Gallery: Scotland House - Country house in rolling set in Stoke by Nayland countryside

Scotland House, Stoke by Nayland

Scotland House, Stoke by Nayland - Credit: Archant

Is there any better place to be than in Suffolk on a Spring day?

Scotland House, Stoke by Nayland

Scotland House, Stoke by Nayland - Credit: Archant

I walked the gardens of Scotland House in Stoke by Nayland, with owners Dr Brian and Annabel Chilvers.

There was no sound apart from birds singing; the shrubs and trees were in bud and spring flowers were already showing.

Guinea fowl roosted in the magnolia.

Scotland House is a Grade II listed country house, set in rolling countryside, and with views from the front over a lake fed by local springs, and to the rear over an uspoilt valley and its own grounds.

It is idyllic.

Scotland Street is on the outskirts of the popular village of Stoke by Nayland, probably 20 minutes drive from Colchester and Ipswich.

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The Dedham Vale is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty and it is easy to see why.

Brian and Annabel Chilvers have been here “only” 21 years, and raised their family, and are now looking to move to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

They are both originally from Essex.

Annabel said: “This is a wonderful spot.

“We have absolutely loved living here. We love the garden and we have thoroughly enjoyed looking after it, but we realise we can’t do it for ever.

“We are looking for a smaller place, with less land.”

Scotland House is set in about 4.7 acres of gardens and grounds. The gardens are a riot of colour in the summer, and are ideal for entertaining.

There are also useful barns and outbuildings, including a self-contained flat, and several places for keeping animals.

“We kept sheep for many years. It was hard work, but we enjoyed it, including the lambing,” explained Brian.

He is also a keen carpenter and has a workshop. “I have made most of the gates myself over the years,” he said.

They were virtually self sufficient for vegetables, he said, and there was plenty of space for keeping animals, including sheep and horses if wanted.

“The most sheep we had was 45,” added Annabel. “We have had all sorts of waifs and strays from birds to a small deer.”

The house could come complete with a flock of resident guinea fowl.

“The numbers fluctuate,” explained Annabel, “There are ten at the moment. They produce lots of eggs through from April to September.

“They a small, like bantam eggs, “They are wonderful. You have to collect them from the garden, usually among the flower beds.

“I feed them twice a day and they stay here.”

The rambling house has many original features including honey-coloured exposed beams and brick fireplaces, and parts probably date from the 1400s. It is timber-framed under a tiled roof.

There is well proportioned family accommodation, with a central diing hall radiating into a spacious drawing room, with an open fire and a door opening to the south-facing terrace for entertaining.

The dining hall has an oak floor and a woodburner as does the adjacent sitting room.

Within the farmhouse-style kitchen/breakfast room is a two oven Aga and a good range of cupboards, a walk-in pantry and a feature window with intricate glazed bars gives westerly views along Scotland Street.

An easy rising staircase leads to the first floor landing which again has superb views to the front.

It gives access to five bedrooms, one of which is currently used as a study, two bathrooms and a dressing room.

Adjoining the house to the east are two large workshop/stores which could be incorporated into the house with the necessary planning permissions.

The studio flat is above the double garage and has views down the valley over the Tendring Hall Estate.

There is also an extensive parking area, stable block and other outbuildings.

The gardens and grounds are a special feature of this property with the wide paved terrace leading to lawns which are interspersed with specimen trees and shrubs, with yew and beech hedges.

There is a grass tennis court, the vegetable garden, of course and three post and railed paddocks.