While he was watching the Channel 4 programme “Grand Designs,” a house caught Les Hanwell’s attention.

“I thought ‘That would be a nice place to live,’” Mr Hanwell remembered. “Being a gamekeeper, I have a thing about pheasants, partridges and birds in general. They had turkeys and geese on the farm, and I’ve had turkeys and geese before.”

By coincidence, the son of his partner Caroline Davenport bought the house, which has 40 acres of farmland and a brewery, and Mr Hanwell and Ms Davenport moved in.

Two Cocks Farm near Newbury in Berkshire probably has the most unusual farmhouse ever featured in South East Farmer. It was built for Michael Butcher and Phil Palmer who had lived in London and were looking for something different. So they found what had been a turkey farm and turned it into the ultra modern house and brewery featured on “Grand Designs.” When they took over, turkeys were raised on what was then called Christmas Farm.

Ms Davenport’s son – an entrepreneur based in Australia – “didn’t get the North East,” which is where she and Mr Hanwell would really have liked to have lived. Instead, he found Two Cocks Farm. “It just seemed such a fantastic adventure that we thought ‘Give it a go – you only get one go in life,’” Ms Davenport said. “It is in the most beautiful spot, the house is amazing – and the whole thing is totally out of our comfort zone.”

Although the move was challenging, Ms Davenport and Mr Hanwell are achieving already. In the North East, Mr Hanwell continued his 20 odd year career as a gamekeeper. “I moved up there in 2003 after I was made redundant after four years on an estate not far from Two Cocks Farm.” For the next 14 years, he worked for several estates and was a head keeper on one after working as a beat keeper on another in the Bowmont Valley near Kelso.

“My son was very excited by the property and sent me the particulars,” Ms Davenport said. “He could see it was an adventure. I think he thought we could do something with it and he would have somewhere to stay and show to his friends. Because he lives in Australia and the designer of the house was apparently an Australian, he must have felt quite a connection with it.”

The clever thing about the house, Ms Davenport said, was that it is small enough for her and Mr Hanwell to live in but it has enough space for her son and his guests to be there as well. “For that sum of money, he could have bought somewhere massive, but he hasn’t. We’re not knocking around in some giant manor house which would be completely out of character.”

The house is deceptive because approaching it from the road, it looks quite small. But inside, it changes Tardis-like into a large living space. A wing with two spare bedrooms has been built under a bank leading up to the lawn, and a large kitchen overlooks the lawn, some raised vegetable plots and a stylish greenhouse which contains a fig tree, pomegranate bush and other unusual plants.

<a href=”http://www.southeastfarmer.net/assets/flipbook/2017/SEF0517/SEF05May17.html#p=20>Click here to read more on the visit