Axmouth 0.5 mile, Axminster 6 miles (London Waterloo 2 hours 41 minutes), Honiton 13 miles, Exeter Airport 19.5 miles (London City Airport 1 hour 10 minutes)
Stedcombe House sits in an elevated position in the broad Axe Valley, north of Axmouth on the Dorset/Devon border, and surrounded by rolling countryside and the private Bindon Estate, until 1960 known as the Stedcombe Estate.
Axmouth is an attractive small village and harbour suitable for launching and mooring a boat and has a church, pubs, and a yacht club. It is positioned at the upper end of the estuary about half a mile from the sea and the dramatic Jurassic coastline.
The South West Coast path, which runs through Axmouth, offers wonderful walks and connects a selection of beaches and picturesque coastal towns.
Lyme Regis, about 6 miles to the east, is an historic old town famous for its quaint old buildings, sandy beach, impressive coastal scenery and especially the Cobb, a stunning medieval harbour.
A wide range of shops, pubs, cliff top golf courses and restaurants can be found in the local area, such as Hix Oyster and Fish House at Lyme Regis, The River Cottage Kitchen and Deli at Axminster, Mason Arms in Branscombe and The Pig at Combe. Sidmouth, about 11 miles to the west, has a Waitrose supermarket and the nearby Seaton has two convenient supermarkets for everyday essentials.
There is a good selection of primary and secondary schools in the area, including Blundell's, Millfield, Bryanston, Hazelgrove, and the other side of the estuary is Colyton Grammar School, which was ranked the best performing co-educational secondary school in England in the Department for Education's 2018 league table.
Communication links are good with the A30 at Honiton providing a link to the A303, or M5 Motorway at Exeter. There are regular train services to London Waterloo from Honiton and Axminster, and Exeter International Airport has daily flights to London City Airport, as well as a wide selection of UK and international destinations.
Stedcombe House is an incredibly attractive Grade I listed country house, originally built in the late seventeenth century, and rescued from an appalling state of decay by the current owner after a three year restoration project. His scholarly attention and devotion to its sympathetic architecture has resurrected this magnificent example of a William and Mary house. Stedcombe House is a classical post-Restoration box with two main floors, basement and attic and with four show fronts each of five bays. The house is of red brick (probably baked on site), laid Flemish bond with Portland stone quoins, plinth, string and window surrounds, a timber eaves cornice with carved modillions, and a slated dormered roof with a leaded flat around the belvedere. This last element is original to the building and unique combining the functions of roofed cupola and chimney stack.
The house is entirely hidden until its symmetrical profile is revealed as one approaches via the ascending drive to where the house proudly stands overlooking the Axe Valley to the west, the dramatic Hawkesdown Hill to the south and further wooded pasture of the Bindon Estate to the east. Several things about it are unusual, but its most significant characteristics are its easy flow of rooms and the quality of its design. In keeping with its era, all the rooms benefit from high ceilings and excellent proportions, with an array of fine period features, including handsome chimneypieces, original shutters and elegant panelling.
The west door with moulded Portland stone surround and cornice supported by scrolled consoles echoes the windows and leads to a grand hall and a vista straight through the house to half-glazed doors surmounted by a semi-circular fanlight on the east side. The hall is one of only four rooms that constitute the raised ground floor and all occupy a corner of the house. The resulting dual aspects coupled with substantial sash windows allow in an abundance of light.
The first floor has similar proportions with four bedrooms around a central landing. Two of these are corner rooms with two aspects and the other two have adjoining bathrooms. The south-west bedroom also has a dressing room and an additional bathroom looks after the remaining bedrooms. The attic, which maintains a good ceiling height, has a further four bedrooms, two bathrooms, box room suitable for storage or single bedroom and access to the belvedere which has far reaching 360 degree views.
The lower ground floor has four corner rooms, namely the large family kitchen, the hall which also acts as a more informal sitting room, study/office and utility room. This floor also enjoys excellent natural light due to its good ceiling height and windows extending above ground level and has a separate entrance reached from the basement area, which connects with an underground tunnel to the stableyard.
The outbuildings and the lodge
The stableyard, which is a convenient car parking area, contains a number of red brick and stone outbuildings forming an attractive courtyard. While the two storey part of the Leanto Range and the Stable Block were re-roofed in the 1990's, these buildings are in need of repair and have the potential to provide ancillary accommodation, stabling, workshops, garaging and storage. In 1995 there was planning and listed building consent, which has now expired, to convert the buildings into a cottage and flat as well as reinstating stabling and garaging. The Lodge is located at the road gate and, despite its later date, is playfully akin to Stedcombe House being built, as are the gate piers, of red brick and stone, as well as having a timber eaves cornice gutter and a slated dormered roof with a massive central chimney stack. It comprises three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, sitting room, utility room and cloakroom.
Garden and grounds
Stedcombe House sits privately in approximately 20 acres grounds including parkland, three walled gardens, pasture and woodland. Perched on the eastern slope of the Axe Valley much of the land is terraced and the house overlooks its own land and the rolling country beyond. There is a covenant on the adjoining land to the north and the east prohibiting development and change of use which protects future privacy the property already enjoys.
From London, take the A303 until you reach Ilminster where you take the A358 to Axminster. Continue along this road through Axminster, on the A35 and through Musbury. Shortly after driving through Musbury you will reach a give way at the Boshill Cross junction with the A3052. Drive straight over this road which requires you to turn right followed by an immediate left onto the B3172. In approximately 700 yards take the left turning, which is unmarked, where you will immediately see the red brick and stone gate piers and lodge. Follow the drive to the left which will take you to the house. From Exeter, take the A3052 towards Sidmouth and Lyme Regis. Continue passed Sidford and Colyford. Approximately 1 mile out of Colyford, turn right onto the B3172 to Axmouth. In approximately 700 yards take the left turning, which is unmarked, where you will immediately see the red brick and stone gate piers and lodge. Follow the drive to the left which will take you to the house.