Vive le sport!

From su­per shoots to Thor­ough­breds, these es­tates have it all

Country Life Every Week - - Property Market -

WITH the pheas­ant sea­son al­ready well un­der way, lo­cals liv­ing around Por­lock in Som­er­set on the north­ern edge of the Ex­moor Na­tional Park, are quite used to the chunter­ing of he­li­copters in the skies above the Lil­ly­combe es­tate, as the guns ar­rive for an­other ex­cit­ing day’s shoot­ing. Some may even have noted a sharp in­crease in the vol­ume of traf­fic in re­cent weeks, as prospec­tive pur­chasers fly in to view one of Ex­moor’s most fa­mous pri­vate shoots, which has come to the mar­ket through Knight Frank (01392 848823), at a guide price of £5.75 mil­lion (Fig 1).

Al­though by no means one of Bri­tain’s largest sport­ing venues, the deep wooded val­leys and se­cret combes of the se­cluded 861-acre es­tate, which strad­dles the coastal ridge of Ex­moor up to 1,400ft above sea level, present no fewer than 23 mem­o­rable par­tridge and pheas­ant drives, with the high birds of Pitt Combe guar­an­teed to test the nerve of even the most ex­pert shots.

The es­tate has passed—in un­bro­ken suc­ces­sion—through the fam­i­lies of the 18th-cen­tury Lord Chan­cel­lor Peter King and the first two Earls of Lovelace to the present own­ers, the Earl and Count­ess of Lyt­ton, who have pro­gres­sively de­vel­oped the shoot, es­tab­lished in 1988. Al­though run as a com­mer­cial en­ter­prise, par­tic­i­pa­tion is re­stricted to an ex­clu­sive pri­vate clien­tele, many of whom re­turn year af­ter year. The own­ers’ aim has been to pro­vide ‘the kind of day that guns would lay on for their best friends if they owned the es­tate’. Now, at least one priv­i­leged mem­ber of the fra­ter­nity has the chance to do just that.

The fo­cal point of the es­tate is Lil­ly­combe House, listed Grade II, which was built in 1912, with mid-20th-

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