Prop­erty Mar­ket

These houses are perfect for mess­ing about in boats, on the river or the sea

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Watch the world float by, sug­gests Penny Churchill

UN­LIKE other ar­eas of the prime UK prop­erty sec­tor, the mar­ket for wa­ter­side homes in pre­mium coastal lo­ca­tions ap­pears to be weath­er­ing the storm. And as Bri­tain’s sailors take to the wa­ter for the Au­gust re­gatta sea­son in a frenzy of mar­itime may­hem, a canny few, armed with lo­cal knowl­edge, will have their binoc­u­lars trained on the coast­line in the hope of spot­ting the wa­ter­side home of their dreams.

In the case of the en­vi­able Spearbed Copse ( Fig 1) in Dock Lane, Beaulieu— known lo­cally as ‘Hamp­shire’s Mil­lion­aire Row’— the only way this mag­i­cal wood­land re­treat on the eastern bank of the River Beaulieu can be viewed by out­siders is from the wa­ter be­low. Built in the 1930s, in the Tu­dor style of tim­ber and ren­dered walls un­der a thatched roof with leaded-light win­dows that was all the rage at the time, Spearbed Copse has been owned by the Show­er­ing fam­ily of Baby­cham fame since the early 1960s.

Set in more than 12 acres of won­der­ful wood­land gardens, with a swim­ming pool, a ten­nis court, a boathouse, a pri­vate deep-wa­ter jetty and di­rect ac­cess to the wa­ters of the So­lent, it is now for sale through Knight Frank (020–7629 8171) at a guide price of £8 mil­lion.

Pro­tected on all sides by the syl­van Beaulieu es­tate, Spearbed Copse of­fers 5,540sq ft of pleas­antly old-fash­ioned ac­com­mo­da­tion on three floors in the main house, in­clud­ing three re­cep­tion rooms, a kitchen/ break­fast room, three bed­room suites, four bed­rooms and a fam­ily bath­room. Nearby Wendy’s Cot­tage, con­verted from the orig­i­nal garage block, pro­vides a fur­ther 2,290sq ft of liv­ing space, with a large, open-plan liv­ing room, a kitchen and two bed­rooms with en-suite bath­rooms.

For se­ri­ous hands-on sailors and their bud­ding Swal­lows and Ama­zons, nowhere quite matches the ap­peal— or the range— of the wa­ter­side prop­er­ties that line the es­tu­ar­ies of the scenic South-west, which com­bine a choice of the UK’S best mari­nas and sail­ing clubs with shel­ter from the worst of the weather. The bus­tle of life on the wa­ter is a con­stant source of en­ter­tain­ment for land­lub­bers laz­ing on their ter­races.

Houses with di­rect wa­ter ac­cess and pri­vate moor­ings al­ways com­mand a pre­mium, with the best of­ten re­main­ing within the same fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions. Har­riet Cundy of Devon agents Marc­hand Petit (01548 844473) is han­dling the sale— at a guide price of £1.5m— of the iconic Wa­ter­side ( Fig 2) on the wa­ter’s edge at Lower

Bat­son, near Sal­combe, which has been in the hands of its cur­rent own­ers since the early 1980s.

Im­me­di­ately recog­nis­able to any­one who has sailed these wa­ters, the south­fac­ing, Vic­to­rian stone house rises di­rectly above the wa­ter near the slip­way on Bat­son Creek. Its own moor­ing can be ac­cessed from a gate at the bot­tom of the gar­den and its lofty po­si­tion—and large sun ter­race run­ning the length of the main house — en­sures un­in­ter­rupted views of the creek and the sur­round­ing coun­try­side. The creek it­self leads into Sal­combe Har­bour and on out to sea.

Dur­ing their ten­ure, the ven­dors have mod­ernised and up­dated the house, whose stone walls, cov­ered with climb­ing roses, jas­mine and fuschia, are com­ple­mented by green-painted shut­ters on all the first-floor win­dows.

The main house has a tidy, 1,454sq ft of ac­com­mo­da­tion, ar­ranged on two floors, with a large sit­ting room, a din­ing room and a kitchen/ break­fast room on the ground floor and a mas­ter suite, two bed­rooms and a bath­room on the first. A re­cently built gar­den room opens onto the ter­race and gardens and has the same en­chant­ing views of the creek.

With Europe be­com­ing more ex­pen­sive for ster­ling buy­ers in the wake of Brexit, own­ing a home in Devon or Corn­wall sud­denly makes a lot of sense for fam­i­lies keen to take to the waves, says Jonathan Cun­liffe of Sav­ills in Truro (01872 243200), a keen sailor him­self, who quotes a guide price of £1.75m for Wa­ter­side House ( Fig 3), in the quaint, un­spoilt fish­ing vil­lage of Pol­ruan, which is bounded by the River Fowey and the sea.

Presently owned by the ar­chi­tect Robert Davis, whose pas­sion is rac­ing Fowey’s unique Troy-class boats and who com­mutes be­tween his prac­tice in Rom­sey and his home in Pol­ruan, the site of Wa­ter­side House was once home to Slade’s ship­yard, whose flag­ship schooner, Jane Slade, was the in­spi­ra­tion for Daphne du Mau­rier’s first novel The Lov­ing Spirit.

It later housed the lo­cal dinghy club, and then the Wa­ter­side Bistro, which was con­verted into a fam­ily home in the 1980s. In 2002, the en­tire house was up­graded and the in­te­rior re­designed by Mr Davis, who is now down­siz­ing.

For sale for the first time in 15 years, Wa­ter­side House oc­cu­pies a spec­tac­u­lar wa­ter­front po­si­tion with mag­nif­i­cent views over the River Fowey. Its 3,790sq ft of liv­ing space in­cludes a huge open-plan re­cep­tion/din­ing/ kitchen area, a cov­ered ter­race for al­fresco din­ing, a study, mas­ter and guest suites and three bed­rooms, plus a large loft room, cur­rently used as a gym/sail loft and oc­ca­sional bed­room. A de­tached, 24ft-long, pur­pose­built boathouse leads out to the wa­ter­side ter­race with its pri­vate quay, two sets of steps to the wa­ter and two out­haul moor­ings for boats up to 4.5m (15ft) (sub­ject to Har­bour Com­mis­sioner’s li­cence).

Di­rect wa­ter ac­cess com­mands a pre­mium

Fig 1: Mag­i­cal Spearbed Copse, at Beaulieu, Hamp­shire, can only be seen from the wa­ter. £ 8m

Fig 2: Laze on the sun ter­race at Wa­ter­side, at Lower Bat­son, Devon, or get on the creek. £1.5m

Fig 3: On the wa­ter­front: with amaz­ing views, Wa­ter­side House in Pol­ruan, Corn­wall is on the mar­ket for the first time in 15 years. £1.75m

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