Waterside Property for Sale Pembrokeshire

£650,000

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A Habitation Retrieved

In 1971 my then wife and I and our children were a busy urban family in Bristol. We had just had to surrender a tenancy of a thatched two up and two down, outside loo,cottage in Dorset and were on the lookout for a holiday retreat for a balancing taste of country life for all of us.

We took a holiday in Pembrokeshire and fell in love, particularly with the "secret waterway" of the river Cleddau.

Bristol to Pembroke, post Severn bridge but pre M4 was four and a half hours. Agents and others all told us we would not find a river frontage house. Robert Graves' account of house finding against the odds in "Goodbye To All That" told us otherwise.


"Family Two Holer"

Three tiring weekends making our way down every lane, cart track, and barrow run leading to the river followed and our last effort of weekend three, before heading home, took us down Point Lane, Cosheston.

The lane runs east to west into the evening sun and as it dropped down to the river, there, glinting through the trees we saw a slate roof. Derelict. Shelter for cows. No doors or windows. A gaping hole in the main roof. access challenging. services none.

Two hours later the deal was done. The landowner would not sell but we could have a 20 year lease and we would do basic repairs.

Oh for the youthful energy of those years! Six months of a "Design and Build" genius friend, and some enthusiastic less skilled effort from us and whoever else we could rope in, and we had a house on the edge of the river in primitive liveable condition and with a good dose of magic about it. No electricity mind you. Not even a cordless drill which had yet to be invented. Oil lamps; wood heating; well water.

Sanitation in the form of the original family two holer, its whitewashed wall signed daily by a youthful visitor thirty years before with an addition low down..."Anne is a nice girl".

And then there were boats: a twenty foot open clinker whaler with a cantankerous Seagull engine and very long manly oars; a Swallows and Amazon's Tinker 12 with red sails; a Polynesian catamaran; and eventually a 30 foot sloop to commute once a year from Bristol to CP1, the farm mooring a short dinghy row from the foreshore. For a year or two a pilot scheme for a sail training venture was launched. A repro Yorkshire Cobble built for a TV series was acquired; the yacht was pressed into service; and all coming and going, shopping ,building materials and trips to the pub came and went exclusively by water in a big flat bottom dory leaving the farm track to the cows.

But that wasn't enough. For more than 25 years, two or three times a year 25 or 30 performing arts students would take over the barns and the whole complex; work up a pub musical performance and then hit the locals with it. They were almost always memorable special and life enhancing nights, quite literally in some cases....there are I suspect, a few children now of student age who owe their existence to Point Farm.

For 20 years, under the lease, we only had the house, barn, milking parlour and calf houses with their immediate curtilege. The focus was on the river. In 1990 the landowner offered to sell together with about 10 acres of land...effectively the whole of Cosheston point. Oh yes!

The fields rising from the river bank are very attractive and are excellent pasture. The 3/4 acre former orchard and paddock to the south had been unused for decades and once it was cleared and worked down was perfect for organic cultivation....south facing, well drained with good deep "Cosh" (ie early potato) soil, untouched by chemicals.

A small herd of goats were run for a year or two, involving a disconcerting Christmas with Sexy Rexy the newly acquired Billy. He didn't take kindly to being shut up in a shed when there were wives about so he smashed his way out repeatedly and, it has to be said, finally contrived to hang himself on his tether after he had done his duty. He didn't leave a note or anything but a kid arrived in due course so I suppose in a goaty way he did.

There followed a brief trial period with six male kids (otherwise to be bumped off at birth) fattening up for meat. It was akin to having a troop of delinquents roaming the land looking for trouble. Vegetable and herb growing followed and a friend had a go at worm farming.

Meanwhile family commitments meant obtaining planning permission, first for the conversion of the calf sheds to an annexe for an elderly mum, and later for a 3 bedroom dwelling out of the adjoining barn and milking parlour. The same Design and Build friend drew up the plans and permission was granted. The annexe appeared and was lived in. The second conversion was started and the recycled oak floor to the milking parlour and simple work to the barn has made an excellent space for students, canoeing party and other visits from a children's home, an amateur opera company, and innumerable parties,with bunk house accommodation.

More recently (and why not years before I cannot say) an unused room forming part of the main house has been given new life as a sun room looking out over the river when the tide is in and a bird sanctuary when it is not, with all the continuous changes in between.

Working on the roof in the seventies a family group came walking down to the shore and stopped to watch us. I got talking to them, and asked for the man's name. His reply was the name written so many times on the wall of the family two holer 30 or more years before. "And this is your wife Anne" I said. "No, Barbara", he replied.

Three and sometimes four generations of the family had been living there, maybe 12 or 15 people, farming about 40 acres, rowing across the river to sell eggs ,milk, and cheese. It must have been hard going and came to an end when the Germans, aiming for the fuel tanks opposite, missed, and rock fragments smashed through the house roof. They moved out and the buildings were left empty for 25 years. We found the remains of their rowing boat under an overgrown hedge.

It has been a joy. Tough and challenging at times; any amount of hard work; always presenting something useful and purposeful to do; but rewarding and satisfying and from to time offering a connection to what has gone on here before and to nature, and to life which feels right. Now it is our turn to give a salute of gratitude to Point Farm and let it open its arms to others.

Who will come next?

 

 

   
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email malcolm@waterside-property-pembrokeshire.co.uk

Phone 01646 622583
   
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