Cottage | 11 bedrooms | sleeps 24

Key Info
  • Beach or lakeside relaxation
  • Great for children of all ages
  • Pets welcome
  • Car advised

a mile from Yarcombe, Sheafhayne is a superbly positioned, Grade II*, Elizabethan manor house, likened by the Sunday Times to 'a full-sized game of Cluedo'. Originally a medieval hall house and the shooting lodge of Sir Francis Drake's Yarcombe estate which has been in the same family for 400 years and has 2,500 acres of farmland (beef and dairy cattle) through which flows the river Yarty (trout fishing available). You are welcome to visit the farm. This is east Devon at its best.

From the large and beautiful garden, the lawn fades - with the aid of a ha-ha - into countryside. A wild garden/orchard with mown paths is at the end of a pergola walk with wisteria and a perfectly placed seat; nearby, a stream (unfenced). On the other side of the huge lawn (croquet) is a shallow rill (unfenced). Huge games room (pool table, air hockey, table tennis, table football) in the garden. In front of the house is a flagstoned and paved terrace with sundial and, through a stone arch with wrought iron gate, a sunken garden, very sheltered and peaceful. The entrance to the house is from a formal courtyard with fine views over the estate. The house has tremendous character and the beams, Tudor panelling, flagstones, mullioned windows, old oak floorboards and doors are wonderful.

Big stone entrance porch and heavy ribbed oak door leads to flagstoned, panelled hall with huge, medieval, walk-in ornamental fireplace, beams and window seat (this room is as big as most people's living rooms). Off it, the oak-panelled, oak-floored drawing room with open fire, four windows, TV/DVD/video. Billiard room - another huge, long room with four large windows, William Morris-designed wallpaper, seats, massive fireplace (woodburner) and full-sized billiard table. Off this, a small hall, shower-room (suite) and a double bedroom (zip-linked 6' bed) with lovely views across the countryside. The dining room (banqueting room) has finely carved Hamstone ornamental fireplace, piano, iPod dock and dining table seating 24. Next door is the fitted kitchen/breakfast room, with 4-door Aga plus electric cooker (double oven/ceramic hob), big island in the middle, breakfast table with window seats, two dishwashers, microwave, two fridges, big freezer; beyond, a small children's playroom (TV) and a proper old-fashioned larder/wine store and former butler's pantry, laundry room (washing machine, tumble drier), downstairs loo, and back door to stables and enclosed back grassed courtyard (good for young children: toys, sandpit, barbecue). Four staircases (from billiard room, hall, back scullery, and one steep, boxed-off spiral) of varying importance lead to ten more bedrooms, five bathrooms (suites, two with separate showers), four shower-rooms (suites); all the bedrooms are en suite except two which share one large shower-room (suite). Some of the rooms have interconnecting doors; however, all can be bolted and individually accessed. Some have lovely panelling, others exceptional views; some, very wide floorboards; most have Hamstone or cast iron fireplaces (ornamental); three have clothes-hanging space on their landings. 'Alexandra's' (above the drawing room) has a 5' four-poster bed - which is 7' long! There are a further four double bedrooms (all 5' beds) and four twin rooms (with linkable beds to make 6' doubles). 'The Playroom' has four single beds or a double. Logs included. Spring water. Professional catering and ready meals available. Maid service available, by arrangement. Damages Deposit £300. Floor plan available. Pub, 1½ miles.

Size Sleeps up to 24, 11 bedrooms
Will consider Short breaks (1-4 days)
Access Car advised
Family friendly Great for children of all ages
Notes Pets welcome, Yes, smoking allowed

Features and Facilities

Luxuries Log fire, Internet access, DVD player
General Central heating, TV, Video player, Telephone, Pool or snooker table, Games room
Standard Kettle, Toaster, Iron
Utilities Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine
Rooms 11 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms of which 10 Family bathrooms
Furniture Double beds (10)
Other Towels provided, High chair
Outdoors Shared garden, Private fishing lake or river
Access Secure parking
Further details indoors

Please bring your own beach towels.

The agent has its own star rating system to quantify interior quality, comfort and ambience. This property has been rated 3.5 star.

The West Country region

East Devon: that is Devon east of the river Exe and Exeter - Devon's capital with superb cathedral and much else attractive. Here is the most smiling of lush farmland and most dramatically hilly, the easiest to see from a car because the lanes are less narrow, the hedges less high. Domed hills rise abruptly and steeply, baize-green fields to crowns of woods or sentinel beech trees, half-way up farmsteads like a children's-book idyll. Woodbury Common is a small high moor with heather and Scots pine trees and fine newish golf course.

Exmouth is a resort with lots of sandy beach and boats. The Exe estuary is full of yachts and has one of Devon's prettiest villages, Lympstone, beside it. A shore of mainly pebbles keeps the area comparatively quiet, though the coast is attractive with white and red cliffs, pleasant, civilised towns like Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton and villages like Beer and Branscombe. Its inland villages tend to be pretty: Broadhembury is special - and the view from Hembury Hill (fort) is sensational. Hardly anyone seems to visit the lovely Blackdown Hills - big beech woods, smart fields with thoroughbred horses - on its northern border. You can have flying lessons at Dunkeswell aerodrome and there is an excellent (flat) cycle track, punctuated by pubs, from Exeter beside the Exe estuary to the sea. The whole east Devon coast is called a 'World Heritage Coastline'.

Chard

Yarcombe: pretty, tiny village (pub, church) in meadows and ancient woods on the edge of the Blackdown Hills. Nearest towns, Chard, 5 miles, and Honiton (sports centre), 7½ miles. Within 10 miles is the 'Hamstone country' (golden villages, Elizabethan Nat. Trust houses/gardens). The south coast at Lyme Regis, Seaton, Beer or Sidmouth, 15-20 miles.