Downing Road, Whitford, Holywell
Driving along Downing Road, pull off into the sweeping, grass verge-lined entrance to the estate, flanked by stone gate pillars and walls.
Travel along the tree-lined tarmac driveway, as sheep graze peacefully in the field to the right. Continue on, into the private courtyard exclusive to Garden Cottage and two neighbouring properties.
Ahead awaits Garden Cottage, every inch the inviting, cream painted, chocolate box Georgian cottage. Park up before heading to the front door, pausing to admire the roses planted beneath the dining room window.
OWNER QUOTE: "The cottage seemed to smile and welcome us."
Step inside onto the original red, quarry-tiled floor and feel the warm welcome of Garden Cottage extend forth. Built in 1766, Grade II listed Garden Cottage retains many elements of its heritage, beneath a new, upgraded roof.
This authentic flooring continues through into the downstairs cloakroom, fitted with WC and wash basin.
A broad doorway to the left delivers you into the kitchen, extended at the rear to create a large open-plan kitchen-diner; a modern take on Georgian hospitality.
Sublimely styled to capture the warmth of traditional country cooking, mellow, honey-toned beams line the crisp white ceiling above, complemented by wooden flooring underfoot and housing a large dining table.
Coating both walls is an array of white cabinetry, providing plentiful storage. Integrated appliances include a double fridge-freezer, electric oven and ceramic hob, and plumbing for washing machine and dish washer. Throw open the door from the kitchen to fill the room with the inimitable fresh air of the Welsh countryside.
Settle to dinner in the cosy and welcoming dining area, where windows frame views out over the garden to the woodland beyond, bathing the room in morning sun in the summertime.
A large, multifuel stove suffuses heat throughout the home, supplying central heating to all eleven radiators. An emersion heater is located in the bathroom for use in the summer months.
Returning across the kitchen and through the entrance hall, step into the embrace of the living toom.
Treacle-toned beams set a cosy and cheerful effect, aided by the comforting glow from the second log-burning stove, set within a Georgian slate fire surround adorned by Buckley tiles.
Snuggle up on the sofa admiring the views out to the grazing sheep in the parkland beyond. Carpeted and cosy, sense the welcoming ambience of Garden Cottage pervade this room.
Peek through to the playroom, also an ideal study for those working from home courtesy of its inbuilt shelving and work space.
At the end of a day exploring the grounds and lake at Downing Estate, take the stairs up to the first floor, where four dreamy bedrooms await.
Emerging on the landing, turn left and left once more to discover the master bedroom. Original flourishes include the picture rail, running the perimeter of the room, and adding a feel of heritage.
With ample room for a double bed and chest of drawers or dressing table, this is a light and welcoming room. Original, leaded lights look out over the countryside, whilst a trio of fitted wardrobes provide hanging and folding space for your clothes.
Next door to the master bedroom, is the family bathroom. Flooring underfoot in terracotta tones, and fully tiled in white to the surrounding walls, this refreshing space is fitted with a WC, washbasin and sports power shower over the bath.
Turning right from the top of the stairs, come to the fourth double bedroom, clad in charcoal toned carpet. Note the unusual hip beams to the corners of the room – another taste of history at Garden Cottage.
Pretty in pink, the third bedroom awaits next door, showcasing its interesting A-frame timber beams within the crisp white of the ceiling. As throughout the upstairs bedrooms, leaded lights add character and class.
Tucked away at the end of the landing, discover the light and bright second bedroom. Displaying intriguing beam structures, this crisp and contemporary-feel bedroom also benefits from an ornamental fireplace. An enviable guest bedroom indeed.
Above, the floored loft benefits from lighting, making for a useful storage area, while outside, further storage can be found in the double garage furnished with electricity, water and drainage.
Outside, explore the enchanting gardens and grounds surrounding the aptly named Garden Cottage.
From the kitchen, step out into the landscaped garden, where two gravelled terraces beckon you to rest and take in the views over the grassland and woodland. Perfect for relaxing or entertaining over a barbecue with friends.
Take the splayed, natural stone steps, with pockets planted with alpines, down to the lower terrace. Here, explore the terraced gardens, marked by dry stone walls. Bountiful crops of potatoes, broad beans and runner beans, have been harvested this year, with a prolific showing of sweet peas and dahlias.
A path along the side of the cottage also delivers you to the front, where there is a detached double garage with electric and cold water tap, and floored loft space above. Pause a moment to admire the display of roses beneath the dining room window.
Enticing views are ever present, toward the grass area and woodland. Why not follow the track, past the lean-to cabin containing machinery and wood store, out through the gate into the magical woodland beyond.
Wander along the established woodland tracks and pathways, before emerging alongside the lake. Stroll along the banks, pausing at its many pleasant shoreline areas to sit and relax. Pay a visit to the ancient wishing well and Georgian plunge pool, or take the children and some fishing nets to enjoy a splash about in the woodland streams, where there is a quaint little bridge to guide little feet across.
