Casterne Hall in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, is a retreat with a history as fascinating as the area surrounding it.
Casterne Hall in Derbyshire might be familiar to avid fans of Sherlock Holmes from when it doubled as Stapleton Hall in the Granada TV series’ 1988 adaption of The Hound of the Baskervilles.
As a keen student of Jeremy Brett’s interpretation of the famous Baker Street detective, I was already trying to replay scenes from the episode in my mind as we drove through the darkening lanes of the Manifold Valley towards the steep, winding track leading up to the Grade II* listed manor, itching to tread his footsteps.
A dwelling of one form or another has existed on the hillside plot since Roman times; the Hurt family first arrived in the 1400s, with Casterne Hall being extensively remodelled in the 1700s in the Georgian style evident today. There is certainly plenty to see within its three storeys, each of which breathe a bygone history of England.
Left to our own devices in the drawing room by our hosts, we were able to digest a fountain of family history, as well as their profound love for antiques and literature, all in front of a roaring, almost hypnotic fire that lit our conversation before, during and after a three-course dinner prepared in the vast family kitchen.
There is no phone signal at Casterne Hall and our evening was all the better for it; had the group been larger it would have been a real giggle.
Snow fell as we slept and we awoke to the sound of lowing cattle and the sight of an almost completely white valley. Charles, our modest and friendly host, assured us that getting to the bottom of the driveway would not be a problem after a reconnaissance mission in his battled-hardened Defender, and he was gracious enough to escort us away from Casterne Hall upon our departure.
Cost: From £50 per person per night
Shoots nearby: Kedleston and Foston Park
Scores for Casterne Hall Derbyshire
Catering: Meals were prepared using ingredients from the adjacent farm or kitchen garden. Guests are asked to supply their own alcohol. 7/10
Accommodation: We slept soundly in one of four rooms (one double, three twins) available to overnight guests. 7/10
Atmosphere: We were the only guests at the hall but still had a very pleasant evening. 7/10
Service: The Hurt family were helpful and were there whenever we needed them. 8/10
Suitability for shooters: As Casterne Hall is a privately owned Grade II* listed manor house, guests will have to accept a lack of certain creature comforts: there are no TVs, no en-suite bathrooms, no well-stocked bar or detailed food menu. That said, the facilities are good, you have complete privacy, welcoming hosts and a building so full of character you risk being late for the shoot briefing trying to take it all in. Do bear in mind that your hosts will be in during your stay. Dogs are welcome. 7/10