The cottages at Eastnor are, with one or two exceptions, let to people who live and work locally and some for the estate. It is better to have cottages lived in all the time rather than just at weekends, and many families looking to buy in the area like to rent for a time while they look for a suitable property.
However, we decided to change our policy for Peacock Villa and Golden Gates Lodge. The first was formerly a gamekeeper’s cottage and is in the top end of the deer park on the edge of a wood, just off the Worcestershire Way. When last occupied, it had well water and electricity supplied by a diesel generator. There was no central heating. Access was ideally by a 4×4 so although habitable, it was not particularly comfortable by modern standards. When the last tenants left, we decided to defer re-letting until we could budget for a full make-over.
The process has been completed, electricity installed, water supply upgraded and a full refurbishment has taken place and now transformed in to holiday lets through Stately Holiday Homes.
The second, Golden Gates Lodge, is in the middle of the Park, straddling the limestone ridge that runs from the foot of the British Camp to the main entrance of the Castle. It is now available for let and we hope they will prove a useful add-on to our business and add to the tourism offer of Herefordshire.
Our Works Department has been restoring Golden Gates Lodge, a listed building in the middle of our deer park on the Ridgeway drive that used to bring carriages down from the British Camp on the Malvern Hills to the Castle gates in the village. Lucy, my wife, has been in charge of the decorations and furnishings. The Lodge has long been by-passed with the inevitable cattle grid speeding vehicular traffic on its way to the woods for off-road Land Rover driving or to a nearby farm, but the Lodge has been let and kept in good order.
Recently, with the Big Chill and other busy Park events, it has not been as peaceful a place to rent as it should be, so we decided to make it our second furnished holiday cottage. It joins another Park property, Peacock Villa which we have been letting successfully from this spring and has one double bedroom, sitting room, kitchen and bathroom on the larger, west side, and a double bedroom and bathroom on the east side. We have rebuilt the supporting wall for the lower garden, which has a wonderful view over the Park, and made a patio there for warm weather use.
The Lodge lies close to the footpath which crosses the Park and takes walkers up onto the ridge of the Malvern Hills and the Worcestershire Way. (See the cottage gallery for views of the surrounding area) The Ridgeway Wood, just behind the Lodge, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and visitors can follow the drive up to the gates at the top of the Ridgeway or join another footpath that crosses it and leads up to Clutters Cave, also on the Hills. It will be a great place to stay. JH-B 3rd June 2010
We launched our first holiday cottage, Peacock Villa, in January and bookings are coming in. The first reactions of our visitors have been very favourable, but the test will be the level of repeat bookings.
We are now working on the restoration of our second one, Golden Gates Lodge. It stands on the Ridgeway, the old carriage drive to the Malvern road, and is on the edge of the Ridgeway Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest overlooking the deer park. It has a great view towards the south.
The lodge is in two halves. The west side will have the living room, kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom, the east side, which is smaller, a bedroom and bathroom only. There is a garden on the edge of the wood below the east side, which we are also restoring. An interesting but redundant feature is the old privy, which, visitors may be relieved to hear, we are not restoring, and indoor facilities will be provided.
Our Works Department team are doing the job, and it is going well. It should be available to let from Summer 2010. Watch this space… JH-B 5th March 2010