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12 bedroom country house

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Country house
12 bedroom
0 bathroom

Property description

A fully renovated and restored country house with 12 bedrooms and 6 reception rooms (including 3 self-contained suites)
Extensive formal gardens and grounds
Parkland featuring 2 ornamental lakes and a former mill pond
Trout and course fishing, deer stalking, low ground shooting and wild duck flighting
About 250 acres in total

Extending to about 250 acres in total, Knockdow is a residential and amenity estate with a spectacular setting overlooking the sea loch of Loch Striven and with panoramic views to the Islands of Bute, Great and Little Cumbrae and the mountains of Arran. The components of the estate are as follows:

Knockdow House

Knockdow House is a substantial and very attractive stone-built country house with a glorious southerly outlook across its own parkland. Built of stone under a slate roof, the accommodation is laid out over three storeys. The house is approached from the public road by two private drives each with a traditional gate lodge. The east drive winds through the policies past the pair of ornamental lakes and through parkland before reaching the eastern façade of the house where there is a port cochere at the front door. The west drive leads to the rear of the house and to the former stables and courtyard.

Knockdow House has been the subject of an ambitious and extensive restoration and refurbishment project during the vendors' ownership. The project was undertaken with the aim of creating a family home to the highest of 21st century living standards whilst ensuring that the unique heritage of the house was retained including most of its original features.

The house has been revolutionised by the replacement and renewal of the electrical, heating and plumbing systems, the insertion of extensive
insulation and damp proofing, replacement, repair and treatment of internal timbers, renewal of sash and case windows, the addition of a number of en-suite bathrooms and extensive redecoration. A particular achievement of the renovation and refurbishment works is the creation, in addition to the master bedroom suite, of four self-contained suites within the house. These suites are designed
such that they can be occupied as independent accommodation (either for guests of the owners or
independent tenants) or as an integral part of living accommodation.

From an architectural perspective, exterior features of the building include gabled dormers and pedimented windows, a segmental pediment over the central bay of the principal (eastern) façade, a circular crenelated tower and bay window on the western façade.

The house is entered by double wooden entrance doors beneath the port cochere which leads into the entrance hall which features ornate ceiling mouldings. The entrance hall leads through to the great hall with its domed and galleried cupola which is the focal point of the house. There are further reception rooms off the great hall, including two sitting rooms referred to respectively by the owners' as the 'media room' and 'tea room'. Between these rooms is a door which leads out to an expansive terrace and lawn on the south side
of the house. Also off the great hall is the drawing room and dining room, these both feature decorative cornicing and carvings with the recurring themes of flora and fauna.

These reception rooms have large open fire places and bay windows. Also within the ground floor is the kitchen/breakfast room and pantry plus additional service rooms (including walk-in strong room and wine cellar with original bins), the gunroom, playroom, a shower room and two WC's.

The first of the suites (the 'School House') is on the ground floor, consisting of a bedroom (the original school room with frieze depicting the Monarchs of Scotland still in situ), a large wet room/bathroom and kitchenette.

The first floor is accessed by the main stairwell which is lined with timber panelling from Tobago.
There are three suites on the first floor. The 'Cumbrae Suite', named after the two islands in the lower Firth of Clyde within view of Knockdow, and the 'Tower Suite' each have two bedrooms and sitting room with kitchenette. The 'Bute Suite' has one double bedroom and sitting room with kitchenette.

In addition to the three suites, there are four double en-suite bedrooms on this floor including the master bedroom with sitting room/infant's bedroom, walk in dressing room and an en-suite bathroom. The views from each of the four bedrooms on the southern elevation are superb.

The second floor is the original attic which has been renovated to provide two further en-suite bedrooms. A particular feature of these two rooms is the bath in the window bay of each providing the opportunity for a relaxing soak with a stunning view.

The renovation and refurbishment of Knockdow House has seen the installation of a state of the art biomass heating system, a new water filtration system, and comprehensive renewal of the electrical, plumbing and heating systems. The biomass boiler is fuelled by logs which are stored next to the boiler for ease of re-fuelling. The UV water filtration system is located next to the log store. The boiler is piped through to a tank room in the basement of the house. There are 5 water cylinders which each service a different zone of the house. There are two zones for the suites and three zones for the rest of the principal areas of the house. Each water cylinder has a surge pump which ensures that there is instant hot water on demand throughout the house.

