Wednesday, 25 November 2020

House with own moat is perfect place to savour ‘sundowner’

House with own moat is perfect place to savour ‘sundowner’

THERE’S no better place to enjoy the sunset than on a jetty beside your own moat.

That’s according to Julia Guy, who has lived at Moat Cottage in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell for about 36 years.

She has now put the Grade II-listed thatched property on the market to move closer to her family who live in London.

Mrs Guy and her husband Tony were looking to downsize when they bought the cottage in Sotwell Street after falling in love with the area.

She said: “My husband and I attended a cocktail party nearby and I turned to him and said that this was the sort of cottage that I would like to live in when we move to our next house and he agreed. Claire, our youngest of seven, was off to boarding school and so we were looking to downsize as the children began to leave home.

“Moat Cottage was the perfect place to be semi-retired — it is so pretty and is in a lovely part of the village. It is just delightful.

“Across the road is a pub, there is a village shop nearby and there is very much a community feeling here. The cottage has worked really well for us.”

The cottage has three bedrooms, with the master suite on the ground floor with an adjoining dressing room and en suite. Upstairs are two further bedrooms and a family bathroom.

Also on the ground floor is a sitting/dining room with an inglenook fireplace, a sun room, which overlooks the garden, a kitchen and a study.

Mrs Guy said: “The cottage is about 500 years old and there are so many original features with the black timbers and the exposed brick fireplace.

“It is very cosy with the open log fire and the bread oven. The thatch is in good order and it has wattle and daub walls which are also very thick and means it is deliciously warm in the winter but is still cool in the summer.

“It is very comfortable and cosy — the place is like wrapping yourself up in a nice warm coat. It’s just bliss.

“They knew a thing or two about making houses in those days and the thatch is so easy to maintain. It will certainly last for another 30 years without anything being done to it.”

Mrs Guy and her husband, who passed away seven years ago, enjoyed looking at and spending time in the garden as much as possible.

She said: “In the kitchen you can be doing the dishes and you can look out on to the garden. With the moat stream, ducks come along and bring their babies to show them off.

“We added the sun room not long after we moved in. It is a wonderful spot to read the papers and relax while overlooking the garden and the stream.

“This room makes the garden feel part of the house and means we can enjoy it all year round. The whole of the back garden is delightful.” Mrs Guy added that the property is ideal for entertaining friends and family.

“It is a lovely home to have parties,” she said. “We have had some lovely Christmases here and the garden is pretty and big and we have had some lovely parties with a marquee.

“For Claire’s 20th birthday party we had floating candles on the moat. It is just an idyllic spot in the evenings with the moon rising high and reflecting off the water and having the jetty.

“My favourite part is sitting on the jetty at 6pm with a bottle of bubbles with my friends as the sun goes down, which we are in exactly the right place for. It is perfect for sundowners and you have the whole stream to look down.” The moat stream was also said to have been used by Dr Edward Bach, who lived in the village, to make “flower remedies”. During the Thirties he would mix spring water with flowers.

Mrs Guy added that the biodiversity of the area was something she valued highly.

She said: “The other day I saw a kingfisher go both ways down the moat and a friend told me that means the biodiversity in the area is pretty perfect.

“There are also fields nearby which have 10ft strips of wildflowers. The biodiversity is amazing.”

She added: “The moat has never flooded in all the years we have been here and we would sign an affidavit to confirm this. It disappears under the road and it eventually joins up with the River Thames.”

Moat Cottage, which also features three patio areas and a detached double garage with plumbing, is on the market with Savills, of Bell Street, Henley, with a guide price of £825,000. For more information and to book a viewing, call (01491) 843001.

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