HACKWOOD Park in Basingstoke may be an out-of-reach dream for most with it going up for sale for a whopping £65m, but many may be unaware that the estate grounds are open to the public.

The unused historic Grade II listed mansion house and estate has been on the market since 2022 with a guide price of more than £65m, believed to be the most expensive estate ever to be sold publicly on the market.

However, whilst dreams of ever owning the 24-bedroom mansion set in 260 acres of grounds are unrealistic for the majority, you can still enjoy a walk through the estate and all it has to offer.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Many residents may be unaware that a footpath runs right through the Hackwood Park estate, offering stunning views of the mansion, close-up encounters with animals including deer in the deer park and grazing sheep and lambs in the fields, and stunning views across the beautiful surrounding countryside.

The 260-acre grounds have been well maintained with many parts accessible to the public via the footpath, that begins at the entrance gates to the estate on Dickens Lane, off the A339.

However, signs inform the public that they must adhere to strict rules, including keeping off the immaculately mown grass and keeping dogs on leads. Picnics, ball games and bicycles are also forbidden.

Basingstoke Gazette: The community group The Friends of Hackwood Park last year called for the unused historic mansion and estate to be ‘brought back to life’ and to be opened up for the public after sitting ‘unused and unloved’ for years.

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The Friends of Hackwood Park said: “There is an eeriness to it. Signs tell you to stick to the paths and cameras are watching you.”

The group is hoping for the gardens to be opened to the public to raise money for charities and for summer events to be held in the grounds.

The 24-bedroom mansion with 20 bathrooms was built in 1683 and includes a gym, sauna, library, stables, spa, tennis courts, staff quarters, coach house, four estate cottages, parkland and ancient woodland.

However, according to Friends of Hackwood Park, the house has not been lived in since it was last sold in 2003.

Basingstoke Gazette: It said: “It sits empty, doing nothing, an example of a 21st-century ultra-rich developer with so much money to play with that it can sit there mothballed indefinitely doing absolutely nothing. It is a shell and a shadow of its former self, frozen and unloved, waiting.

“What it needs is someone with the means and vision to set it free and bring it back to life.

"It has the potential to be a venue of all kinds of events, a working productive business, film set, luxury accommodation, stables, farming, fruit and vegetable production, charitable event venue and provide employment for hundreds of people.

"It would be a great place to work and one of the best things to happen to the area around Basingstoke.

“The town doesn’t know what it is missing, and it seems the current owners would rather keep it that way.”