In terms of its occupation and use, the house serves as the current owners' home. Since the renovation and in order to enable the use and enjoyment of the house by those beyond their family and friends, the owners have made the house available to let for specific functions (notably weddings) and have also offered accommodation for let independently in the
self-contained suites. This has been operated on a relatively small scale to suit the owners with the income generated being below the current VAT threshold. The innovation has been a successful
one however with the level of demand suggesting that there is an opportunity for a future owner to
run a more commercial business from Knockdow if they choose to, subject to the appropriate consent for Change of Use.

Scotland's National Tourist Organisation, VisitScotland, has awarded Knockdow House 5 star
accreditation in terms of its quality assurance scheme.

Knockdow Estate occupies an extremely attractive setting which is easily accessible. Located on the western side of the Cowal Peninsula overlooking Loch Striven, the southerly and westerly views from the estate are magnificent and include the Islands of Bute and Cumbrae together with the
distinctive peak of Goat Fell and the mountains of Arran.

Access to the estate is via a minor public road which leads for about 11 miles from Dunoon through the villages of Innellan and Toward. The village of Innellan has a Post Office, convenience store and two pub/restaurants. A wider range of services is provided in Dunoon, with a good selection of shops, professional services, a hospital
with A&E and secondary school with sports and community leisure facilities. Dunoon provides two ferry links across the Clyde estuary to Gourock. The journey time by ferry is circa 20 minutes and ferries leave at 20 minute intervals during the day.

The closest airport with scheduled domestic and international flights is at Glasgow International Airport (36 miles) which can be reached in around an hour under normal traffic conditions. Gourock also has a railway station with frequent services
to Paisley (for Glasgow airport) and Glasgow city centre.

With its many islands, peninsulas and sea lochs, Argyll has thousands of miles of coastline and, as such, the sea is a feature of the working life and leisure time of its inhabitants. The quality of sailing off the Argyll coast and Inner Hebrides is of world renown. Within close range of Knockdow, there are marinas at Dunoon, Rothesay, Port Bannatyne
and Inverkip.

In terms of land based activities, there are golf courses at Innellan (9 holes) and Dunoon (18 holes). Further afield there are internationally renowned golf courses at Loch Lomond, Royal Troon, Trump Turnberry and Prestwick. For field sports enthusiasts, and in addition to the sport available at Knockdow itself, there is first class
driven pheasant and partridge shooting and red and roe deer stalking available to rent on the
Cowal peninsula.

With many islands to explore, mountains to climb, lochs to fish, pubs and restaurants to dine at throughout Argyll, there is a fantastically diverse range of activities within a drive of an hour or so of Knockdow.

Historical Note

The Knockdow Estate was in the ownership of Clan Lamont, one of the oldest of the Scottish Clans
for around 600 years. In the 13th Century, the Lamonts appear to have owned most of the Cowal Peninsula.

The original mansion of Knockdow took its gaelic name from a 'Black Knoll' on the estate, which stood 4 miles north of where the house stands now. The present house was built in circa 1760 and was further altered and enlarged in 1920 by
Sir Norman Lamont, then Laird of Knockdow Estate.

The Lamont Family owned significant estates in Trinidad and Tobago and Knockdow House is decorated with mahogany, sandalwood and other
exotic woods from the Caribbean. The centrepiece of the house is a domed cupola over the Great Hall which is galleried at first floor level and supported by Ionic columns. Unique amongst Scottish country houses, the acoustic quality of the room as
a result of the cupola makes it ideal for musical recitals and concertos.

The Great Hall is also a majestic and intimate setting for wedding ceremonies since the owners' began offering the house for rent for bespoke
events.

Throughout the house, the quality and attention to detail of the decoration – both in terms of original detailing and the quality of its restoration and
enhancement is truly magnificent.

The estate was purchased by the current owners in 2010. Since then, Knockdow House has benefitted from a fully comprehensive yet sympathetic restoration and refurbishment which
has transformed the house from being virtually uninhabitable to what is undoubtedly one of the standout residential properties on the Scottish
western seaboard.

Gardens and Grounds

Knockdow House is surrounded by several acres of beautifully kept lawns, parkland and wooded policies, beds of herbaceous shrubs and a variety of mature ornamental deciduous and coniferous trees. Due to the Gulf Stream climate, specialist trees such as eucalyptus, bamboo and palm trees thrive at Knockdow.

