WITH its charming thatched roof and gently gothic air, it looks more like a home for a Hobbit or a character from a fairytale.

The main rooms curve round the single-stack chimney and it sits in a two-acre, woodland setting.

But this tiny, one bedroom Dorset cottage, which was built as a lodge house to an estate, has a huge history - it belonged to the family whose ancestor was said to have inspired the character of James Bond and it was also the hideaway of the flamboyant artist, Augustus John.

Bournemouth Echo:

Now Stockford Lodge is up for sale as its owner - whose late husband was born in the property during World War II, has decided to move on.

Trisha Ashby-Rudd, associate director of Domvs estate agency said the cottage, which is near the village of Wool has attracted a lot of interest.

Bournemouth Echo:

"It really is absolutely beautiful to look at; you could imagine Hansel and Gretel living there or, yes, a Hobbit!" she said.

"I understand that Augustus John may have enjoyed a few liaisons there but for me, it's the connection to the current owner which is so moving."

Bournemouth Echo:

She said the present owner's husband was born in the cottage after being evacuated there with his mother and sibling and he used to return for holidays, later buying and then living in the cottage with his wife.

"Because it's a lodge it's near to the road but there are two acres of woodland garden going down to a stream and there is also a large summer house," she said. "You can see why it was such a special, magical place for them."

The cottage is on the market with Wareham-based Domvs for £399,950.