed in playing the part of the dignified country gent’s faithful companion and I waited patiently for dad to help me gracefully dismount from the car. With my paws back on terra firma I set off with a purposeful stride towards a rather stately looking front door. Stepping over the threshold I found myself in an entrance porch which in turn led into an entrance hall where I spied the staircase which sweeps up to the first floor.
There was plenty enough time later to explore upstairs but first my curiosity and my nose for adventure were piqued by a half open door to my left offering a tantilising glimpse of the room beyond. Pushing the door open I felt like I was stepping into Alice’s wonderland such were the treasures I spied in this spacious and elegant drawing room. Looking around I admired intricate coving around the ceiling, an ornately carved wooden fire surround, beautiful glazed French doors and a charming bay window with one of my most favourite things in the world – a window seat. A yelp of pure joy escaped me and I bounded across the room, launching myself onto the seat. What a vantage point – from here I could look out across the vast expanse of lawn in front of the house ready to raise the alarm should any unsuspecting visitors, neighbourhood cats or wildlife have the audacity to set foot on the grounds!
Puffed up with pride at my ability to protect my family I jumped down from the window seat with more than a little swagger and made my way back to the hallway keen to continue exploring the upfolding delights of Croughton House. Opposite the drawing room I found an equally impressive dining room which also boasts a fabulous bay window that reaches almost from floor to ceiling (I could imagine getting dizzy climbing the step ladders to clean those windows – maybe I would just leave that to my humans!)
My next stop was the kitchen which truly felt like a it was fit for a king – exquisitely made wooden cabinets, granite worktops, a Belfast sink and an aga all conspired to make me feel like I could be a worthy contender on doggie Masterchef – in such surroundings I felt perfectly confident that I could create a culinary masterpiece from a couple of bonios, a chunk of yesterday’s lamb, some liver and that rather pungent old bone I dug up yesterday.
This stunning country house has oodles of accommodation, continuing my journey around the ground floor I also found a sitting room with an Edwardian style fireplace and bifold doors which open to the garden, a study resplendent with French doors and a bay window (perfect for those moments of blue sky thinking – no they are not daydreams!), a handy utility room, a cloakroom and a set of steps which I discovered led down to a cellar room. Wow, it’s a good thing I have such a highly-tuned sense of smell otherwise I fear I could get lost in this wonderful house never to be found again – actually that may be no bad thing!
After pausing for a short rest by the aga and feeling pepped up with an energy boost supplied courtesy of a wainwright’s biscuit I set off for the second stage of my exploration – the upper floor. Having skilfully navigated the stairs, with a certain “joie de vivre” expressed in every leap, I found myself on a spacious landing and without further ado I took the door closest to me. This led me into an expansive bedroom which, I was delighted to discover, also boasted a very handy en suite bathroom.
My next stop was another large bedroom and this one enjoys views out of a fabulous bay window – another perfect lookout to keep an eye on the local wildlife! I also found a family bathroom and a further two bedrooms before I headed to the end of the landing and found myself in what I like to term “the master suite” and oh what a space this is. The bedroom was simply vast, and with another beautiful bay window with wood panelling details, as well as the high ceilings and coving that I have come to expect from Croughton House, the room has an almost regal feel to it and with views across the lawned gardens I could have settled in for the day. But onwards I went and found myself in a beautifully styled bathroom which in turn led to another room which could be used as a bedroom but I personally would use it as a dressing room – the perfect place to get ready for the multitude of social engagements that would be befitting of the owner of such a distinguished home!
Once back on the ground floor I made my way out the front door ready to explore the outside space at this wonderful country house. At the back of the house I found a workshop and storage area as well as a detached barn with a number of separate spaces within it, including two loose-boxes – perfect for the miniature Shetland ponies I quite fancy acquiring to carry me round the grounds!
Which leads me on perfectly to the amazing grounds – Croughton House sits in around ten acres of gardens and grounds. In preparation for my explorations I had assembled myself a picnic – ham sandwiches (without the bread), beef sandwiches (without the bread) and chicken sandwiches (without the bread) to enjoy whilst exploring the great outdoors. And what a space it is, consisting of lawns, paddocks and areas planted with mature trees and shrubs, it is a veritable oasis away from the stresses of modern life.
Croughton House is another exceptional property with the space, period features, character and land that so rarely appears on the market. And, should you require more space, there is also a two bedroom lodge with planning permission to extend available by separate negotiation. If you would like to explore the delights of this beautiful country house for yourself please contact myself or one of my team on 01244 322322 to arrange a viewing.
Until next time