According to the Exeter Express & Echo, the new owners of Woodbury Park Hotel Golf and Country Club are Sue and Robin Hawkins who, two years ago, bought the adjoining luxury manor house, Merehaven Manor, from Mr and Mrs Mansell for nearly £5m.
Mr Hawkins made his fortune through in the property market and intends taking the country club and its four-star hotel to a new level, although Nigel Mansell, who has been a resident of Jersey for more than ten years now, will maintain his Devon links by acting as an “ambassador” for the club.
The sale, thought to be one of the biggest property deals in Devon in recent years, was handled by Richard Greetham, acting for the leading Exeter estate agent Bradleys. Mr Greetham also conducted the sale of the seven-bedroomed manor house in 2005. He refused to give a figure for the sale price of Woodbury Park but this is thought to be between £14m – £18m.
Richard Greetham said, “Mr Hawkins intends to run the country club exactly as before, but will look to lift it to another level in terms of service and enjoyability.” He added that the property had not been on the market but he had been approached by Mr Hawkins to contact Mr Mansell, to see whether he was “up for a sale”.
Mr Greetham continued, “We are, of course, delighted to be involved. It was all very straightforward. Nigel did not want to sell because he loves the place and the people but living, as he does, most of the time in the Channel Isles and having two sons in Formula III racing, he thought he couldn‘t be in two places at once.”
Nigel Mansell, who invested nearly £10m of his fortune to redevelop the golf and country club, said that the sale was due to “many circumstances”. A spokeswoman said, “Nigel and Rosanne Mansell have decided to sell the complete Woodbury Park business to Sue and Robin Hawkins. Nigel will, however, still be actively involved as an ambassador of the business and participate in numerous events and give support to the business and Sue and Robin.
“Nigel and Rosanne have thoroughly enjoyed what has been a real challenge during their time at Woodbury Park and have been personally involved in every step of its development into the prestigious first-class leisure and golf complex it is today.
“While not actively looking to move, Nigel and Rosanne made the difficult decision to sell to Sue and Robin, who they knew previously, in the belief that they will take the business forward using the same ethics and values which Nigel and Rosanne have been instrumental in establishing.
“Nigel and Rosanne wish Sue and Robin and all the dedicated staff at Woodbury Park all the very best for the future. They are sure that the business will continue to grow and offer all members and visitors the very best of value and service and a pleasurable experience second to none in the south west of England.”
Woodbury Park Golf and Country Club www.woodburypark.co.uk