On the south side of the house is an enclosed paved terrace and lawn with a gate leading to the south lawn which can serve as a croquet lawn, cricket pitch and playing field for a variety of games and sports. It is also ideally suited for the pitching of a marquee in connection with functions and events.

Also situated close to the house on the north side is a children's play area with climbing frame, and a barbecue area with wooden picnic tables. Located on the east of the east side the drive on approach to the house are two very attractive ornament
lakes which are a haven for water loving wildlife, birds, aquatic shrubs and plants. In addition,
they are stocked with trout and carp providing game and coarse fishing.

Located near the west lodge is the former walled garden, which is about an acre in size. With its mid-point forming the eastern boundary of the estate, the Ardyne Burn cuts an attractive path to the east of the house and grounds and there is an attractive woodland walk which follows its route past further specimen trees, wild flowers and rhododendrons.

A short distance to the north of the house and buildings, close to the vehicular track is a former mill pond. With a very peaceful setting, and a stock of wild brown trout from Sutherland, this is particularly pretty feature of the estate.

Stables and Outbuildings

To the north of the house is a traditional range of stone and slate former stables and outbuildings
arranged around a courtyard

Whilst providing useful and extensive storage and utility as outbuildings, this range has not been subject to investment during the vendor's ownership and therefore provides the opportunity for development as further accommodation on the estate.

The outbuildings include:

The original stables with former groom's bothy above.

Garage with inspection pit, workshop and garden store.

Cart shed and stores.

Former Gardener's Cottage (1 bedroom) and former Chauffeur's Cottage (2 bedrooms) – both in
derelict and uninhabitable condition.

To the north of the stable yard is an open sided pole barn for general storage and there is an additional area of hard standing which has been prepared for the purposes of erecting a further general purpose shed.

In addition to the redundant cottages within the stable block, there are two traditional lodge cottages at Knockdow – one beside the entrance
to each drive. Both are redundant and currently uninhabitable.

Land and Woods

The land ranges in altitude from 36 metres above sea level to 179 metres above sea level and has a south westerly aspect and relief. From an agricultural perspective, the best quality land on the estate lies in the policy fields surrounding the
house. This land is let on an annual basis between April and October on a Seasonal Grazing Agreement to a local farmer for a nominal annual rent.

The land suitable for grazing is classified as grade 3ii by the James Hutton Institute. The vendor does
not own the Entitlements to the Basic Payment Scheme in respect of this land.

The forestry and woodland at Knockdow comprises both amenity woodland of mainly hard wood
species and several coniferous plantations of a non-commercial scale which are approaching
maturity. The woods on the estate provide a reliable and extensive source of logs for use in both the biomass heating system and the
fireplaces within the house.

Sporting and Amenity

The combination of woods and topography at Knockdow provide the basis for an informal and enjoyable shoot for mixed game including pheasants, partridges, woodcock and snipe.

The lakes and mill pond within the policies of Knockdow House provide fishing for trout and carp. In addition, there is a duck flight pond up the
hill towards the northern end of the estate which can be fed to attract wild duck and has provided some exceptional sport in recent years.

The forestry and woodland – both on the estate itself and in the vicinity provides the opportunity for roe deer stalking. In addition to this, there is population of red deer on the Cowal peninsula. With Knockdow being accessible to them, the occasional red stag or hind has been accounted for during a dawn or dusk stalking expedition.

Planning and Development

Since purchasing Knockdow Estate, the owners have applied for and received consent for the modifications they have effected to Knockdow House and for change of use of the house for the provision of self-catered accommodation supplementary to the house's continuing use as a private home. Prior to 2010, the previous owner of the estate obtained a range of planning permissions which were not activated and subsequently lapsed.

These included: Detailed consent to convert Knockdow House as a hotel with associated self-catering and leisure facilities. Outline consent for a new courtyard extension to provide self-catering units. Detailed consent to alter and extend the East and West Lodges.

Whilst not approved, the former owner also prepared and submitted an application for the development of an 18-hole golf course with associated facilities.

Whilst all of these consents have now lapsed, they have the potential to be reinstated which provides
the purchaser with a number of options for the future use of the estate and opportunities to create additional value.

Further detail regarding the lapsed consents is available on request from the selling agents. Interested parties are also advised to seek independent and objective advice in this regard.

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