Occupying an idyllic position in the hamlet of Old Radnor, nestled in the Welsh countryside, Little Harp is a charming 17th-century cottage. Having undergone sensitive renovations as well as an extension, the house is now characterised by the simple, pared-back interiors contained within its stone walls. The village is in a wonderful position, near the Radnor Valley and surrounded by ancient woodland and rolling open fields. Despite its wonderfully rural location, it is within easy reach of the popular towns of Hay-on-Wye, Presteigne, Kington and other quaint villages.
Setting the Scene
Little Harp is a 17th-century stone cottage surrounded by private gardens. Its neighbours in the small village of Old Radnor are sheep fields, a Grade I-listed church and the famous Harp Inn, recently named the ‘Best Country Pub in the UK’ by The Good Pub Guide.
The beautiful Welsh Marches encompasses a wide range of landscapes: amazing river valleys, rugged but mineral-rich hills and ridges, and flat fertile plains. This diversity, and the relatively unspoilt nature of the countryside, have made it perennially popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Artists and writers have also long been drawn to the area for its rich history and enchanting scenery. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
The cottage is set back from a quiet no-through road at the end of a short private drive. The original doorway leads into the two adjoining reception rooms, both of which feel snug and welcoming, with deep inset fireplaces and log-burning stoves. Solid oak beams remain intact, and the original flagstone flooring runs underfoot. Stone walls have been washed in white, and the copper piping remains exposed.
A set of timber-framed glass doors at one side of the main living space allow light to flood through and create a pleasing visual connection to the surrounding garden. The dining area is naturally lit and opens onto a stone terrace dug into the garden, which, in the late afternoon, is drenched in a golden light.
The modern kitchen extension is the most recent addition to the house and has been beautifully designed. Custom-made worktops have been crafted from beech felled from the neighbouring woodland, and glazed doors open the entire space to the garden in warmer months. A utility room and ground-floor cloakroom are adjacent and have been recently retiled with added underfloor heating.
The upper floor is given over to three bedrooms; rich in rural charm, two sit in the oldest part of the house and are home to an abundance of original features including stable doors and inlets carved into curving stone walls. The third bedroom is part of the modern extension. All sleeping areas have been beautifully decorated in neutral tones, creating a wonderful sense of quiet and calm. A family bathroom and generous airing cupboard are also positioned on this level.
The Great Outdoors
Surrounding gardens, bordered by mature hedging, are primarily laid to lawn and have great scope for vegetable and flower beds. A stone outbuilding positioned on the upper level has the potential to be easily converted to further accommodation or a studio, relevant permissions permitting.
Views onto the surrounding valleys from the hamlet are breathtaking, with field-on-field of rolling countryside. The Harp Inn is within walking distance of the cottage, and the Michelin-starred restaurant, The Stagg, is also very close by car in nearby Titley.
Out and About
Presteigne, six miles from Old Radnor, is a charming town with an excellent fishmonger, greengrocer, butcher and delicatessen offering artisan bread on Saturdays. There is also a good selection of bookshops, a library, a leisure centre, a bank and a good selection of pubs. The River Lugg runs just below the medieval church of St Andrew in Presteigne, marking the border with England. There is also an independent cinema in Presteigne. Kington, which lies even closer to the house, is a lovely town and home to the annual Kington Walking Festival.
Hay-on-Wye lies 15 miles north of Harp Cottage, a lively town on the River Wye famed for its many bookshops and the revered literary event, the Hay Festival or, as it’s been coined, ‘the Woodstock of the mind’. Old Radnor is approximately 25 miles from Hereford’s train station, which offers services to London in approximately two and a half hours and services to Bristol in around one hour and 40 minutes.
Council Tax Band: currently used as a holiday home business
Please note that this property is owned by an employee of The Modern House Ltd.
Images by Ben Draguisky and Elliot Sheppard.
The Radnor Valley, also called the Walton Basin, is one of Britain’s most important areas in prehistoric heritage. Findings in the area suggest that it was once a major Neolithic tribal gathering centre that some think could even have eclipsed Stonehenge’s importance and size. Evidence of several vast monuments has been found in the area, most notably the Hindwell Enclosure. This palisaded ceremonial enclosure would have been approximately five times the size of London’s Olympic Stadium.
Also notable are the Four Stones (which, as the name suggests, are four purposefully placed standing stones around six feet in height), which still stand today and around which many myths have formed. They are four petrified local chiefs or marks for the graves of four great kings who died in battle. Another legend insists that after dark, when the bells of St Stephen’s Church in Old Radnor ring, the stones go to the nearby Hindwell Pool to take a drink.
- A Home with a History: an interiors maven’s Georgian house in Kent
- Singular Appeal: five one-bedroom homes for saleHomes
- A Private View: from beige to beautiful in south-west LondonHomes / Interiors
- Inspiration of the Week: a picture of the simple life, deep in the Welsh countryside
- Inigo Revisits: Charles and Romilly Saumarez Smith’s art-filled 18th-century townhouseHomes / Interiors