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Local farm owner buys red-star Hereford townhouse

14 December 2006

Local businessman David Watkins, who owns Ballingham Hall Farm, has bought Hereford's three AA red-star Castle House hotel.

The luxury property (a former CatererSearch Property of the Week) was created from two adjoining Grade II-listed Georgian townhouses. After serving as a boarding house in the 1920s, it grew into one of the town's principal hotels by the 1940s.

Castle House is near the town centre and close to Hereford Cathedral (which houses the famour Mappa Mundi, a 14th century map of the world). Its extensive landscaped gardens lead to canal-side pathways that border the old Hereford Castle moat.

The townhouse hotel's many accolades include AA Hotel of the Year in 2001, Accessible Hotel of the Year for 2003/4, and various Ribbon and Dining awards from the RAC.

Along with 15 individually-decorated bedrooms, it offers a three AA-rosette, 36-seat restaurant; the 22-seat Berties cocktail lounge; and a 12-seat residents' lounge.

There is scope to create owners' accommodation from the staff rooms at the rear which once served as a double-bedroomed, self-contained manager's flat.

The Bristol office of Christie + Co sold the freehold off an asking price of £1.3m on behalf of Dr Albert and Monique Heijn, who are also seeking a buyer for their riverside leisure centre in Hereford for around £4.95m.
By Angela Frewin

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