Well Lane, Mollington, Chester
Wrapped up in fragrant wisteria, The Willows, a traditional country home in the pretty rural village of Mollington on the outskirts of Chester, is steeped in history and brimming with delights to discover.
As you arrive at The Willows, an imposing copper beech tree provides a splash of summer colour as you pull along the gravel driveway, sweeping up to the house, where there is ample parking for five or six cars.
Dating back nearly 400 years in parts, Victorian extensions to the front create a ‘through the looking glass’ home, filled with secret spaces and tucked away staircases. Originally a farmhouse, (the bell to call the workers in from the fields is still in situ at the top of the home), latterly it became the dower house for nearby Mollington Hall.
A home with a unique connection to the village itself, sense its warmth and charm before even setting foot inside; cream walls festooned in David Austin roses and wending wisteria.
Enter via a stone porch, where you can perch on a wooden bench to remove your boots, before stepping through into the grand, spacious entrance hall, where a pine staircase winds its way up to the first floor. Sense the robustness and protection immediately, with old thick walls retaining the cool in summer and capturing warmth in the winter.
OWNER QUOTE: "The house soaks up people."
Engineered oak flooring underfoot is met by rhubarb and custard tones in the lower part of the wall, met with cream above for a warm and traditional welcome.
Step through to the sitting room on the right, where two bountiful, authentic sash windows, fitted with their original working shutters, flood the room with light. Bathed in sunlight in the evenings, this room is simply made for Christmas, with its high, Victorian ceiling and original flooring underfoot. In winter, with the open fire roaring, there is no cosier place to be.
Returning to the entrance hall, pass by the foot of the stairs, drenched in light as the ceiling opens up to double height and light streams through the bespoke stained-glass atrium light. Understairs storage is the ideal place to stash the Christmas decorations, continuing through to the next room on the right.
Now in the original half of the home, sense the drop in ceiling height, as you plunge further down the rabbit hole. Crimson tones create an air of relaxed formality in the study, where a sash window set over the desk offers views out to the garden. Fitted shelving features LED lighting. Peaceful and quiet, with additional storage cupboards, this room is a sanctuary for those wishing to work from home. An original fireplace is currently boxed in. A versatile room with an intimate feel, it could also serve as a formal dining room.
Flow along the hallway and through into the television room. Large, bright and swimming in light, this room soaks up the morning sun and embodies a somewhat more contemporary feel, in rich contrast to the study next door; its original fireplace is dressed with a more modern feel. A multitude of windows and French doors opening out to the patio draw in daylight, particularly in the morning. Built-in shelving and storage pervades, hiding away toys and board games and also providing an extra ‘perching’ area for party guests. This is a natural morning room and perfect for entertaining.
A handy boot room with cloakroom lies to the end of the hallway, with access out through a rear door to the garden. Nestled in the oldest part of the home, this would once have served as the kitchen-scullery. A set of stairs leads down to the cellar, where the boiler is housed.
OWNER QUOTE: "The home flows very well, people always feel relaxed here."
With its painted white beams above and clever layout, the dining-kitchen is a captivating space. Enter through the dining area, where there is a large table to one side and a smaller breakfasting table, set before light from the side window and Veluxes above. Note the subtle bars on the windows – a traditional security measure still providing peace of mind in the 21st century.
Should you prefer, the dining room could be opened up to the kitchen beyond. Warmed by the constant toasty glow from the bottle green Aga, set within a tiled inglenook, step onto the kitchen’s Amtico flooring. Integrated appliances include a Neff oven, with space for an American styled larder fridge-freezer, microwave and dishwasher. A beautiful stable door connects you with the courtyard outside. A range of storage units are set above and beneath the granite worktops.
An impressive feature of the kitchen is its original larder. Sunken slightly below ground level, the large larder contains built-in slate surfaces to create a large, cool storage area, with original meat hooks in the beam above.
OWNER QUOTE: "Every room holds character from the sloping floor boards in some bedrooms to the original fireplaces."
Dip through into the utility-laundry room, tiled in its original flooring and with plumbing for washer-dryer and yet more storage within its units. Original suspended airers above help keep the home free of washing.
Returning along to the entrance hall, take the pine staircase up, sensing the subtle lilt in the floorboards evocative of the home’s era.
Turn up and emerge into the master bedroom on the right.
Swimming in light and bathed in glorious garden views, this soothing space is carpeted underfoot and dressed in creamy tones to the walls. A profusion of built-in wardrobes provides ample storage for all your clothes. The original fireplace adds character and warmth. An airy feel pervades, courtesy of the high, Victorian ceilings.
Refresh and revive in the spacious ensuite fitted with twin wash basins inset within vanity unit storage, large bath with shower head attachment and separate shower. Views pervade over the gardens.
A home with subtle storage featuring throughout its rooms, clutter is not a concern at The Willows.
Next door to the master bedroom, flow through to the yellow room, a sunny guest bedroom featuring an original fireplace and built-in storage. Low-level cast-iron radiators feature across the rooms, a subtle link to the history of the home, imbuing cosy warmth throughout.
Along the landing, pay a visit to the ‘hide and seek’ closet, a walk-in linen cupboard with an abundance of storage.
To the right another staircase leads to the second floor, with more hiding spaces for children in the cupboards beneath.
For now, flow directly across from the master into a spacious and carpeted guest bedroom, featuring an original fireplace and views to two sides over the garden. Spotlighting above adds a modern touch, with tall, white, built-in wardrobes to one side. Perfect for teenagers, this bedroom is served by a Jack ‘n’ Jill ensuite.
