This charming Grade II-listed, four-bedroom terraced house is set in Combe Down, on the outskirts of Bath. The house’s fascinating blend of styles combines early Victorian architecture with Tudor Revival-style decoration and a Georgian arrangement. Completed in 1853, the limestone ashlar-faced row is adorned with dropped drip moulds and bull-nose sills, while Bath stone fireplaces and original sash windows characterise the interior spaces. Perched on the edge of the Cotswolds AONB, the house is only a 10-minute drive from the centre of Bath, and trains run directly from Bath Spa station to London Paddington in under an hour and a half.
Setting the Scene
Perched atop a ridge overlooking the picturesque city of Bath lies Combe Down, with its breathtaking panoramic views of the enchanting Cotswold hills that stretch far into the distance. It has rich historical significance and is renowned for its plentiful oolithic Bath limestone quarries. As a result, the landscape is dotted with elegant 18th and 19th-century villas constructed from the iconic Bath stone, a testament to the region’s architectural heritage and charm. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
A gate set into beautifully crafted spearhead cast-iron railings gracefully swings open, revealing a set of small steps leading to the house’s entrance. The front door has a deep reveal and is topped with an elegant mock Tudor limestone drip mould. This opens to a practical and welcoming lobby thoughtfully designed to accommodate shoes, coats, and umbrellas. Beyond, a bright and inviting hallway unfolds, where the walls and original floorboards have been softly whitewashed to create a serene atmosphere. This hallway serves as the central axis, where a stripped timber staircase acts as a spine connecting the three levels of the house.
On this level, towards the front of the house, is the sitting room. Natural light fills the room, streaming through an original twelve-pane sash window fitted with timber shutters, a lovely nod to 19th-century elegance. The room is arranged around a Victorian cast-iron fireplace, which has a white-painted stone surround, a timber mantel, and striking deep-red ceramic tiles.
Towards the rear of this level, there are two bedrooms, both with original sash windows that overlook the mature garden below. Additionally, there’s a convenient shower room and a well-placed WC with exposed Bath stone.
Following the stairs to the lower level, there is another inviting hallway around which the living spaces gracefully unfold. To the front of the plan is a second reception room, where a striking yellow and cream-striped carpet adds a touch of vibrancy. Above, dark-painted original oak beams infuse the room with character. At the heart of this room stands a magnificent Bath stone fireplace, hearth, and mantel, meticulously weathered over time. This stone, sourced from the mines in Combe Down, pays homage to the house’s heritage, believed to be designed by the esteemed master mason, Philip Nowell. The room is defined by a warm and inviting atmosphere, ideal for cosying up in front of the fire with a good book.
Across the hallway from the reception room is a study with a flagstone floor and an internal sash window that opens to the bright hallway. Just across the hallway from the reception room is a cosy study with a beautiful flagstone floor. The study has an internal sash window that opens to the bright hallway, creating a sense of connectivity flow.
At the rear of the plan is a spacious and well-appointed kitchen and dining room, where another Bath stone fireplace is elegantly embedded in a row of dark-painted cabinetry lining the walls. The kitchen has a six-ring gas Rangemaster and a sink beneath a large 12-pane sash window, which frames views of a lush fig tree. There is plenty of space for a large dining table and chairs in the middle of the room, and, with its seamless connection to the conservatory and garden beyond, it is the perfect setting for preparing and hosting summer parties.
Extending from the rear of the house, the conservatory serves as a versatile space currently used as a studio by the current owner. Sunlight bathes the room, highlighting the honey-toned hues of the original boundary garden wall. Glazed doors open up, establishing a wonderful connection with the plant-filled surroundings.
On the top floor of the house, two additional double bedrooms are defined by their wonderful views of the garden through their elegant sash windows. Accompanying these bedrooms, there is a well-appointed bathroom.
Towards the end of the garden, discreetly tucked away behind roses, clematis and honeysuckle, lies a wonderfully private detached annexe. Accessible from the lane at the back of the house, it has a kitchenette, a comfortable living area, a bedroom, and a bathroom. This additional space provides flexibility and privacy, making it an ideal spot for guests or a home office.
The Great Outdoors
A beautiful terrace leads directly from the conservatory, surrounded by a delightful border of various plantings and flowers, including maple and apple trees. Among these, an impressive fig tree gracefully climbs the rear façade of the house and becomes laden with a bounty of fruit each year.
Beyond the terrace, a lush and well-tended lawn unfolds, planted with cherry and bay trees, and flanked by garden beds with ferns, poppies, peonies and red acer. A herb bed is filled with rosemary, mint, oregano and thyme, handy for cooking.
