Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Alfoxden Park House Hotel

Alfoxton Park Hotel

 Photos of the Alfoxden Park Hotel or Alfoxton House. Holford Somerset. The old hotel sign in the porch, along with a tonne of old post. 

Alfoxton Park Hotel Sign

The classic view of the hotel, that wood would warm a house for a year! 

The front entrance of the Hotel with a lovely climbing rose. This could stay. All the windows have gorgeous wooden shutters. Except one on the first floor left. That looks like a squatters curtain? 

Alfoxden park hotel

I keep imagining a ghost appearing at that circular window. This would make a brilliant horror film location in this state like Watcher in the Woods with Bette Davis. 

Alfoxden park hotel

The side of the house, there is a side door with steps and it looks like the deer and bunnies have been enjoying the lawn. 

Alfoxden park hotel photos

These were the slender curves steps leading to the ......................

Alfoxton park hotel photos

....... Kidney shaped pool! I knew there would be a pool, I had to buy a postcard of the hotel on eBay to confirm my hopes and that's when I got back in car. Isn't it fabulous. I'm thinking Murder She Wrote era. Faux California. I may have to sneak back, empty it, scrub it, fill it and swim in it! Would that be illegal?

Alfoxton park hotel photos

 The steps in the pool, a little damaged but just imagine a 70's glamour girl, blonde Farah Faucet waves and a red halter one piece dipping her toes in the aqua blue. At the other end was a diving board.

Alfoxton park hotel photos

The overgrown tennis court with the old nets. This reminds me of the film A Good Year. Or Gatsby after the party. 
Alfoxton park hotel photos

The walled garden with barns and walk ways. 

Alfoxton park hotel photos

See how big the walled garden is! 

Alfoxton park hotel photos

Alfoxton park hotel photos

 The barn roof, it's beautiful wood. It think it used to be thatched too. 

Alfoxton park hotel photos

The barn floor, it's also beautiful cobbles.

The not so beautiful use of breeze blocks. This is why it's good buildings are listed, it tries to prevent modern ugliness. 

Alfoxton park hotel photos

This is one of my favourite outbuildings. I first though it could be a pool house but it looks 1920s with it's flat roof and then reminded me of Dirty Dancing.

Alfoxton park hotel photos

Another out building without a roof but pink curtains. 

Alfoxton park hotel photos

The back view of Alfoxten Park Hotel. 

The Alfoxton or Alfoxden Park House Hotel, Holford Somerset.

I came across this magnificent, yet crumbling abandoned place on Father's day this year whilst on a walk in the Quantocks. Immediately I fell head over heels in love with the hotel and was filled to obsession with inspiration for all manner of projects. Inspiration seriously is bleeding out of this place, your head is instantly fueled with ideas, not just building related.

A young couple were working on the coach house which has recently been sold separately to the estate but unsurprisingly they weren't too chatty to a complete stranger gasping 'wow's' and 'ooooos' at the house next door, they must get this all the time being such a popular walking spot. They were kind enough to let me take a few photos' though.

I returned home to discover via Google that Wordsworth, THE Wordsworth lived here. Coleridge wrote The Ancient Mariner and first read it here.  And it used to be a grand hotel.

Being a hotel meant that there could have been a swimming pool. I found a postcard on eBay of the hotel and there it was, the aqua blue kidney. This is why I drove all the way back along the potholed, windy, terrible road to Alfoxton to take further photos.

Today Alfoxton Park is abandoned. After it was a hotel its been in a few dubious hands. Those hands neglected it and did some pretty ugly things to it. Its criminal that this place if left to rot.

The place is now owned by another property developer in London who plans to extend and restore the building into a Hotel. This initially filled me with hope, a beautiful restoration to this Grade II listed house will be wonderful, with a stunning orangery in wood and a ballroom that matched the 17th Century date. Wouldn't it be beautiful.

Sadly looking further into the planning application, a potential labour of love on a very, very deep money pit may not be real. This place really would be millions to fix up well and before anything can be done the road must be resurfaced and fixed properly.
My little beetle may be suffering from some cracked suspension after that road, it was the type where you just let your car bounce through it and if it had a rope bridge would be straight out of Sorcerer.

This place has probably got another ten years before it collapses? The walls are so soft you can poke your finger through them.
But it could be incredible. It could be a stunning boutique hotel and restaurant exclusively hidden away in the hills with it's own huge kitchen garden (yes!) tennis courts (yes!) A kidney shaped pool (yes!) what I think is a 16th or 17th Century barn which could be a gorgeous wedding venue with courtyard, walled garden and convertible outbuildings (yes!). All set in a vast deer park complete with Deer.

It just needs restoring and making wonderful. I'm thinking Burgh island in the woods. If only I had a few million to buy it and make it lovely.

I will be banging on about The Alfoxton Park Hotel a lot from now on, sorry, but it will make sense when you see the dresses this place will inspire.

Further reading and info
Ben Manning who wants to make a film about it. Listen to him on the radio HERE
This is the Holford history society
The planning application for Alfoxton Park Hotel 2014 
An interesting article on Alfoxton and the last owner exploiting workers