Contemporary in its feel, although retaining its original fireplace, a splash of refreshing blue dressing the chimney breast wall, spritz away the sleepiness within the shower. There is also a wash basin inset within a vanity unit alongside a WC.
Leading back to the landing, next discover the family bathroom, evoking a spa feel its latte-toned tiling. Soak away your cares in the deep bathtub, or freshen up in the shower. A contemporary vanity unit encases the wash basin, with WC also available.
Continue along to the bedroom at the end, sloping to the roof line and dressed in forget-me-not blue tones. Storage is built in to either side of the bed, providing a desk area. Ideal as an office for those working from home, this room feels very private, tucked away from the rest of the rooms. Each bedroom evokes its own unique feel.
Returning to the upper staircase, ascend to the second floor, pausing by the large window overlooking the garden.
Ideal as self-contained accommodation for an older teen, a large bedroom on the right contains a wash basin – with the potential to create an ensuite. Light, bright and with such high ceilings, this room has a mature feel, with light streaming in through the window.
Across the way, sense the shift in height once more, dipping through to the work room, a potential sixth bedroom and currently a sewing room, illuminated beautifully by the large sash window overlooking the garden. Consider too the potential to create a dressing room or snug lounge to the bedroom opposite, creating the ultimate teenage haven.
OWNER QUOTE: "This house will create the most wonderful memories for any family."
Enveloped in a treasure trove of garden rooms, explore the flat lawn, perfect for a kickabout. Dappling the sunny lawn with pockets of refreshing shade are two weeping willows, after which the home was named, alongside a majestic 300-year old yew tree. The holly tree is perfect for decorating Christmas wreathes, whilst the apple tree produces a harvest ideal for pies, crumbles and preserves. A prolific walnut tree; popular with the squirrels, also features in the garden.
In summer, a paddling of ducks flies in for their summer holidays on the large wildlife pond, teeming with nature; a sight to behold as they waddle across the lawn!
OWNER QUOTE: "We created the garden ten years ago and want it to be a haven for nature."
Keep fit in the comfort of your own home, with a full-size tennis court on hand. Gated and secure, it also ‘serves’ as the perfect play pen for young children, who can run about in safety.
OWNER QUOTE: "The tennis court has been the site of many an epic family match."
By the front door, sweep around to the left, between the flanking stone pillars, topped in stone from Chester Cathedral, to emerge into the side courtyard, cobbled and sheltered by the home and surrounding outbuildings. Wood stores and an old piggery, replete with its original drinking troughs, capture the essence of the home, ripe with potential for conversion. A semi-circular water feature serves as a natural pond, brimming with water lilies. The warmth of the walls evokes a Mediterranean mood; an area potent with potential to create a luxurious barbecue courtyard.
OWNER QUOTE: "The garden has been developed to always have an area of interest, with the lavender in the summer and the grasses in the herbaceous border during Autumn."
Follow the flow, past the old milking dairy, festooned in climbing roses, into the kitchen courtyard, where the original block used for saddling up and mounting your horse remains. To the left, the high wall of the old barn hums in a blanket of thick ivy, reminiscent of the WW2 camouflage nets, hand woven and hung across a beam between the two buildings many years ago.
Pass beneath the brick arch and continue along, arriving at a landscaped parterre garden, dedicated to the growing of vegetables. Pears, plums, apples, raspberries, potatoes, cabbages, rhubarb and strawberries alongside a bed dedicated to dahlias and gladiolas entertain the senses in this secret garden, utterly screened from view.
OWNER QUOTE: "A sense of calm and tranquillity can be found, sitting on the bench in the vegetable area early in the morning."
Formerly a greenhouse, dedicated solely to the growing of apricots, existed in the vegetable garden; although the building is no more, the original winder used for opening the windows remains on the wall as a hallmark of its past. Smells and sightlines captivate in every direction.
Return along the gravel driveway, breathing in the aromas of the herbaceous border, past the sunny patio and to an area rich in history. Centrally set, a listed sundial is set upon a stone slab, beneath the shade of large bay tree – ideal for cooking. History is palpable in this section of the garden.
Out and about
Step outside and stroll around the pretty and peaceful village of Mollington; you really could be hidden away in the depths of the countryside. In point of truth, Mollington is conveniently placed, only ten minutes from the centre of Chester. On the doorsteps of the bars, theatres and restaurants of this ancient city, enjoy the community perks of village life; Mollington has created a mini library within an old bus shelter for residents to exchange books.
The award-winning local primary school is only a two-minute walk from the doorstep.
Convenient for the M53 and M56, connect with the city and enjoy trips out to north Wales. Junction 20 of the M6 is 20 minutes’ drive away; commuting to Liverpool can be accomplished within half an hour. Cheshire Oaks, brimming with shops, eateries and amenities is within a ten-minute drive. Closer to home, discover the many traditional country pubs within the vicinity of the village. There is a handy Co-op in nearby Saughall.
Families with children can invest in a season ticket to the award-winning Chester Zoo; only five minutes from The Willows, why not call in on the way home from school for an hour’s extra-curricular adventuring?
The Willows is a versatile home, with an impressive history and heritage, but above all else, a warmth and welcome to delight all ages.
Looking for the convenience of the city, with all the luxury and tranquillity of country life?
Then look no further than The Willows, the consummate family home, with a truly unique character.