Stay the night: Anderton House, North Devon

Amid traditional thatched West Country cottages, Sophie Lam discovers an elegant Modernist homage to space and light

Armed with printed directions, a road atlas and satnav, I should have made easy work of finding Anderton House. But the satnav sent me to the end of a drive on a private estate; the road map wasn't quite detailed enough and the Landmark Trust – which owns Anderton House – assumed I was good with directions. Happily, a well-versed and willing neighbour led me back out of her courtyard and pointed down a steep drive in the opposite direction. Even from here, the house was elusive – where it should have been, I saw only the hazy splodges of sheep on the other side of the valley.

When Anderton House was given Grade II heritage status in 1998, it was one of only seven such buildings from the 1970s (among them London's Trellick Tower and the Royal National Theatre). But this resolutely Seventies pad is some 200 miles west of London on a hillside in the traditional North Devon hamlet of Goodleigh, a parish of thatched roofs, terraced cottages, a village pub and only about 500 residents.

Its architects, Peter Aldington and John Craig, looked to Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier for inspiration. In Anderton House – named after the family that commissioned it – they blended vernacular traditions with the Modernist austerity of the time. So, from the top of the drive you don't see the barn-like structure, just like the region's farm buildings that are cut in lower down the hillsides. Unlike agricultural architecture, though, the house is a study in the pioneering and radical Modernism of the 1970s, a concept currently being celebrated in the V&A's exhibition British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age.

The rooms

The Anderton family wanted its home to make the most of views across the valley, while Peter Aldington's brief was "(to listen) to the past to make a building of the present that would serve for the future". Both parties triumphed. The tent-like structure is topped with glass panels so the roof seems to float above the walls, giving a sense of space and airiness. The materials are self-consciously unaltered (unplastered white breezeblocks, no wallpaper or paint) but similarly inoffensive. There's an open-plan, multi-level design – the sitting room rises into the kitchen, which funnels into a hallway where three bedrooms peel off on one side and a circular section is split between a bathroom and separate loo on the other. Huge windows that frame the valley views form the walls of the sitting room, while varnished pine, redwood and quarry tiles add warmth.

Acquired by the Landmark Trust as its first modern property in 2003, Anderton House's history is preserved right down to the small details. The citrus-striped curtains, bold patterned wall hangings and lighting are all original and Eames loungers, artworks (including a Bridget Riley print) and period crockery add to the retro ambience. It felt like the film of A Clockwork Orange (a copy of which was in one of the bedrooms along with Tarka the Otter). There's no TV, radio or sound system; the beds were Seventies solid, the blankets Seventies scratchy, but there were modern concessions such as a dishwasher, washing machine, microwave and oven.

Out and about

An undulating trail among hedgerows, fields and woodland starts just beyond the entrance. Barnstaple is a 10-minute drive west, the sand and crashing surf of Croyde Bay (croydedevon.co.uk), Saunton Sands and Woolacombe Bay (woolacombetourism .co.uk) are around 15 minutes' drive further west. The pretty cove town of Combe Martin (visitcombemartin .com) is the same distance north and the fringes of Exmoor (exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk) are the same distance east. The Tarka Trail (devon .gov.uk/tarkatrail) passes nearby.

The food and drink

The New Inn (01271 342488) serves as Goodleigh's meeting point, a cosy, convivial pub serving good food and local ales. In Barnstaple, Fat Belly Fred's (01271 345700) is a popular new fish restaurant with imaginative tapas (whelk fritters, salt and pepper squid) and creative mains (sea bass with fondant potatoes and red pepper reduction). A three-course meal for two costs around £60 with wine.

The Essentials

Anderton House, Goodleigh, Barnstaple, North Devon EX32 7NR (01628 825925; landmarktrust.org.uk). Three nights' rental starts at £496; sleeps five. Dogs and families welcome.

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
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.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific