Description - This handsome, Grade II listed property, standing proudly at the end of a sweeping drive in a delightful, edge-of-village location has the makings of a spectacular family home and particular appeal for those attracted to houses with history and period detail.
Offered to the market for the first time in more than 35 years, the imposing nine-bedroom residence with elegant, high ceiling reception rooms offers a unique opportunity for refurbishment, with plenty of flexible living space and grounds of approximately 2.22 acres. It is surrounded by beautiful scenery and situated west of the village of English Bicknor, in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Bicknor Court is a substantial, stone-built property with many historic features and a fascinating past. An ancient hall house, built near the site of an even earlier property with the same name, it has been altered and extended over the centuries. The kitchen and the adjoining pantry/cold store are in the oldest part of the house, at the back. The tower, on the west side of the house, was added in the seventeenth century. This is served by a spiral staircase, leading up from the kitchen, with a lancet window over the stairwell. The older parts of the building are characterised by stone mullioned windows and triple-light arched windows. The property owes its imposing, symmetrical facade, with fourteen sash windows and central pedimented portico to a significant upgrade in the Georgian era.
Of prominence in the locality, Bicknor Court was owned by landowners and foresters the Wyrall family from the 1400s through to the 1800s. In the late 1800s, the house was rented to the family of Dorothea Bate who became internationally renowned for her expertise in fossil mammals and made her first fossil discoveries in the nearby limestone caves in the cliffs above the river Wye.
Step inside:- - Walk up the stone steps to the solid oak front door, turn the oversized key in the original box lock and enter the central hallway. This has flagstone flooring, an attractive ceiling rose and an oak staircase, lit by a tall arched window with Gothic-style tracery. To the left of the hallway, the morning room has all the elegance of its era, with cornicing around the high ceiling, an arched recess and Georgian shutters at its two, front-facing sash windows. A fireplace houses a wood burning stove.
The other side of the hallway is the magnificent oak panelled dining room, which the vendor's family have used for many a celebratory gathering. "The ornate wooden carving over the fireplace is reputed to be from an Elizabethan fourposter bed salvaged from Clearwell Castle when it burned down in 1929." The room has further intrigue, with shallow cupboards hidden in the panelling either side of the fireplace. Other lovely features are the exposed beam, oak floorboards, the decorative lozenges along the top of the oak panelling and the shuttered sash windows.
A third formal reception room, the drawing room, at the back of the house, is bright and airy, with two sash windows to the side elevation and French doors opening to the large walled garden. The room has period cornicing, a central ceiling rose and a feature fireplace.
Located between the morning room and the drawing room is a smaller room, currently used as a study, with a window to the side elevation. The other side of the hallway, a corridor leads to the downstairs cloakroom.
Off the same corridor, the large kitchen, part of the original hall house, has exposed ceiling beams and a massive fireplace, which now houses a large electric Aga. There's a range of kitchen units and a large, built-in oak dresser with a tiled back. Doors lead to the larder/cold room and a utility/boot room and from the kitchen a spiral staircase winds up to three bedrooms in the tower, which can all also be accessed ..
On the first floor of the property is the master suite, with a feature fireplace and two sash windows. "They give a lovely outlook over the front of the house and across the village to the hillside where you can see English Bicknor's ancient church and the village school next to it." The master suite benefits from a large ensuite bathroom with French doors to a narrow viewing balcony.
On the same floor, there are two further double bedrooms overlooking the front of the house and a family bathroom next to a long, narrow, L-shaped room, one of the quirky features of this property and currently used for storage.
On the second floor, there are three further double bedrooms with windows giving views to the front of the property. There is a small family bathroom, plus a room fitted out as a kitchen/diner.
The property also has several cellar rooms, accessed from a door under the main stairs. These include a wine cellar and an area used as a bar.
Explore the Area:- - English Bicknor, on the westerly edge of the Forest of Dean (not to be confused with Welsh Bicknor, on the opposite bank of the river Wye) grew up around a Norman castle, high above the Wye Valley. Its Grade 1 listed parish church of St Mary, dating from 1100, stands in what was once the castle's outer bailey.
A focal point for the community is the 1930s village hall, which was extensively refurbished in 2009 and has a social club and adjoining playing fields. The village is served by a primary school and nursery and Five Acres High School in Coleford is under three miles away. The Haberdashers' Monmouth independent boys' and girls' schools are about eight miles distant.
The area around English Bicknor has a rich industrial heritage associated with limestone quarrying, coal mining, charcoal burning and ironmaking and the English Bicknor Heritage Trail showcases restored Lime Kilns in the vicinity.
Situated within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the village is surrounded by nature, wildlife and stunning scenery. Not far away are the renowned riverside beauty spot of Symonds Yat and the viewpoint Yat Rock, overlooking the meandering River Wye. It's an ideal location for those who enjoy the outdoors, offering opportunities for walking, cycling, riding, climbing, canoeing, fishing, golf and more.
Local amenities are available at Berry Hill, some two miles distant and in the nearby market town of Coleford. The village is mid-way between Ross on Wye and Monmouth, with their comprehensive range of shopping, educational and recreational facilities. Motorway links from the area give easy access to Cardiff, Bristol and the Midlands, making it attractive to commuters.
Outside - Bicknor Court is approached through a pillared entrance along a private, sweeping driveway which leads up to the front of the house, where a turning circle is dominated by a huge Cedar of Lebanon. This was planted around the same time as the Georgian facade was completed.
Around the side of the house are double gates to a courtyard, with the utility/boot room, wood store and double garage/workshop running along one side. A pergola with paving and planting in front overlooks the courtyard. "It gets the evening sun and makes a lovely place for drinks before dinner."
The garden is situated to the west of the house and has high stone walls all around it giving the feeling of seclusion. The gardens are laid to lawn with shrubs and planting at the edges. A small, old stone building in the corner of the walled garden is thought to be part of a pair of early gatehouses from the 1500s or 1600s.
The grounds also include an area of steep, enclosed land across the lane from the pillared entrance measuring approximately 1.23 acres. This land has previously been grazed by sheep and horses and has pleasant views towards English Bicknor.
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