'Nuthanger is like a farm in an old tale. Between Ecchinswell and the foot of Watership Down and about half a mile from each, there is a broad knoll... stands the farmhouse, with its barns and out-buildings. The house may be two hundred years old or it may be older, built of brick, with a stone-faced front looking south towards the down. On the east side, in front of the house, a barn stands clear of the ground on staddle-stones; and opposite is the cow-byre.'Nuthanger Farm - if you have seen the film, in which it was very accurately portrayed, this is instantly recognisable. Just compare this with the last moments of the end titles.
It's not stone-faced; it's rather less romanticly cement rendered. Also, the tall chimneys and the stepped roof-line strongly suggest that, apart from the left-hand wing, it was originally thatched. It was also originally not one but two houses, or even three. The righthand house appears to be the least altered as the lefthand house may have had larger ground floor windows fitted, probably some time before the wing, which was never thatched, was added. Even so, the right hand house has been extended. The third house appears to be the smaller section in the middle, possibly with its front door between the remaining two replaced by a window reaching to ground level. Each house had one chimney. The smaller, thinner one to the left of the front doors clearly having been added later, possibly to the centre house.
In 1983 there was no dog kennel in which Bob might have lived. The hutch rabbits, Boxwood, Laurel, Haystack and Clover, would have been housed in a shed somewhere in amongst the out-buildings. For the film the hutch was placed in the byre and more rabbits added. By the time I took this photograph the byre had fallen into disuse and disrepair. I went back a few years later and saw that all the thatch had been removed leaving the wooden frame work. By the way, the 'barn', on mushroom shaped 'staddle-stones' is not really a barn at all, it is a granary; for storing grain, flour and and animal feed. The staddle-stones help prevent rats and mice from getting in.
Even in 1967, Adams said: “Nuthanger
Farm is like a farm in an old tale.” Forty
years on, Watership Down is itself one of
those old tales. Nuthanger is no longer worked as
a farm; it is just a house in the country. The
land around it has long been worked from
other, more modern but distant, farms. By the
mid-eighties the farm outbuildings had
decayed badly and the byre roof
had fallen in.
You can explore Nuthanger Farm on Google maps.
You can see more of Nuthanger on another page.