Property Spotlight: Inside one of Hertfordshire's finest country homes
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:28 28 July 2017
Just under eight miles from St Albans, and surrounded by attractive countryside, is one of the most impressive country houses in Hertfordshire.
The exquisite estate at Ayot Montfitchet is privately situated in landscaped and beautifully maintained gardens, paddocks and grounds of around 27 acres.
The Grade II listed main property - a Tudor hall house - dates from 1485; with Jacobean and later additions it now provides around 12,500 sq ft of charming accommodation. Each room has its own character, from the soaring great hall with its Tudor arched fireplace, linenfold panelling and minstrels’ gallery, the classicism of the 18th-century breakfast room with its wainscoting and marble fireplace, to the crisp modernity of the principal bedroom with its Edwardian style bathroom and Biedermeier dressing room.
The kitchen/breakfast room and servery have been remodelled in a traditional style, featuring bespoke cabinets and a comprehensive range of integrated appliances, complemented by a large walk-in pantry.
The six-bed, five en-suite principal house is accompanied by a delightful estate: the nearby courtyard includes a staff cottage, two flats, garages, stables and other outbuildings, and there is also the detached gardener’s cottage
Just like the house, the grounds of Ayot Montfitchet are steeped in history. It’s now difficult to peel back the layers and tell when each part was laid out, but the different elements come together beautifully to create a unique setting for this special home.
The grounds are split between formal and more informal areas, with formal gardens in the immediate surroundings of the house and then less formal areas further out. This diverse arrangement hosts a wide array of charming features, all of which are beautifully maintained by the on-site gardener.
These include: an Arts and Crafts brick boathouse, set into the outer wall and facing out across the ornamental lake onto the drive; a lime tree cathedral, similar to that in Whipsnade, and ‘romantic garden’; a croquet lawn flanked by two Grade II listed 17th century walls; formal and ‘sundial’ lawns; and a rose garden with fountain. Beyond an avenue of ancient yew trees lies a yew hedge, and beyond that lies a reflection pool enclosed by pleached lime trees and accessed through an arch in the hedge. Farther out still is the orchard, which contains apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees.
Ayot Montfitchet, near Ayot St Peter
Aitchisons | 01727 855556 | www.aitchisons.co.uk