IN THE 1970s, almost every little girl dreamed of owning her own horse or pony – a desire fostered in some part by the popular children’s television series, Follyfoot.
One suspects that, even today, its distinctive theme tune, The Lightning Tree, still stirs a passion in the hearts of many a mum, bringing back memories of childhood.
Well, if you’re a family with an equestrian bent, there’s a pretty property in Norbury which might just fulfil a dream or two – Follyfoot Barn. And the name is no co-incidence.
“It would be an ideal place for anyone with horses, or a desire to own horses,” says current owner, Keith Bathew.
Keith and his wife Mandy converted the old barn nearly 12 years ago, specifically to provide a place for their children, Nick and Lauren, to enjoy their riding hobby.
“When the builders were converting the old barn, one of them said it reminded him of the television show, Follyfoot,” says Keith. “So the name stuck.”
The five acres of fields and paddocks which surround the property provide plenty of space for a string of horses, and there are excellent equestrian facilities, including a large and handsome stable block and manège.
Their children, Nick and Lauren have now grown up. Nick, 26, has left home while Lauren, 19, (who is pictured on the front of this section) is currently at university.
“It seems such a waste,” says Keith. “It would be much better if a family took it on and enjoyed the place.”
Keith and Mandy are sorry to be selling, but with the children flying the nest, they really need somewhere more manageable for them.
“We’re looking for somewhere with less land, but we want to stay in this area if possible,” says Keith. “It’s such a peaceful place to live – no traffic noise, just the sound of the birds. It’s idyllic.”
Keith, who runs his own business in Stafford, points out that the seclusion they enjoy doesn’t mean they’re cut off from civilisation. “Stafford is only ten miles away, and we’re close to Newport and other centres,” he says. “So even though we can enjoy this very private place, it’s not far from the beaten track.”
Mandy also has no difficulty getting to work at University Hospital, Newcastle under Lyme, while the family’s nearest town, Newport, and the large village of Eccleshall are within a few minutes’ drive.
The impressive, detached home has all the modern benefits, combined with that sense of age and permanence that barn conversions offer. The house sits on a 5.25 acre plot with superb countryside views.
Over the years the family has created attractive and colourful formal gardens, but horse lovers will be attracted by the substantial stable block and courtyard, with an area for schooling and two paddocks beyond.
The interior of the house has been tastefully designed and decorated and possesses a light and spacious quality.
The surrounding countryside is criss-crossed with lanes and paths and bridleways – ideal for hacking out. The agents, James Du Pavey of Eccleshall, say the house deserves a closer inspection.
So, if the old Follyfoot theme tune touches a nerve, it might be worth taking a look at Follyfoot Barn.