AT ONE of the highest points in west Staffordshire lies Ashley Heath. Stand on top of a windy ridge here and you’ll be astonished by the long and spectacular views at every point of the compass.
To the south east is the long, dark line of Cannock Chase. To the south west, beyond the lonely Wrekin, are the rolling hills of Shropshire; to the north east, one can see the Derbyshire peaks; and to the west, the mountains of Wales.
This is the landscape of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and one wonders whether old JRR himself ever wandered the lanes and by-ways seeking inspiration. In the old days it was said that if you were particularly keen of sight you could see the masts of the sailing ships docked in the Mersey from the top of Broughton church tower.
On the downside, of course, the winter’s Atlantic storms frequently funnel down through the Cheshire gap and dump their snows here - the first high ground they meet.
But in the summer it is a delight – a piece of quintessential English country of hills, copses, hedgerows, lanes and pretty hamlets.
Rudge Cottage nestles neatly in this landscape, at the end of a quiet lane, just outside the village of Ashley, five miles from Eccleshall, and it possesses everything a country lover with an eye for peace, quiet and comfort could desire.
“I really love it here,” says Jane Platt, the current owner. Her two sons are on the verge of flying the nest and though she adores her home, Jane is looking to downsize.
“I won’t be going far,” she says. “I’m very fond of Eccleshall, and would love to find an ideal property there, but it’s going to be a wrench to leave this house.”
Jane has overseen the growth of Rudge Cottage from a humble country dwelling into something much grander – a stunning four-bedroom home which is both traditional and contemporary, and set in five acres of land.
“It feels like you’re miles from anywhere,” says Jane, “but in reality you’re just up the road from Eccleshall, and close to local shops and services. It’s easy to get into Stafford or Newport or Newcastle, too.”
Agents James Du Pavey of Eccleshall say this property “is likely to take your breath away.” They use adjectives like “impeccable”, “stunning”, “sublime” and “stylish” – and who can blame them?
The original portion of the house is constructed of the local sandstone, but the property has been completely renovated, modernised and extended in recent years. Natural daylight floods into the house from all angles.
There’s a modern, open-plan kitchen which opens through to a family dining area, a vast, L-shaped living room and large dining room.
Also on the ground floor is a guest wc and a utility room.
Upstairs are four impressive bedrooms, and a contemporary family bathroom with roll top bath.
The master bedroom has its own balcony and a large dressing room opening through to a modern en-suite. There is also a second en-suite to bedroom two.
Outside are formal gardens with lawns, seating areas and a gravelled driveway leading up to an outbuilding with workshop, double bay car port and storage room above. Beyond the garden are paddocks. There is an option to buy more land adjoining the property.