King of the hill

Walton Castle was bought 25 years ago for a pound. Now, after being rebuilt stone by stone, the amazing home has a £3 million price tag

If a child were to build a sandcastle at the seaside, it would look just like Walton Castle. Its squat, round turrets in a castellated wall with a keep in the centre are picture-book perfect. And, while the real castle is under no threat from an incoming tide, it does have spectacular views over the Bristol Channel.

If a child were to build a sandcastle at the seaside, it would look just like Walton Castle. Its squat, round turrets in a castellated wall with a keep in the centre are picture-book perfect. And, while the real castle is under no threat from an incoming tide, it does have spectacular views over the Bristol Channel.

It's not the only view. From its hilltop position in the Somerset countryside you can see over six counties. "It's extraordinary," says Margarita Hamilton, who fell under the castle's spell 20 years ago and bought it as a weekend place. "Light falls everywhere you look and for a castle of this period that is really unusual. Every room has the most fantastic view."

Now that Walton Castle is completely restored - barring a few final touches - the immaculate stonework and manicured lawned gardens give little clue to how close it had come to collapse. "It was virtually a ruin until five years before we bought it," says Hamilton. "It had been sold to the previous owners for one pound, so that gives you an idea of the state it was in. Some essential repairs had been done but in effect we started from scratch."

The site of Walton Castle, to the west of Bristol and above the seaside town of Clevedon, can be traced back to its use as a hill fort in the Iron Age. It is also referred to in the Domesday Book. But it was during the early 17th century that the present building took shape, only to fall victim to the vicissitudes of the Civil War. By 1791 the castle was derelict, the roof and floors had fallen in and part of the building was used as a dairy by a farmer. Nevertheless the structure remained and Pevsner described it in 1957 as "remarkable as a piece of ornamental planning".

That it has taken almost 200 years for its decline to be reversed was an indication of the scale of the task. "It was a labour of love," recalls Hamilton. "The greatest difficulty was hunting down the stone. Every bit had to come from the right quarry and then if that closed we would have to start all over again. The cobbles are mostly from a village in the north of England and took a year to lay. It was a mammoth undertaking." And one that she now feels has come to an end. She is selling in order to move to the south of France and the castle is for sale at a guide price of £3million.

The main octagonal folly sits in the middle of a large sheltered courtyard with a cobbled area at the entrance continuing in the form of a pathway around the entire courtyard below the high, octagonal, castellated stone walls with turrets. The castle is surrounded by gardens bordered by Clevedon golf club. "My ex-husband was very keen on walls and gardens, whereas I wanted to make it a comfortable home. Outside it's a lovely old castle; inside it has the feel of a modern Italian house."

When Hamilton moved into it permanently a few years ago, she made further changes. She kept her main home in the keep while putting each of the turrets to a specific purpose. There is a utility turret, a games turret, a dining turret, turrets with en-suite bedrooms and one with a large garage-cum-workshop.There is even one with the potential for use as a recording studio or conference centre.

"You can have 16 people staying here and not really notice them. They can come and go within the walls rather as they might have done in a medieval village. I can play the piano in peace while children can go to the games area to play pool and bang the drums to their hearts' content. The turrets have an intimate feel and they also have the advantage of being economical to run because they are independent of each other."

The interior of the central keep is arranged over four floors in a contemporary style. A master suite on the top floor has breathtaking views in all directions, an opulent bathroom and doors opening on to a roof terrace.

Below is a similar octaganol-shaped reception room with a huge dining kitchen on the first floor - the heart of the property, according to Margarita Hamilton. "Everything is low-level and it doesn't have a kitcheny feel. It is a wonderful room with a large granite table and huge windows looking out on the garden."

A most un-castle-like luxury is the underground swimming pool complex with L-shaped pool set among pillars and terracotta and marble slabs. At the far end it opens out on to a sheltered sun terrace beyond the walls of the castle.

This is a home in the country that makes a statement. Private inside the walls, but a landmark nonetheless. Hamilton used to run annual charity balls there when the castle was lit by searchlights visible from the motorway.

Despite being in countryside, Walton Castle is only two miles from the M5 and 12 miles from Bristol. John Denney from Hamptons International, the selling agents, says it is an increasingly sought-after location. "I can see it appealing to someone in the entertainment business. It is arguably eccentric but the kind of place the right person would use for their own enjoyment."

Hamptons International: 0117 923 9230

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Pool with a view: the mMarina Bay Sands in Singapore
travel From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
News
The will of Helen Beatrix Heelis, better known as Beatrix Potter, was among those to be archived
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
News
Nigel Farage: 'I don't know anybody in politics as poor as we are'
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect