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Devonshire manor house, restored and extended in the local vernacular.

Modbury, Ivybridge, Devon, PL21 0TW

Shilstone House

Experience this house

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Historic Houses members must pay for entrance for this property.
Historic Houses members must pay for entrance for this property.
Facilities
  • Accessible loos
  • Accessible parking
  • Bike storage facilities
  • Cafe / restaurant
  • Easily accessible without car
  • Facilities for children
  • Free parking
  • Mostly wheelchair accessible
  • Parkland / open spaces
  • Pet friendly
for the latest information.
Accessibility

Accessible parking is located just above the cafe and archive at Shilstone. Follow signs from our car park.

Disabled access by prior arrangement but restricted to the ground floor of the house and immediate gardens. Disabled cloakroom at the Devon Rural Archive.

Does our information need updating?
Let us know here

Shilstone is a lovingly restored Georgian house in the heart of the Devon countryside, overlooking an important historical landscape, which includes the only known and nationally important C17 water theatre in the UK.

In 1997 Lucy and Sebastian Fenwick stumbled across a grade II listed farmstead in the heart of the South Hams then known as Shilston Barton. Intrigued by the remains of a designed landscape and clear signs of an important early house, they purchased the site and embarked on a lengthy project with the Devon Rural Archive to discover more about the landscape and earlier dwellings. The landscape soon began to give up its secrets revealing extensive building work from the medieval period to the present day, much of which had been covered but not lost. Two sets of double terraces, medieval fishponds, sunken lanes and a ha-ha as well as an early walled garden and a courtyard of fine barns separated from the main house by a crenelated curtain wall all hinted to the importance of Shilstone.

House and Garden Tour
Visitors will be guided through the ground floor of the house, and some rooms upstairs, looking at architectural styles of 1600–1730; the formal gardens and wider designed landscape. Guests will explore the history of the site through its surviving archaeology and rare architectural features before seeing the results of a 20-year project to restore the house.

Historic Landscape Tour
Guests will spend the afternoon rambling through the terraced formal gardens, before leaping over the ha-ha, and into the nationally important water garden with its ornamental and cascading rills. Along the way, they will visit the walled kitchen garden, with its very own banqueting house, and see the remnants of the only known, late seventeeth-century Italianate water theatre.

All tours are conducted by resident archaeologist Abi Gray and begin at the Devon Rural Archive where guests can view artefacts from the site, historic documents and photographs from the restoration project. Visitors will be guided through the ground floor of the house looking at architectural styles of 1600–1730; the formal gardens and wider designed landscape. Guests will explore the history of the site through its surviving archaeology and rare architectural features before seeing the results of a 20-year project to restore the house.

On a general visit to Shilstone, the gardens are open free of charge, and there is a woodland walk which has lovely bluebells in the spring. The valley is also open for walks, to explore the water garden with leets, rills and cascades, and a series of stone-lined ponds, all headed by a Jacobean grotto. The cafe with inside and outside seating is open from 10.30 until 4, and on occasion in the evening, as is the Devon Rural Archive, the public are free to roam and explore at their own leisure. Every Sunday there is a traditional Sunday Roast offered at Shilstone – in the Walled Garden marquee in the summer, and in the Great Barn in the winter.

TOUR DURATION
Historic landscape tours 1.5 hours
Tours including the house 1.5 hours

TOUR PRICES
Historic landscape tours £18.00 per person
Tours including the house £18.00 per person

REFRESHMENTS
No refreshments included. Café on site

RESTRICTIONS
No dogs.

Opening Times

Please note: The information on the Historic Houses website is advisory, but please always check the website of the house or garden you intend to visit before travelling.

View website

Gardens – Wednesday – Sunday, 10:30 – 4pm*
Walks – Wednesday – Sunday, 10:30 – 4pm
Archive – Wednesday – Sunday, 10:30 – 4pm
Cafe – Wednesday – Sunday, 10:30 – 4pm
Restaurant – Sunday, 12 – 3pm
House and Garden Tours – every 3rd Sunday of the month

*See website for any variations.

Admission

Admission to Shilstone is free of charge.

Historic Houses tours that are scheduled will be listed below. If none are scheduled yet, please check back later, or find other tours you might enjoy on our tours listing page here.

This house is not part of the Free for Members scheme, but is one of many houses on our website that we support to promote their tours, weddings, filming, and other commercial offerings. To see all the places you can visit as a Historic Houses member, please visit our ‘Free for Members’ listings page here. Or to find out more about how the membership scheme works and how it supports our work to protect independent heritage, visit our page here.

Group Visits

Shilstone is happy to welcome group visits. This can include tours of the house, the gardens, the woodland walk, and the valley with its water gardens and the Devon Rural Archive. The house includes an interesting art collection, with a combination of family portraits, local landscapes and a room dedicated to 20th century British Art. History groups and private tours are welcome, together with walkers, cyclists, school visits, car clubs, and corporate events. There is a cafe on site, where refreshments are available from 10.30 until 4, or bespoke openings on request. The cafe serves breakfast, tea and coffee, brunch, and full cream teas and is licensed to serve beer, cider and wine. There is an outside courtyard for al fresco dining, which will be available in the evenings sometimes (see the website).

Educational Visits

Shilstone welcomes school visits, and are offering schools the opportunity to explore the Devon Rural Archive, which was set up by the Fenwicks to record and retain information on old buildings and architectural features within Devon. Visitors are welcome to come to look up buildings in Devon in which they have an interest. In addition, there are monthly lectures held in the DRA on a number of Devon subjects. These take place on the first Thursday of every month, at 7 o’clock. The cafe will be kept open on these evenings for refreshments, and the gardens will be open during the light summer evenings.

Booking

We have a number of barns and cottages available to rent at Shilstone.
Sleeping a total of 38 guests.

Please contact: hello@shilstonedevon.co.uk or phone: 01548 830888 for more information or to book.

for the latest information.
Accessibility

Accessible parking is located just above the cafe and archive at Shilstone. Follow signs from our car park.

Disabled access by prior arrangement but restricted to the ground floor of the house and immediate gardens. Disabled cloakroom at the Devon Rural Archive.

Does our information need updating?
Let us know here

Tour Shilstone’s Historic Landscape, Devon

Tour Shilstone’s Historic Landscape, Devon

Shilstone House & Garden tour, Devon

Shilstone House & Garden tour, Devon

Getting here

Modbury, Ivybridge, Devon, PL21 0TW

Shilstone is located five minutes outside of Modbury (25 minutes from Plymouth, 40 minutes from Exeter)

We ask all our guests to access Shilstone via our main drive off the ‘Ridge Road’.
Please use the link below to view a map to help with directions and your arrival.

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Visitor said

Thank you for such an insightful tour of Shilstone and its gardens on a glorious summer's day. The water theatre was, I thought, most interesting. I do so hope that it will eventually be restored, especially as you said it's the only one of its kind in the country.

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