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8 bedroom detached house for sale

Chelwood Gate, Sussex, RH17

Guide Price £2,750,000

Property Description

Key features

  • Superb Ashdown Forest location
  • 4 reception rooms
  • 8 bedrooms
  • 6 bathrooms
  • 2nd floor 3 bed staff flat
  • Office space
  • Garaging
  • Swimming pool
  • Tennis court
  • EPC Rating = F

Full description

Tenure: Freehold

A magnificent and historic Victorian mansion house in an enviable Ashdown Forest location. 3 principal reception rooms, large conservatory, kitchen/breakfast room, 8 principal bedrooms plus 3 bedroom secondary accommodation.


Gale is situated in an enviable enclosed position on the outskirts of the village of Chelwood Gate, on Ashdown Forest and in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Ashdown Forest has national protection due to its wildlife, and extends to over 6500 acres offering miles of outstanding walks and bridle trails on the doorstep.

Sussex has a highly active equestrian scene with riding on Ashdown Forest (for which a permit is required), showjumping at Hickstead and Ardingly, and racing at Plumpton, Lingfield Park, Fontwell and Goodwood. Local golf courses include Royal Ashdown Forest and East Sussex National. There is a superb cultural scene, with world-class opera at Glyndebourne, and the annual Brighton and Chichester Festivals presenting a huge programme of theatre, dance, classical music and literary events. Local Amenities: Chelwood Gate has a public house; local restaurants of note include the Coach and Horses at Danehill, The Crown at Horsted Keynes and Gravetye Manor at West Hoathly. Forest Row provides for day to day needs, with comprehensive shopping facilities at East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Tunbridge Wells and Brighton.

Mainline Rail Services: Haywards Heath 7 miles (frequent services to both London Bridge/Victoria from 42 minutes) and East Grinstead 6.6 miles (London Bridge/Victoria from 56 minutes)

Schools: There is a good selection of highly regarded schools in the area, including Cumnor House, Brambletye, Ashdown House, Great Walstead, Worth, Brighton College and Ardingly College.

Communications: The M25 orbital motorway can be accessed via both the A22/J6 and the A23/J7, linking to the national motorway network. Gatwick airport 17 miles, Heathrow airport 49 miles, central London 36 miles.


Gale was built at the end of the 19th century for Lord Robert Cecil, son of the Marquis of Salisbury and future Viscount Cecil of Chelwood. Lord Cecil enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a politician and statesman, co-founding the League of Nations and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937. Gale remained his country retreat for about fifty years, and in the 1920s was frequently host to members of the Bloomsbury Circle, as referenced in the diaries of Virginia Woolf.

Gale subsequently became the home of the Conservative peer Lord Ashdown whose friend Harold Macmillan was a close neighbour at Birch Grove House; many political discussions of the governing Tory party are believed to have been held at Gale during this time.

Gale is a magnificent Victorian mansion house of graceful proportions, with cream rendered elevations and a tiled roof, set behind a tall hedge in beautiful south and west facing gardens and grounds, completely surrounded by Ashdown Forest.

The principal part of the house dates from 1897; it was subsequently extended to create garaging and office space, with bedrooms and bathrooms added above later. The current owners significantly extended and rearranged the layout of the kitchen/breakfast area in 2002 to create a house ideally suited for family life, and today Gale offers 8,488 sq ft of accommodation (including the integrated garage) arranged over three floors, with the benefit of being unlisted.

Internally, Gale has an abundance of original detail, with many period fittings providing points of interest, including sliding doors in the reception hall and landing, possibly used to partition the house for the privacy of distinguished guests.

The principal reception rooms have high ceilings and fine wood floors. The drawing room and the library have working fireplaces, and graceful bow windows offering attractive views to the formal gardens and access to the York stone terrace.

An impressive Hungarian tile stove is the focal point of the superb conservatory, which has doors to the drawing room and bi-fold doors to the family room; these open up to provide a space which is suitable for entertaining on a grand scale.

The large kitchen/breakfast room with underfloor heating has been extended thoughtfully to provide a layout that is well adapted for family life. The large, vaulted kitchen has double doors opening to the family room, and is equipped with an excellent range of custom built oak wall hung and under counter units, and fittings including a granite topped central island, a four oven Aga, a stainless steel preparation area with fitted double sinks and a pantry with original cold shelves.

The breakfast area has a large arched window and doors to the west, opening directly to the swimming pool and creating a perfect space for more informal entertaining.

Adjoining the kitchen is a suite of rooms with their own external access, originally built as staff accommodation and currently comprising: bathroom, utility room, gym, and 2 domestic offices

The master bedroom suite, comprising bedroom, dressing room (also used as a study) and en suite bathroom, is situated to the south of the first floor and benefits from views across the gardens to the Forest.

There are seven further bedrooms on the first floor, served by four bathrooms, two of which are en suite.

The second floor provides secondary accommodation comprising kitchenette, sitting room, three bedrooms and a bathroom. There is access to ample storage provided by the attic box room.

The floorplans offer an excellent and comprehensive overview of the full extent and layout of the accommodation.

Gale is approached via a drive across Ashdown Forest leading to an electrically operated five bar gate opening to a carriage drive with central island, and a parking area ahead of the house and garaging.

The gardens at Gale are laid out mainly to the south and west of the house; the grounds are fully enclosed and screened by tall hedges set at various points with gates opening directly onto Ashdown Forest. Beautifully designed with distinct sections, the gardens were established by Lady Chelwood and further landscaped under Lady Ashdown, and the commissions of both these keen gardeners are still in evidence today.

To the south west of the house is a York stone terrace, opening to a formal lawn flanked by rose beds, and steps down to a croquet lawn; bordering this lawn to the south east is a camellia walk which opens to the orchard.

A path runs around the edge of the grounds, leading from the camellia walk past the formal lawns to a more informal area of lawn, and on to the all weather tennis court and timber framed tennis pavilion.

Beyond the tennis court is the fenced kitchen garden with fruit cage, fenced vegetable beds, greenhouse and timber tool store.

Steps lead up to the swimming pool, which is surrounded by a paved terrace. There is a timber pool house, and the area is securely enclosed and bordered to one side by established shrubs.

Square Footage: 7,992 sq ft
Acreage: 2.35 Acres


If using sat nav, please note that the destination for postcode RH17 7DE is not Gale; having joined the A275 please refer to the directions below.

From the south, proceed north on the A275 through Chelwood Gate, passing the Red Lion on the right and Birch Grove Road on the left. The private drive to Gale is the next turning on the left, marked by low level white stones.

From the north, at the A22 Wych Cross junction turn right onto the A275 (signposted Lewes). The private drive to Gale is on the right after about 0.8 of a mile, marked by low level white stones.

More information from this agent

Listing History

Added on Rightmove:
29 May 2015

Map & Street View

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