Old Westmill Farmhouse
Westmill Lane, Ickleford, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 3RP
£1,500,000Offers in excess of
- A Grade II Listed detached country house
- Over 2 acres of gardens and paddocks
- Seven bedrooms, two reception rooms, four bathrooms
- Kitchen/breakfast/family room, utility room, cloakroom, study
- Cellar and wine cellar
- Three summer houses
- Double garage, extensive parking
- Approximate gross internal floor area: main house 4,226 sq. ft.
A Grade II Listed seven bedroom detached country house with extensive parking, a double garage and over 2 acres of gardens and paddocks.
The property is of timber framed and red brick construction with red tiled roof. The brickwork on the front is covered by a magnificent Virginia creeper with leaves which turn red in the autumn. The main house has 4,226 sq. ft. of well-maintained accommodation including two principal reception rooms, an open plan kitchen/breakfast family room, a first floor study, seven bedrooms and four bathrooms. It backs onto farmland at the rear and is surrounded by open countryside including the Oughtonhead nature reserve which is walking distance away. It is only a mile from the source of the River Oughton which meanders along the boundary and falls from the millpond into the river course at Westmill. A footpath passes the property for ramblers and dog walkers. The rural peace is combined with the benefit of being only 2.5 miles from Hitchin which has a wide range of amenities including train services to Kings Cross in just 30 minutes for commuters.
History and Heritage
The main part of the house dates back to the 17th century with the east wing, which incorporates the sitting room and master bedroom, added in the 18th century. There is also a 19th century extension at the rear. The section with the kitchen and the guest bedroom above is believed to date back to the 14th century, a belief borne out by the different brickwork and the lower doorways in this section. The guest bedroom still contains the original ladder to the second floor. The property is accessed down its own lane which leads to the property and four other character properties, all once part of a working mill which was located opposite Old Westmill Farmhouse adjacent to the river. The mill building itself was destroyed in a fire in the 1960s.
The five remaining buildings were bought by a developer and turned into homes twenty years ago. Period features have been retained including the original doors with their original keys. There are open fireplaces, sash windows, exposed beams, and the original servants bells in the family area, one still in working order.
The solid wood front door opens into the entrance hall which has a part glazed door to the rear garden, a built-in storage cupboard, a two piece cloakroom, and stairs to the first floor. A door leads to stairs down to the cellar which has a brick floor and double doors to the front. The wine cellar has the original slate shelves.
The formal dining room has a window to the front, exposed ceiling beams, and an open fireplace with a stone surround and a slate hearth. Display shelving is fitted in the alcove to one side of the fire. The light and airy sitting room has tall dual aspect sash windows to the front and rear. The high ceilings have deep coving and a ceiling rose. There is an open fireplace with a marble surround, and a large built-in storage cupboard.
The central hub of the house is the open plan kitchen/breakfast/family room which measures in excess of 33 ft. and has stone and brick flooring throughout, and exposed ceiling beams. The bespoke kitchen is in the very oldest part of the house and is fitted with a comprehensive range of wooden wall and base units, including a central island unit, with complementary work surfaces. There is an original bread oven, and a gas fired Aga in a recess. Other integrated appliances include a double oven, a gas hob, and a Bosch dishwasher. A flight of wooden stairs leads to the guest bedroom above. There is space for a breakfast table to seat six and a family area with armchairs. A second alcove houses a log burning stove.
Utility Room and Shower Room
The utility room is in the 19th century extension and has a range of modern units with space under the work surface for a washing machine and a tumble dryer. The room also houses the megaflow water tank and the Worcester boiler. The shower room is accessed via a coat hanging area and has a modern suite with a WC, washbasin and a corner shower cubicle with a rain water shower head.
Master Bedroom Suite
The master bedroom has a high ceiling with coving and a picture rail, and an open fireplace with Arts and Crafts style tiled inserts. There are two sets of built-in wardrobes. The en suite shower room has a contemporary style suite with a walk-in shower cubicle with rain water and standard shower heads, a washbasin, and a WC. There is a towel radiator and tiled flooring.
Other Bedrooms and Bathroom
The landing has a built-in storage cupboard and a two piece cloakroom. There are three further bedrooms accessed from the landing all with windows to the front. Bedroom three has two built-in cupboards, a range of fitted wardrobes and an open fireplace with Arts and Craft style tiled inserts. Bedroom five has a door to the family bathroom which has a ball and claw footed bath, a separate shower cubicle with a rain water shower head, a WC and a washbasin. A door from the bathroom leads to the dual aspect guest bedroom which can also be accessed via the stairs from the kitchen.
The first floor study is at the rear of the property with two windows overlooking the garden and surrounding countryside. It is fitted in a range of bespoke handmade bookshelves and drawers and has space for two desks. It could be used as an occasional eighth bedroom if required.
On the second floor there are two interlinked bedrooms and a bathroom which has a ball and claw footed bath, a WC, a washbasin and access to eaves storage. Bedroom six also has access to eaves storage and exposed beams and timbers. A door leads to the ladder down to the guest bedroom and to a large eaves storage area. If required bedroom seven could be used as a sitting room/study and the whole floor could create a suite for a teenager or an au pair.
At the front of the property there is a cobbled area with parking for up to four cars. The walled front garden is on the other side of the cobbles and overlooks the mill race which controls the flow of water past the property. At the rear double wooden gates lead to a gravel driveway which provides further parking and access to the detached double garage. This was added by the developer twenty years ago and has two sets of double doors, and a window to the side.
The gardens are a particular feature of the property. The walled garden has a manicured lawn and borders with established shrubs and trees including pear trees. There are two paved patio areas each with a brick built summer house. One was added by the developer while the other is the original summerhouse from the 18th century and has a high vaulted ceiling with exposed beams, fitted seating around three walls, and triple aspect windows with views of the garden and across the surrounding paddocks. A secret garden door leads into the less formal section of the garden. This area was formerly the orchard and still contains apple, pear, plum, damson and mulberry trees. There is a timber built summerhouse with a decked terrace. The garden is bound by hedge which runs parallel with the River Oughton. A small entrance in the hedge leads to a private paved seating area set above the river.
The property is situated less than a mile to the south west of the village of Ickleford, which has a village hall, three public houses, a sports and recreation ground, and a local shop. For more comprehensive facilities the property is only 2.5 miles from the medieval market town of Hitchin which regularly rates highly in surveys of desirable places to make a home. It has a choice of schools, leisure facilities, shops and markets and excellent transport links by road or rail for commuters. Hitchin railway station is on the Great Northern Line and journeys to London and Cambridge both take around 30 minutes. The A1(M) and M1 are both within easy reach and provide access to London and the wider road networks, whilst London Luton Airport is just under 11 miles to the south west.
The local area has access to excellent independent and state schooling including a popular primary school in the village. In Hitchin, the Boys and Girls Grammar Schools are both rated outstanding by Ofsted. In the neighbouring village of Preston there is Princess Helena school or Kingshott Preparatory School in St Ippolytes. Letchworth Garden City also has the independent schools St Francis College and St Christophers School.
There is lots to do in the area with easy access to many country walks, cycle paths and a riding school with livery facilities. The Icknield Way Path passes through the village on its 110-mile journey from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. The Icknield Way Trail, a multi-user route for walkers, horse riders and off-road cyclists also passes through the village. There is a cricket club in the village and facilities for football, squash and petanque at the sports ground.