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The Simple Life: pared-back properties in nature

Looking to get away from it all? Try one of these dreamy pared-back properties for a taste of pastoral living. From projects crying out for TLC to sprawling listed mansions, we've got it all.

The Project, Powys

Never has a property been so mistermed as ‘The Town House’, a derelict cottage and one acre plot in the depths of Powys. It’s a blank canvas in need of a big imagination and deep pockets but the £175,000 asking price should leave some spare change for a bathroom suite or two. Get there before a developer does, and nab the adjacent plot (£400,000) if you don’t like the idea of nosy neighbours.

The Lakeside Lodge, Berkshire

This chalet-style abode is one of a number of timbered retreats scattered about the grounds of a handsome Georgian manor house near Marlow. With a golf course, lakes, River Thames marina and Capability Brown-designed grounds at your fingertips, every diversion and distraction is taken care of. With the Alps off the cards for now, close your eyes, melt some cheese, and you could be in Switzerland, well the low-lying parts… all for £420,000.

The Writer’s Retreat, Somerset

Looking for somewhere to pen your next – or first – work of poetry? Experience Wordsworth’s ‘bliss of solitude’ in the landscape that inspired him, with this picture postcard cottage on the edge of the Quantock Hills, on for £575,000. It ticks every box – Grade II listed, flagstone floors, wood burning stove. And if that masterpiece never materialises, it’ll do wonders for your Instagram feed.

Walker’s Paradise, Devon

Step out of the door of Stag Cottage and take your pick of walks to suit your mood – wild moorland, hushed woodland, rugged coastal paths and secluded coves. And with six bedrooms across the main house and annexe, there’s room for your friends to stay, or, better still, paying guests. The £745,000 price tag includes 2.8 of gardens and paddocks and a spot of moorland mystery – what’s thought to be the stony remains of a shepherd’s hut.

The Houseboat, Suffolk

The ultimate bolthole for the itchy of feet, this three bedroom former Dutch barge is moored on the River Deben. Watch the sunset from the foredeck or retreat to the saloon with its wood burning stove and windows to port and starboard. Your ticket to the high seas, or rather the low waters, is priced at £180,000 plus a monthly mooring charge of £370.

The Country Estate, Devon

Owning the 32 acres around your home should secure the privacy you’re after, together with the long private drive and mature woodland surround. And if splendid isolation weren’t enough you can disappear into your own version of Bridgerton, luxuriating in wood panelling, ornate ceilings and a master bedroom bearing the name of a former guest — Cromwell. All yours for £1.75m.

The Pastoral Paradise, Stroud

Live the rural dream with this secluded, 17th century Grade II listed converted mill house. You get 4.425 acres of lush Cotswolds land, set deep in the heart of the stunning Golden Valley (hills made famous by the English poet Laurie Lee). £960,000 will buy you five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a large outbuilding and garage that comes with planning permission to extend. We’re thinking… potter’s workshop? IRL yoga studio? Beautiful landscaped gardens lead down to the Painswick stream for balmy days by the waterside.

The Divine Conversion, Worcestershire

This incredible conversion of the former Holywell Chapel sits on a wooded hillside with uninterrupted views of the lush Malvern Hills. Open your swanky bifold doors for spectacular views across the Severn Valley to the Cotswolds. This ultra-modern, contemporary chic conversion is all about open-plan living, featuring five bedrooms and a master ensuite. The Chapel grounds adjoin the Malvern Hills, accessed via a personal gate directly to the bridleway, cycle and footpath networks, so nature lovers will be in seventh heaven. Own this beauty for £1.2m.

The Private Vantage Point, West Sussex

It’s a smidge over the average budget at £1.85m, but the stunning South Downs views from ‘Fridays’ — a fabulous family home on the West Sussex-Hampshire border — can’t fail to give you the Friday feels. Breakfast with a view on your own patio? Yes please. Located on a private road on Marley Common and with a sweeping private driveway, seclusion is pretty guaranteed. But if you do feel like popping out, Haslemere town is just minutes away with shops, restaurants, a Waitrose, and a mainline station to London. Sorted. Wonder if there’s any wiggle room on the price tag…

The Riverside Retreat, North Devon

Private river beach and slipway on your tick list, madam? Hide yourself away at Boat Hyde, a 5-bed character stunner where you can live the landed dream on the banks of the River Torridge in North Devon. Roll around in four acres of undisturbed bucolic bliss. And, if you prefer the saddle to the mainsail, this beaut comes with a handy paddock. Plus, a tennis court, a boat house, a four-bed annexe and a castellated gun emplacement for seeing off, er, pirates? (It’s 2021 – anything could happen).

The Moorland Manor, Cornwall

The other-worldly sounding Altarnun, on the northern edge of the wild and mysterious Bodmin Moor, is a gorgeous period property that won’t cost you the (whole) earth (just a cool £995,000). This ancient moorland manor reputedly has its own microclimate… homegrown pineapple anyone? Plus a walled garden, lawns and even a swimming pool for enjoying those balmy climes. You also get a second property. Alongside the Grade II Listed 14th century manor is a three-bedroom cottage, which either gives you a rental stream or somewhere to house the aged parents.

The Chic Chalet, Dorset

No work required on this fully renovated 4-bed chalet style house in a former quarry about 5 miles south east of historic Sherborne. Which leaves you to concentrate on the acre of glorious grounds and whatever it is you want to do in the workshop.  Your new life comes at a cost of £699,950.

Renovation by the River, Cambridgeshire

The flat fenlands aren’t for everyone, but from this beautifully renovated riverside house you can see for miles and miles. Just think how spectacular the sunrises and sunsets will be from that well-placed balcony. Walking, cycling, boating and canoeing on and along the Great River Ouse are all daily options directly from your door. There’s a chance to buy a permanent mooring, too. As long as you’re not in the market for rolling countryside hills, this could be the perfect rural option at a bargain price of £395,000. 

Georgian Style, Suffolk

Curb appeal high up on your list of rural property must-haves? You won’t find prettier than this £995,000 Suffolk beauty, the Kate Moss of houses, that’ll look good whatever the season. Its huge gardens (you’ll want green fingers or deep pockets to keep these 1.65 acres looking good) contain the remains of an original mill, and there are period features galore inside. The property is surrounded by stunning countryside in every direction too.

The Boujee Barn, Norfolk

The perfect barn conversion set in farmland just a couple of miles from the coast, with panoramic views of wide-open fields and the huge Norfolk skies. If you’re after seclusion you’ll have private landscaped gardens and cleverly positioned outdoor terraces and seating areas, ideal for al fresco dining with loved ones. At a cool £995,000, you can even pop Granny in the annex. 

With All the Trimmings, Northamptonshire

You’d be lucky to find a more isolated property in the whole of Northants than the beautifully serene Brockhill Lodge. Surrounded on all sides by rolling, unspoilt countryside, this ironstone country house is set in an acre and a half of landscaped gardens close to the village of Watford and dates from 1823. As well as a gorgeous Georgian pad and annex, you’ll also be the proud proprietor of a double garage, detached gym and two separate barns ripe for conversion, not to mention a garden pub, sauna, shower room and BBQ hut. Who even needs neighbours? And at £1.1m, you’ll be relieved the place is in a spotlessly move-inable condition.

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