Springtime sees the trees burst into various shades of green, and the woodland erupt in wild daffodils chased up by a haze of bluebells. Throughout the summer the cottage garden continues to give pleasure. The historic front courtyard is decorated in pinks and red courtesy of the geraniums. Autumn sees the woodland put on a splendid show of colours.
Out and about
So serenely peaceful and wrapped in 26 acres of rurality, it’s easy to forget just how accessible Garden Cottage is.
Close to the A55 and its excellent transport links in the direction of nearby Chester (only 20 minutes’ drive away), the railway station at Flint is only eight miles and 15 minutes’ drive away along the coastal road. Chester railway station, not much further away, also provides links across the UK.
Within the community of Holywell are numerous amenities, shops and supermarkets within convenient distance of Garden Cottage. Grab the essentials at Coop filling station and shop. Stock up on your weekly food at Tesco or Lidl. Nearby Rhuddlan offers a Sainsburys, while Prestatyn’s shopping centre hosts an M&S alongside various clothes shops.
Indulge in serious retail therapy in the nearby ancient city of Chester, brimming with boutique stores, bars and restaurants alongside its large Greyhound retail shopping park.
Families are perfectly positioned, with a local village primary school Ysgol Y Llan in Whitford, high schools in the surrounding towns and a number of excellent independent schools including the co-educational Myddelton College in Denbigh, formerly Howell’s School, and the Rydal Penrhos School in Colwyn Bay.
For those looking for a change in lifestyle, keep the city within reach and surround yourself in beauty and nature, in the characterful Garden Cottage, a warm and welcoming happy home in the historic Downing Estate.
Book your viewing today.
Downing Estate: History and Heritage
Dating back centuries, and surrounded by 26 acres of extensive grounds featuring woodland, parkland, lake, stream and plunge pool, at the heart of the estate is the enigmatic Downing Hall, serenely set on the cusp of the North Wales countryside.
The birthplace and home of acclaimed antiquarian, explorer and natural historian Thomas Pennant, Downing Hall later suffered widespread fire damage in 1922. Its shell was eventually dynamited in 1953.
Remarkably, some of its ruined walls remain, standing testament to the grandeur that once stood. Beneath, labyrinth cellars reveal the wonders of by-gone architectural styles, including Georgian vaulted brick ceilings and later Victorian additions.
The ‘healing’ waters of Downing Estate: from mystical past to lucrative future
The essence of all life on earth…water. And it is in no scant supply at Downing Estate. With multiple water sources on site, the potential for domestic and commercial development of this element is exhilarating…
To the rear of the hall, discover the enchanting Downing Dell, at the centre of which stands Downing Well. So pure is the water, it once served the residents of Downing Hall.
Standing close by is a yew tree. Legend has it that in ancient times, the ritual was to pass a baby through the tree’s fork, resulting in a magical cure.
The rising water of the spring overflows, running into an ancient plunge pool before being channelled into a stream and on through a tunnel.
The grotto is believed to be crossed by a number of ley lines, reputed to give the feeling of being in a ‘special place’. Note the large piece of limestone boulder, featuring an inverted heart-shaped hole at its centre.
Following the course of the stream (The Sir Roger Nant) after it exits the tunnel, it runs into the small scenic lake which is approximately 125 meters x 20 meters. The lake can be approached by vehicles over a hard core track which passes over a bridge at the exit end of the lake. From the bridge the water enters a fish trap construction and out over a waterfall. There is potential to increase the size of the lake.
A serene and enchanting spot, backed by an elegant backdrop of woodland of giant redwoods and other mature trees to the east, picture family picnics in the summertime beneath the shade of the boughs.
Why not consider stocking the lake with brown trout and enjoy a spot of angling?
Drilled to a depth of 51 metres within carboniferous sandstone, a borehole provides access to fresh, clean water.
The borehole, housed in an insulated timber cabin within a security fenced compound, has been blessed by the Reverend Lionel Fanthorp as a Church of Wales Clergyman. This ecclesiastical link, combined with the ancient and historical ambience of the spring’s setting, inspire such marketable names as Holywell Water or Downing Water Holywell.
With a national drive for locally-sourced produce, there are a number of potential uses for this spring, such as bottled water (20,000 litres of water per day can be harvested from the borehole, which is capable of yielding in excess of 47.3 million litres per annum).
For hobbyists looking to convert their passion for wine or whiskey making into a business opportunity, the history and natural water sources available at the Downing Estate combine to create a viable prospect.
Aside from its drinking potential, in an eco-conscious age, make your move towards sustainable living by using the borehole to harvest ground source heat.
Parkland and Woodland
Surrounding the estate is 16.25 acres of well-drained, grazed grassland, with potential for so much more.
From lush grassland edging the side of lake, explore the walkways to the east, through to the woodland inhabited by a mixture of mature, aged trees.
Giant redwood tress intersperse with the flat-topped Lebanon cedar tree. There are even a number of two nut-producing walnut trees within the park which could be netted in order to harvest the produce.
The extensive grounds and clean, fresh air at the Downing Estate provide the exciting potential to supporting a sustainable lifestyle.