Mountain Road
Longtown, Herefordshire

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“A rich tapestry of original features and confident architectural flair”

This extraordinary home lies partway up the Mountain Road set between Herefordshire’s Longtown and the Black Mountains. It comprises a Grade II-listed 15th-century farmhouse, a 17th-century barn house, two outhouses, 21 fields covering 85 acres, three dingles, a river, a working livestock farm with an extensive range of modern agricultural buildings, and a wonderfully romantic stone bothy. Reinventing traditional ideas of rural farm living, the interiors are full of clever, intuitive, and playful architectural interventions, with a fun and modern use of colour and a time-honouring approach to materials.

The Tour

Following the gentle incline of the winding mountain road, one of the two entrances is via a gated driveway. The main house is composed of two buildings joined by a concrete curved bridge: a two-bedroom 17th-century barn house and a three-bedroom, 15th-century Welsh Hall House. While currently used as one home, both buildings are fully self-contained, with independent driveways, entrances and courtyards offering excellent flexibility of use and the option to easily divide into two dwellings.

A central pathway directs towards the primary entrance: a striking double-height pitch of glass that brings sensational light and warmth across the ground level and lends perfectly as a space for music. Renovation of the existing 17th-century building was extensive and lovingly finessed over many years. Preserving the structural past was key and the transformation of the interior is a masterful exercise, combining modern craft with the original structure. An abundance of warm wood is paired with bright pops of colour, simple linear forms and an opening of space which naturally rationalises the circulation.

The main kitchen, deftly defined by the curve of a sculptural wall, retains a fluid open plan and has been modernised for easy entertaining and day-to-day living. Appliances are neatly housed in clean lines of bespoke joinery and full-height, space-saving storage areas. The mezzanine above, currently set out as a study, overlooks a crosshatch of structural oak beams and the breadth of the living space below.

A more intimate living space is tucked into an elevated split level, with a modern open fireplace and lines of library bookshelves. The introduction of a cylindrical stairwell on this side of the house leads up to another study and down to the quiet retreat of the main bedroom. The original cattle doorways, framed by 17th-century oak beams, provide picture views across the open landscape, and a deep sunken stone bath is built in the adjoining en suite bathroom. The second bedroom follows further down the staircase, with an ensuite shower room and views across the garden.

Passing through a secondary doorway on the ground floor, the second part of the home, a three-bedroom stone cottage lies beyond an external courtyard, accessed by the former cartway between farmhouse and the barn house. Rich in historical context, the renovation revealed an enormous inglenook fireplace with bread oven, which forms a natural centrepiece. The interiors feature plank and muntin screens and have been carefully redressed with lime plasters and paints. In addition to the main living area, there is also a home office and a snug on the ground floor.

Avoiding unnecessary disturbance, freestanding units stand proud of the original walls in the kitchen and utility areas. Stone worktops, and cabinets in a rich orange define the kitchen, and a modern bathroom, utility space and boot room lie adjacent. The upper levels are a rich tapestry of original features, personalised with a confident architectural flair. Bright en suite bathrooms are finished in vibrant colours and a contrasting, more industrial material palette.

Across the matrix of open fields, streams, dingles and ancient woodland, a stone bothy is tucked into a quiet pocket of open land. Lightly touched, this space is an exercise in soothing colours, stone walls, a huge open fireplace and a simple kitchen area, an outside washroom and a quiet mezzanine sleeping space. This is a simple yet perfect retreat after a long romp through the countryside.

There are two additional outbuildings: the Stable Barn and the Wash House, each of which house a ground source heat pump, and storage space for gardening equipment. The living areas and the working farm are clearly delineated, with a separate branch drive leading to an extensive range of modern agricultural buildings offering future development opportunities.

Outside Space

The area around the house blends naturally with the surroundings, with wildflower grasslands and cut paths winding through the orchard. Silver birch cluster form around a sculptural pavilion and outside eating area, perfect for warm summer lunches and suppers. Formal gardens are landscaped with herbaceous plants and perennial grasses and seating areas have been mindfully plotted to follow the course of the sun and optimise the wildly far-reaching views across the ridge and the black mountains.

The farmland has been equally well-loved and well-preserved, with wonderful walks through wooded dingles, crossing streams and waterfalls and field upon field of open countryside. Hedgerows define each of the 21 parcels, which can be independently managed by a local farmer.

The working farm offers the opportunity to farm around 30 cattle and 150 sheep, or it can be managed by a neighbouring farmer, with grazing rights on the mountain for 400 sheep free of charge. A High-Level Stewardship scheme, awarded to the farm by Natural England, supports the owners to preserve the land as ecologically as possible over 10 years, leaving whole areas of woodland free of sheep or cattle. The resulting landscape is rich in wildlife, birdlife and regenerated native plants and flowers; swathes of wild daffodils, bluebells, wild garlic, wood anemones and wood sorrel in each of the dingles.

The Area

On the border between England and Wales, Longtown is set within the ancient woodlands, winding streams and Black Mountains that frame the Olchon Valley in Herefordshire. With red kites and buzzards flying overhead, the area is graced with stunning scenery and on cloudless nights the view of the stars is spectacular.

It is a mere 400m walk from the house onto the Brecon Beacons. This area, comprising The Black Mountains with Offa’s Dyke footpath along the ridge, has long drawn international renown for mountaineers, and signifies the beginning of Wales with the famous Black Hill adjacent at the top of the Olchon.

The house is only a half-hour drive from Hay-on-Wye, home to the world-famous literary Hay Festival. A lively town famed for its many bookshops; it’s been known as ‘the Woodstock of the mind’. Richard Booth’s Bookshop and Cinema is a local institution. The Old Electric Shop is a well-curated emporium, stocking the work of local artisans alongside vintage clothes and books. Chapters is a celebrated local restaurant with serious foodie credentials. The beloved borders sheep’s milk ice cream maker, Shepherds, can also be found in Hay. Hay Castle is a centre for arts, literature and learning with a full range of events, exhibitions, and workshops throughout the year.

There are opportunities for canoeing on the river Wye, and the village of Cusop is nearby with a church and a village hall. There are five working mills in the area, driven by the Dulas Brook, which formed the western boundary with Wales. The brook and river, which are home to trout, otter and kingfishers, are close by and provide access to Offa’s Dyke Path, the trail to Hay Bluff and extensive hillwalking routes through the Black Mountains.

The Bulls Head, an old drovers’ pub and now also a fine restaurant with cabins and recently voted No.14 in the UKs top 50 best gastropubs, lies 12 minutes north of the house. The old market town of Abergavenny, with its castle, food festival, live music events, is around 25 minutes’ drive south. The Angel Hotel comes highly recommended for food, served seven days a week.

The lively city of Hereford is around 30 minutes to the north; home to the Mappa Mundi, Hereford Cathedral, Bishops Palace, and a good selection of places to eat. The Michelin-starred restaurant, The Wanut Tree, is around 20 minutes away and there are many pubs to choose from locally.

Hourly trains from Abergavenny connect to London Paddington in around two and a quarter hours. The dual carriageway from London, M4, A449, A40, connect all the way to Abergavenny, crossing the beautiful Prince of Wales bridge over The Severn.

The airports at Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham are all around 90 minutes’ drive away.

Council Tax Band: F

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.

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