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: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map