Architects Architecture Country Houses

Betchworth Castle + Lake Mole Valley Surrey

High Clear

Perched on a precipice overlooking the sublime Surrey countryside, Betchworth Castle is romantic in both senses of the word. In 1379, Sir John Fitzalan created a deer park in the Manor of West Betchworth and built a strategically sited castle. Half a millennium later, landowner Henry Hope bought the estate to expand his neighbouring property, Deepdene. He reshaped the rambling building into a ruin. In Ireland, ruins are shrouded in a darker layer of meaning; in England, they can simply be eyecatchers. A golf club and fishing lake keep up the sporting tradition of the estate. The 1790s Sir John Soane designed stable block has fared rather better than the castle: this pretty flint faced building has been fully restored and converted to cottages overlooking the 9th hole.