Sunday, 19 September 2021

Life tastes all the sweeter with a gastropub close by

IT’S almost the end of summer — so time to celebrate all that’s good and bountiful

IT’S almost the end of summer — so time to celebrate all that’s good and bountiful in our local area.

This year’s Henley Show takes place on Saturday, September 12, and offers the chance to meet local producers and farmers and sample their wares.

• Whether you’re talking legs of lamb or bottles of beer, these are the people who supply South Oxfordshire’s celebrated gastropubs.

This week, we focus on some prime cuts of property served up in tasty locations close to some of the best hostelries the area has to offer. For starters, we have...


AGENT: Philip Booth Esq

GUIDE PRICE: £1,500,000


The Unicorn, Kingwood Common. Serving freshly cooked British food and innovative classics, sourced locally and embodying the food provenance ethos.

The Greyhound, Peppard Common. TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson’s take on comforting pub grub in a stylish beamed inn with quirky touches.

Approached down a sweeping gravel driveway, this attractive four-bedroom detached house has been meticulously restored to its original 1934 chic by current owner, John Blackwell, who moved in 21 years ago.

“I chose Moss Side Corner for several reasons — no passing traffic, the peace and tranquillity of the location, and the ease of travel into London and to Heathrow,” said John.

He has devoted much of his time to making Moss Side Corner his ideal home, with modern conveniences and attention to detail throughout.

“I particularly love the warmth of the house, with its open fires — especially at Christmas,” he said.

There are open fires in the dining room and drawing room, and the kitchen features an extensive range of hand-crafted ivory painted cabinets with wicker storage baskets and solid granite work surfaces and a large utility room and cloakroom.

The study/family room features an extensive range of hand-built fully fitted bookcases, display cabinets and a central desk incorporating home working technologies. As a nice touch, John has displayed the house’s original architectural drawings and first set of sales particulars here — Moss Side Corner having originally been commissioned by John’s neighbour Mollie Walker.

On the first floor there are four double bedrooms. The 21ft master bedroom has an adjoining dressing room and en suite bathroom.

The guest bedroom has an en suite shower room and there is a family bathroom. Outside, the enclosed gardens extend to approaching three-quarters of an acre and there is a garage. The sale also comes with detailed loft conversion plans and planning approval for two further double bedrooms and a “Jack and Jill” bathroom, creating an additional 650 square feet of living space.

Today’s incarnation of Moss Side Corner would suit a family looking for their “forever home”.

John said: “I will miss the peace and quiet of Moss Side Corner — you’re right in the heart of Kingwood Common, which has around 150 acres of wooded footpaths and bridleways and an abundance of wildlife including deer and willow warblers.”

And while he’s out exploring this countryside... “My partner Sally and I enjoy many of the local eateries on foot — we are spoilt for choice.

“The Unicorn offers really good quality pub food and is on the doorstep, but we also like to visit The Greyhound, The Crooked Billet and Orwells at Shiplake Cross, all of which are a short drive away.”

Rupert’s Guard, Henley

AGENT: Savills

RENT: £1,550pcm plus fees

CLOSE TO... numerous gourmet pubs including The Three Tuns, which serves traditional pub favourites, using local ingredients where possible, including Machin’s aged topside of roast beef and free range Watlington pork belly.

IF you’re looking for a cosy two-bedroom period cottage with parking in central Henley, this takes some beating. Décor is neutral, there’s a patio garden and living here you’ll be a stone’s throw from local shops, the river and, of course, enough eateries to dine at a different place every night.

Hambleden Mill, Mill End

AGENT: Brookstones

RENT: £1,600pcm plus fees


The Dog and Badger, Medmenham. A gastropub-restaurant that has been extensively refurbished and reopened only a few weeks ago.

The Stag and Huntsman, Hambleden. Offers good pub grub a 10-minute flat walk away.

The Flower Pot, Aston. Rural country inn with a great beer garden.

Perfectly placed for a gourmet pub crawl, Mill End sits between Henley and Marlow so it’s close to a number of fine dining places.

Hambleden’s former water mill has been converted into apartments, including this two-bedroom first floor flat, which shows its heritage with exposed wooden beams in the open-plan living area.

