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13 November 2014

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You are in: Hampshire > Places > Places Features > A legendary angler's sanctuary

Mottisfont fishing hut

A sketch of the Mottisfont fishing hut

A legendary angler's sanctuary

Tucked away in the grounds of Mottisfont Abbey along the fast-flowing waters of the River Test is a thatched, hobbit-style wooden fishing hut built over a century ago.

Made from close-boarded logs, the Oakley Hut is a listed building in its own right, built by angling legend Frederic Halford on the bank of the Oakley Stream in 1908.

Originally from a family of clothes-makers in Birmingham, Halford moved to Hampshire in 1877. 

The family business was very successful, and at the age of 45, the keen fisherman found himself with enough money from the company to retire and devote his time to fly fishing and writing.

In 1905 he took up fishing for wild trout at Mottisfont where he retreated for a large part of each trout season, to angle and entertain his friends.

By the end of his life in 1914, he had published seven books and written over 200 fishing articles for The Field under the pseudonym of Detached Badger.

Something else to look out for just past the hut is the the ancient Mottisfont or Oakley Oak tree, which is over 1,000 years old.

Mottisfont Abbey was originally a priory, founded by William Briwere in 1201, a trusted adviser to Richard the Lionheart, King John and Henry III, and one of the barons who signed the Magna Carta.

In 1957 the National Trust took over the Abbey and Estate.

In 1972 Mottisfont's walled garden became the home for the famous collection of historic shrub roses created by Graham Stuart Thomas, which has since been registered as the National Collection of Old Fashioned Roses.

The roses flower in June and attract tens of thousands of visitors from all around the world.  

On Saturday 31 January, the gardens re-open for the year. The main attraction being the snowdrop walk when carpets of the beautiful flowers pop up through the undergrowth. For more information 01794 341220.

last updated: 17/01/2009 at 14:23
created: 13/01/2009

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