Becky Sheaves visits a property designed with horses in mind.
If you'd like a home that is perfect for both horses and humans, then California Farm in the South Hams could well be just what you are looking for.
It's a 14 acre equestrian holding in beautiful countryside near the village of Loddiswell and comes with 14 stables, outbuildings and both an indoor and outdoor school.
Just four miles from the A38, California Farm is well connected and very convenient for getting about to equestrian events.At the moment it is home to John and Margaret, who keep their four horses here. They have another four horses here at livery, producing an income stream.
Margaret and John, now in their 70s, are looking for a smaller house, as Margaret explains. "We're not getting any younger, so we'd like a place more suited to our needs, with fewer stairs," she says. "We've got our eye on a bungalow nearby."
This sensible decision to downsize represents an exciting opportunity for horse-loving house hunters. Equestrian properties of this quality rarely come on the market, particularly in such a sought-after area.
Margaret and her daughter Hazel breed and show Arab horses. They own three stunning Arab mares, whose stable names are Elkie, Kira and Zarah. Zarah, who is six, is the youngest and is a prize-winning specimen at national level, as Margaret explains: "As a two-year-old she was placed second at the Arab Horse Society's National Show in Malvern. She is already in the ribbons again this year."
The fourth horse is Margaret's retired quarter horse Chiquita. "Then among our livery horses, one hunts twice a week in the hunting season and the others enjoy dressage and hacking," she explains.
As well as the indoor school and stable block, the property also has several outbuildings including a machinery store, a tack room and a hay barn. The land is divided with post and rail fencing into ten separate paddocks, perfect for keeping horses, explains Margaret.
"We are retired farmers and we have always taken pains to make sure the land is in good condition and well cared for, so we rotate the horses around and make sure the grazing is rested," she says.
The pretty stone house itself is very charming and characterful. It has a lovely and large kitchen, a spacious sitting room and a separate dining room. Upstairs are four good-sized bedrooms, two of which are en suite, and a family bathroom.
"This is a really nice place to live. The hamlet of California Cross has a shop and a wonderful gastro-pub, the California Inn," says Margaret.
"In fact we believe that the farm and the pub were originally all one property, back in the days when the California Inn was a coaching inn for travellers."
The house also has a separate one-bedroomed annexe, ideal for guests or relatives. This annexe could accommodate a live-in groom, which might be a necessity if the new owner decides to put horses in all 14 of the stables here at California Farm.
California Farm, near Loddiswell, South Devon, £900,000
Property: A 14 acre equestrian property with indoor and outdoor school, 14 stables and useful outbuildings.
Location: Four miles from the A38 in the hamlet of California Cross in the South Hams.
Agents: Stags, Kingsbridge, 01548 853131, www.stags.co.uk