Property: The sprawling Welsh mansion with a bargain price tag

WITH his thick, fluffy coat and moist little eyes, Rolo doesn't look like your typical estate agent. Nor would most agents welcome you by rolling on their back, legs akimbo, in the grand front entrance of the home. Then again Rolo is a dog: a 14-year-old Pomeranian.

But he deserves his prominent mention here because it was he who found Arthog Hall -- an impressive castellated, 6,500sq ft, six-bedroom mansion near the village of Arthog in Gwynedd, Wales -- and led his owners up the long and winding private road for their first, unofficial, viewing. 'We had a holiday bungalow down the hill,' explains Nigel Gill, who has lived at the hall with his wife Jackie since they bought it in 2013 and carried out a year-long refurbishment.

Sweeping: The property has a grand view over the Mawddach estuary.

Below: Nigel and Jackie with Rolo

'Rolo has always enjoyed taking himself off for morning walks. He meets the neighbours and does quite an extensive patrol. He liked the bungalow, but it was he who led us up to the hall.

We then Googled it, found it was for sale, and bought it.' It sounds simple. In fact, the sale was far from straightforward as the property was caught in a messy divorce wrangle with the previous owners.

But Jackie, who fell in love with the hall at first viewing, was undeterred. 'It was my dream property,' she says. 'A castle on a hill. I just loved everything about it and we have been very happy here.

But, you know, there's room to do so much more.' She's not kidding. The Grade II-listed country house, which dates to 1833 and is built of traditional stone, nestles against the hillside and backs on to ancient woodland. Property: The sprawling Welsh mansion with a bargain price tag

It looks imposing set amid the rolling Welsh landscape and it comes as something of a surprise to discover the price tag. OK, at GBP899,950, this isn't going to be a first-time buyer purchase, but there will be plenty of people in London who paid much the same for a 1,000sq ft flat with small balcony. Arthog Hall has superb, far-reaching views from almost every window, stretching over the Mawddach estuary and rolling countryside.

Inside, beyond the landscaped front garden, this is a property that keeps on giving.

Property: The sprawling Welsh mansion with a bargain price tagFun and games: The large, oakfloored kitchen with impressive Aga.

Below: Billiards table in the lounge. Bottom: Period furniture in the dining room

The main house is a sprawling country pile with expansive rooms, oak parquet flooring and a grand oak staircase. Attached to the side of the house, there's a self-contained flat (in need of repair), which would once have belonged to the head gardener.

There's also a mews cottage, currently used as a holiday let, with its own separate driveway; and a former coach house, all set in 4.5acres of lush and leafy grounds. Further outbuildings once housed the stables, house the pellet boiler and agricultural equipment. There's a quirky conservatory in the middle of the house -- a cavernous basement currently used for storing wine -- and two other unrenovated small houses in the grounds.

The home has its own water supply provided by a reservoir in the grounds at the back of the house. Arthog Hall, with its ancient stone eagles perched loftily on the gated entrance and carved teak lions guarding the foot of the stairway, is a very beautiful home. But it could easily become a successful business, with potential as a wedding venue, a guesthouse or substantial holiday lets.

Property: The sprawling Welsh mansion with a bargain price tag It wouldn't be the first time. The house reverted to a private residence, having been a hotel, after World War II, and its many additions make it feel labyrinthine.

There's a second staircase at one end of the property (presumably once for servants) and the house surprises and delights at every turn. The kitchen (inhabited on our visit by seven small friends and relations of Rolo), with its large black Aga, is enormous; the dining room sumptuous. The main living room, with a wood-burning stove, is a snug haven.

French doors lead out to a private, walled patio. Historical features such as wood-panelled doorways and shuttered windows have been retained, together with exquisite stained-glass panels in the arched windows. Property: The sprawling Welsh mansion with a bargain price tag

I particularly loved the little curved window seat in the enormous en-suite bathroom of the master bedroom (which has its own walk-in dressing room.) To give an idea of its size, it took 42 rolls of wallpaper to cover the expansive corridors and the landing. This is not a house for the faint-hearted. 'You do need to love this place,' admits Jackie. 'And it deserves to be loved. We have felt like custodians of a special piece of history rather than owners, and it will be a wrench to leave.'

Nigel and Jackie are selling up to be closer to their son in the Midlands. But they admit they will leave a little part of their hearts behind. 'When I greeted visitors here I always said, "Welcome to paradise,"' Jackie says. 'There is a wonderful, welcoming community in which we have become very involved, and the house is just so special. It has been my dream home.'

What you get for your money

Property: The sprawling Welsh mansion with a bargain price tag

? Grade II-listed country house built of traditional stone, dating back to 1833, offering 6,500sq ft of living space, reached via a long and impressive driveway. ?

On the ground floor: Three reception rooms, plus striking internal glass-topped atrium, games room, utility room and kitchen. Grand entrance hall as well as a rear hallway and downstairs WC. ?

On the first floor: A galleried landing leads to six generously sized bedrooms. The master bedroom has a huge dressing room and large en-suite bathroom. There are two further bathrooms, one shower room and a WC, as well as a sauna.

? An expansive cellar, currently used for wine storage. ?

As well as Arthog Hall itself, the price tag includes the numerous outbuildings, which include a self-contained flat, a former coach house and a mews cottage with its own separate driveway, currently used as a holiday let. ? Extensive grounds, running to a total of 4.5acres.

Arthog Hall, GBP899,950, fineandcountry.com

You may also like...