Space to let your imagination roam, published in Halifax Building Society magazine

Published in Halifax Building Society magazine

Supernatural: Glamis Castle

Ghost-hunters unite! You have nothing to lose but your wits! Glamis Castle on Tayside in Scotland is the ultimate purchase for the serious spookophile, with a whole cast of spectral phenomena including Macbeth, the ancient Scottish nobleman who killed King Duncan and took the throne, as recorded in Shakespeare's play of the same name.

Several of the play's scenes take place here and one of the rooms is still called Duncan's Hall; a secret chamber inside the crypt walls is said to be where the 4th Earl of Crawford played cards with the Devil on a Sunday, then was sealed up inside as a punishment. Lady Jane Douglas, widow of Lord Glamis, was burnt by James V for witchcraft in 1537 and haunts the castle as the 'Grey Lady of Glamis'. And the ghost of an African boy sits on a stone seat in the hall.

The imposing castle sits within acres of landscaped grounds and would cost upwards of £6 million if it came onto the market. Whatever else, you'd certainly never be lonely.

Country sports: Broford Farm
Ah! The smell of country air and the gurgle of the river as it meanders through your wooded fields. Broford Farm near Dulverton in Somerset boasts some of the best shooting and fishing in Britain, all accessible from your front door. There are fishing rights on the river Exe, where trout are plentiful along the graceful banks, while pheasants and partridge fly high above the ancient woodland (top Shots prefer high birds since it takes more skill to down them).

The farm has almost 1,000 cattle, saved from the foot and mouth culls by defensive action taken by owner Guy Thomas-Everard in 2001, when he barricaded his land from MAFF officials with harvesters and tractors. MAFF eventually backed down, admitting that his herd was disease-free. The fine old buildings of the farm, shrouded from view by forests of rhododendron, would cost upwards of £600,000, while the land and fishing rights would sell for a good deal more, due to their high quality and sought-after nature.

Romantics: Hardy's Cottage
Take a walk up the bluebell path from Cuckoo Lane in Higher Brockhampton, Dorset, and you'll eventually come across the most romantic, secluded, Hansel and Gretel cottage in Britain. Built in 1800 by novelist Thomas Hardy's great-grandfather, it nestles among the ancient oaks and wildflowers of this idyllic stretch of countryside, a perfect hideaway from the pressures of modern life.

Hardy's grandfather was a brandy smuggler, but Thomas himself trained as an architect, before returning to the cottage to write Under The Greenwood Tree in an upstairs room in the cottage. He also describes neighbouring Egdon Heath in his masterpiece The Return of the Native. Despite leaving the area in 1874, Hardy continued to visit the cottage until 1926. Although now a National Trust property, similar cottages in the area would cost around £500,000, according to local agents.

Ecology: The Matzdorf House
For 30 years, a house-sized plot sandwiched between terraced houses in Islington, North London, had been derelict, with only an illegal car-breaker's yard using the space. Then housing consultant David Matzdorf spotted it in the late 1990s and determined to create his own property.

His criteria were strict: where possible, he would use only natural materials, allow the maximum amount of natural light into the house and create the minimum impact on the environment. The result is a calm, bright and airy space for the 21st century, drawing on the sun's natural heating powers, using little water, many recycled elements, untreated Douglas fir timber frames, recycled newspaper insulation and paints made from mineral pigments. David Matzdorf paid £145,000 to build the house, although its current worth would be more like £450,000.

Peace and quiet: 33 High Street, Overstrand
Properties on the North Norfolk coast are rare and highly sought-after. Much of the region is designated a nature conservation area, with rare birds, marshland and colonies of seals basking on the offshore sandbanks. This property is not extraordinary to look at - an Edwardian five-bedroom house set in half an acre in the pretty village of Overstrand - but its location is pitch perfect.

A couple of miles along the beautifully sculpted sand dunes is Cromer, a gentle North Norfolk market town, where you can buy the tastiest crabs in the British Isles. All around are long, deserted, sandy beaches where the evening sea turns a misty golden and the horizon is indistinguishable from the sky. Further west are bird sanctuaries, village pubs with open hearths and gourmet lunches, wide expanses of walking land and a solitude seldom found in England. A snip at £495,000.