Sunday, 24 October 2021

Converted barn’s just as pleasant for pheasants

Converted barn’s just as pleasant for pheasants

A CONVERTED barn with four bedrooms and three bathrooms is on the market in Ipsden.

Walnut Tree Barn has been home to Jilly Carter and her husband Dr Tim Corn for the past 15 years.

The original structure dates from the 18th century, with the conversion having been carried out in the early Nineties.

Jilly says that after moving in she and Tim put in two new bathrooms and a new kitchen.

They also rejigged the bedrooms and put their stamp on the half an acre of mature gardens, which wrap around three sides of the property.

“There was a horrible dark, dank pond as you came up the drive and we got rid of that and put in a more formal parterre with beautiful white roses and lavender,” says Jilly.

“We cut down the leylandii, which were very dark, and we planted about 50 beautiful trees with a silvery bark.

“The bird life here is extraordinary, especially for birds like the red kite and the goldfinch. It’s just marvellous.

“And the wildlife — we get the odd fox, badgers, loads of rabbits. Sometimes we have up to a dozen wild pheasants in the garden strutting their stuff.”

Jilly works as a communications consultant and Tim is a psychiatrist and non-executive director.

“We love it here because up until recently we’ve both been full-time, self-employed people who have travelled all over the world,” says Jilly. “It has been just wonderful to come back here after the chaos of Heathrow and all the rest of it to the peace and quiet.”

The couple are now grandparents and Walnut Tree Barn has proved popular with the younger members of the family.

“It’s very much a place where our grandchildren just love to come,” says Jilly.

“They come regularly and we go on nature walks. We go and visit the local donkey called Alfie. That’s a major treat where we go and feed him carrots and apples.

“The only reason we’re moving is because we’re going to be moving near our children who have decamped to Hove in East Sussex.”

Inside the entrance to the property, a large vaulted dining and reception hall occupies the centre of the barn, opening on to the kitchen-breakfast room and with stairs leading up to the galleried sitting room.

“You walk in and people’s jaws drop for two reasons,” says Jilly.

“First of all the space and the flow of it — the beautiful beams.

“But above all else people come here and they are mesmerised by the view.

“We have three wonderful picture windows in a row in the sitting room and the number of times people have said ‘This is like a David Hockney triptych.’

“It’s like three Hockney paintings all in a row, capturing the baby lambs and all the trees in full leaf.”

Jilly says the panoramic views are also popular with patrons at the neighbouring King William IV pub.

“We’re two doors down from the King William,” she says. “It’s a beautiful pub and people come from miles around. There’s no music, there’s no noise, there’s just walkers and cyclists.

“They come and they sit there at the tables outside to appreciate the view. Especially during lockdown, people have discovered Ipsden and the wonderful walking and countryside around here.”

As well as the pub, Ipsden has a village shop that includes a post office.

Also nearby is Blue Tin Produce, which the Times recently named as one of the 30 best farm shops in Britain. In response to the covid pandemic, the owners added a coffee bar with outdoor seating that also serves wine and light bites.

For supermarket shopping, Walnut Tree Barn is also within easy reach of Waitrose in Wallingford.

“It’s four miles and Wallingford is a lovely town,” says Jilly. “There’s a lot more independent shops coming back and there’s a gorgeous little wine bar called Le Clos, run by a Frenchman who used to run The Sweet Olive in Didcot, so that’s excellent.

“There’s another restaurant called the Five Little Pigs and, of course, there’s the Agatha Christie connection. She had a house where she wrote several books.”

With two bedrooms that have the option of being used as studies, one upstairs and one downstairs, the flexibility of the accommodation at Walnut Tree Barn meant that during the lockdowns Jilly and Tim were able to continue with their professional lives.

“Communications are excellent here,” says Jilly. “We’ve got excellent fast broadband speeds and we’ve been working from home for 18 months since the pandemic struck.”

Walnut Tree Barn has a guide price of £1,750,000. For more information and to arrange a viewing, call Robinson Sherston on (01491) 614000.

Property