A DORSET stately home which is said to have seven ghosts, including that of an ape, has been named as one of the most haunted houses in England.

Athelhampton House, near Dorchester, features on the list of nine haunted homes created by We Buy Any Home.

Athelhampton has long been known as a haunted spot and featured on TV’s Most Haunted in 2002. There has been a structure on the site since Saxon times.

Andrea Cooke, who has lived at the house with her family for more than 20 years, said she has witnessed ‘all sorts of odd and inexplicable things’ – and while many have a rational explanation, there are always some which do not.

She said: “The most recent was a dark, hooded figure which rushed past one of our cleaners, who on the first sighting, assumed she had imagined it but ten minutes later it came towards her again, up the old servants staircase and hurried past her into a bathroom. She was terribly excited about it, having never witnessed such a thing.

“What this was, makes no sense at all, it is a figure our youngest son has seen on a couple of occasions, but she was unaware of this at the time.”

When her sons were younger, Andrea added, their friends refused to sleep over because of ‘doors being agitated, figures at the end of your bed, figures stood in doorways, the sound of rapid footsteps, backwards and forwards in your bedroom’.

Despite the hauntings, she said it is an ‘amazing place’ to live.

“It is a beautiful home, we are happy here and generally it has a lovely atmosphere, despite the stories.

“But on the odd occasion when something does occur, and I must stress, it is only occasionally, it reminds you that there are some things which are beyond our understanding.”

A spokesperson from We Buy Any Homes said: “Whether you believe in ghosts or not it’s undeniable that some places, for whatever reason, just give us the creeps. Whether it be the old fashioned décor, the eerie silence that hangs over the property or the footsteps on the landing in the dead of night some properties give the feeling that they may be occupied by something or someone else.”