Out and About
Situated in a hollow in the hills, the surrounding Somerset countryside serves as an incredible backdrop for the historic city of Bath, which was recently listed in Time Magazine’s “The World’s Greatest Places of 2021”. It is a city that represents the best of urban and rural life, with all of its incredible modern amenities and rich cultural heritage, as well as being minutes from bucolic walks along the canal, the River Avon, and the spectacular views from Bathwick Meadows.
The area of Coombe Down is adjoined to the north by large areas of natural woodland, crossed with numerous public footpaths offering views overlooking the city. From here, you can follow the National Trust Skyline Walk, a three-mile circular walk that connects with Bath city centre and offers exceptional views over miles of local meadows and ancient woodlands. The Combe Down Tunnel was opened in 1874 and was once the UK’s longest railway tunnel (at 1,829 yards); it now forms part of the Two Tunnels Greenway walking and cycling path. At over a mile long, it is the longest cycling tunnel in Britain.
Cultural attractions are plentiful as Bath is the only city in the UK to achieve UNESCO World Heritage status, which continues to be vehemently protected. The Roman Baths, which gave the city its name, and the Grade I-listed Bath Abbey are essential stops, while brilliant theatres and galleries such as the Holburne Museum, the Francis Gallery, and The Edge arts centre all host must-see world-class exhibitions, as well as two brilliant art-house cinemas and The Royal Theatre.
Well-served by outstanding retailers and restaurants, the city is home to a plethora of independent shops and cafés and is reachable in less than 10 minutes by car or 15-minute direct bus service from the house. Local favourites include Bath Old Books, 8 Holland Street and GROG. Popular spots Colonna and Small’s, Beckford Bottle Shop, Café Lucca, Corkage, Landrace Bakery and the Olive Tree restaurant, Bath’s Michelin-starred establishment.
The green spaces of the Royal Crescent and Circus are perfect for enjoying an afternoon picnic, while nearby Royal Victoria Park, home to the revered Botanical Gardens, provides a further fantastic green expanse to enjoy. The magnificent Grade II*-listed Cleveland Pools – designed in 1815 by the same architect responsible for Daniel Street and believed to be England’s oldest public outdoor swimming pool – has recently been restored and is a 10-minute drive from the house. For more adventures in nature, the Cotswold Way lies directly to the north of Bath, and numerous walks and hikes are available in the surrounding Somerset countryside.
The area is renowned for its independent and state schooling quality, including St Stephens’ Primary School, King Edward’s and Prior Park College, Royal High, Royal High Junior School, Kingswood School, and Kingswood Preparatory School.
Transport links are excellent, with Bath Spa train station only a 10-minute drive or 15-minute bus ride away, providing direct service to London Paddington in under an hour and a half. The M4 motorway lies north of the city and is reachable by car within 40 minutes from the house, while Bristol Airport is less than 20 miles away, or about a 40-minute drive.
Council Tax Band: D
Bath was founded in the 1st century AD by the Romans, who famously used the natural hot springs as a thermal spa, and its waterways made it an important centre for the wool industry in the Middle Ages. In the 18th century, under George III, it developed into an elegant city with neoclassical Palladian buildings characterized by symmetrical Bath stone facades, best showcased by the Royal Crescent and Circus.
The village of Coombe Down lies just south of Bath, having been incorporated into the city in the 1950s. Its name is believed to derive from the Old English “coombe”, meaning a steep-sided valley, and “dūne”, meaning ‘off the hill’. A Roman villa discovered nearby in the 1850s is thought to date from around 212–222 AD and bears an ancient Latin inscription.
The area became known for its abundance of Bath stone quarries which operated throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, many of which were owned and developed by entrepreneur Ralph Allen. These beds of oolitic Bath limestone were intensively mined and used for building stone to expand Bath’s growth as a spa city. In recent years, over 40 quarries have been identified and infilled in order to stabilize the mines; all except one are now redundant.
Sitting high on a ridge above the historic city of Bath, Combe Down takes in far-reaching views of the surrounding Cotswold hills. Historically, the area was known for its abundance of oolitic Bath limestone quarries, and as such, it is populated with 18th and 19th-century Bath stone-built villas.
This house belongs to a Grade II-listed row of five unique houses constructed around 1853 in the Tudorbethan style but unusually following the layout of the later Georgian terrace. The houses are thought to be the design of master mason Philip Nowell, as the square label mouldings are reminiscent of those at Rock Hall, Nowell’s nearby house.
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