FEW Georgian country houses have remained as charmingly untouched by time or 20th-century development as handsome Netheravon House in the ancient Wiltshire village of the same name. Netheravon, on the steeper eastern side of Salisbury Plain and on the west bank of the Avon, is 12 miles equidistant from Salisbury and Devizes.
For sale at a guide price of ‘excess £2.3 million’ through the Salisbury office of Strutt & Parker (01722 344010), the imposing, early- 18th-century house, listed Grade II*, stands in 4½ acres of gardens that lead down to the river, bordered by a cordon of splendid trees, including a magnificent cedar of Lebanon and some fine mature yew, ash and beech. Although now owned under a 999-year Ministry of Defence (MoD) lease, the purchase of the freehold is currently under way.
Attracted by the excellent sport to be had on Salisbury Plain, especially coursing and hawking, the Dukes of Beaufort based a large sporting estate here in the early 18th century. The estate was to survive in the hands of the Beauforts’ successors, the Hicks Beach family, until the end of the 19th century. Nowadays, the good trout fishing provided by the Avon, which north of Netheravon becomes a chalkstream, is much prized.
Netheravon House was built after 1734 by Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort, on a commanding part of the chalk bluff that overlooks the Avon Valley, to the south of the 11th-century village church and close to where a Roman villa stood. The grounds were laid out by the landscape architect and astronomer Thomas Wright and published in Universal Architecture in 1755 and 1758.
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