The kitchen has built in appliances including a dishwasher, plus there’s a garage for two cars.

All windows overlook the river, which as you can see here, is pretty magical.


AGENT: Peers & Hilton

GUIDE PRICE: £625,000

CLOSE TO... The Frog at Skirmett. A great pub that serves locally sourced venison and quality gourmet fare including roast rump of Oxfordshire lamb in port and redcurrant jus.

A QUICK glance at the Grade II listed Isabel Cottage, right by the Frog, may have you thinking you just saw Miss Marple pop out to take tea with the Vicar of Dibley. This darling two-bedroom 16th-century cottage is in immaculate condition with a comfortable, cosy feel.

The outside has both a front and back garden (shown here is the front), and inside it’s stacked with period features such as a working inglenook fireplace.

An extra bonus is the insulated outbuilding which is split in two with utility room/WC and storage room which could be converted into a home office.


AGENT: Knight Frank

GUIDE PRICE: £1,275,000


The Crooked Billet, Stoke Row. Rustic and renowned inn offering modern and classic British cuisine using local produce, such as local pork belly, braised pheasant, and local goat’s cheese soufflé. For the freshest of the fresh, the pub even offers free meals in exchange for produce direct from your own garden.

The Cherry Tree, Stoke Row. Pretty contemporary-styled pub offering a perfect blend of classic and modern dishes, including local Lawlor’s bread with balsamic and oils and local butcher’s sausages and mash.

THIS new-build has perfect proportions of 4/3/3 (four bedrooms, three bathrooms, three reception rooms) and is in a tucked away location close to the centre of the village and all the local pubs, including The Black Horse, which may not be gourmet but is still known locally as a “hidden treasure”.

As you’d expect, the house has contemporary air-source pump heating, an open plan kitchen/diner with bi-fold doors to a patio, a wood-burning stove in the living room, IT connections everywhere, and immaculate modern fittings.

However, the developers have kept local surroundings in mind with their choice of materials such as flint and wood, and planted a herb garden at the front.

It’s spot on for a modern family that likes to entertain and who would love a life in the country.


AGENT: Ballards

GUIDE PRICE: £1,600,000


The Baskerville, Lower Shiplake. Nominated for Best Gastropub in Oxfordshire 2015, this offers a fine selection of fare, including steak, Loddon Ale and chestnut mushroom pie, and roast leg of Bassibones Farm lamb.

The Ploughden Arms, Shiplake Cross. Brimming with originality and serving high quality favourite and forgotten dishes from bygone eras, including Trinity Cream — the original crème brûlée hailing from Trinity College, Cambridge, in the 1600s, some 50 years before the French first published a recipe.

Orwells, Shiplake Row. Award-winning 18th century pub with a modern country feel, serving high-class dishes with ingredients such as local rabbit and rhubarb.

A PROPERTY in the same vein as Greenbanks, Stoke Row, but on a larger scale with five bedrooms, five receptions, three or four bathrooms and more “luxe”, this is a house fit for a modern family who need their space.

Cambridge House is in impecable shape, having been well-loved by the current owners, and its positioned in a quiet location that’s a short walk from the centre of the village.

Standout features include the impressive hall and staircase, the designer glass roof on the sitting/breakfast room, and the tailor-made play area in the garden.


AGENT: Savills

RENT: Guide price of £3,000 pcm plus fees


Coppa Club, Sonning. The newly opened Coppa Club at The Great House is right by Sonning Bridge and overlooks the river with a pretty river terrace. According to the website it “serves an uncomplicated menu based on a love of fresh, simple, Italian ingredients”.

The French Horn, Sonning Eye. Fancy and known for its duck.

The Bull Inn, Sonning. Home-made pub food in traditional surroundings.

THIS six-bedroom house in Sonning has plenty of character with open fireplaces and ceiling beams, but its crowning glory has to be the beautiful back garden.

Being dead centre, you can walk to local haunts, including The Mill at Sonning dinner theatre. But if, like most of us, you just can’t give up your car, the double garage and driveway won’t disappoint.

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