My commute to work initially took me up the M1 from J26, but the A610 is so congested and slow every morning adjusted my route to go through Hucknall and Annesley and join the motorway at J27.
There is a superb stretch of the A611 when the road splits into separate carriageways and it takes you through fields and woodlands, and I look forward to it every morning. It was utterly beautiful in the snow, and at the moment, I am just getting used to seeing the leafless, skeletal trees breaking through the dawn. It’s a much needed little lift to the spirits every time I drive through.
But at the far side of one of the fields was a large, double bay house which looked rather special. As the snow fell and I looked out for it every morning, I came to realise it was deserted. There was never a light in the windows, the snow didn’t move, no sign or heating. I started little fantasies about moving in and doing it up, having my own Grand Design.
As you turn the corner, the road travels quite close to the building, and there are clearly public info boards next to it, as well as some completely derelict buildings with the roof falling in. Further along, still from the road, you can see what I assumed to be a walled garden.
A few weeks of thoughts like this and I took to Google Maps to find out what exactly the place was, and it turns out that it is Annesley Hall. The modest two bays you can see from the A611 are in fact the building end-on and it is huge – six bays in the other direction – along with a mass of ancillary buildings like stables, lodges and a ruined 11th century church.
Given that there are info boards, and small places to park, I decided to visit last weekend, when the weather warmed up a little and the sun came out.
It’s all rather lovely. Huge stables, massive house, large parts of it derelict with the roof caved in.
It needs millions of pounds worth of restoration, and as a listed building that wouldn’t be straightforward.
It was initially down on my “if I won the lottery” list, but I think now my putative lottery win would be better spent elsewhere. My next thoughts were Landmark Trust, of Holiday Property Bond but its location is now hugely overlooked from various busy main roads, and it is right next door to a huge business park. It doesn’t have the seclusion needed for a luxury holiday location.
It’s also one of the most haunted buildings in England. Tough sell as a health spa.