Standing in the grounds of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the only thing that interrupts the views of the sea is the occasional cow. Where on the Mediterranean are there such vast swathes of sea views unfettered by houses?
For this, we have to be grateful that coastal-property developments in Devon and Cornwall are relatively unusual. But this summer, by virtue of being rebuilds on older property footprints, there are a few options in the pipeline that will satisfy those wanting a second home without the associated hassles of outright ownership. The downside to developments is obvious: you’ll rarely have the outdoor space and the same sense of privacy as you do with a private house. However, the upsides include onsite facilities, management companies and hassle-free rental schemes.
Fresh on the market this month is a development of wooden homes being built on the country estate near St Austell formerly owned by the Coode family. The main house was built for Edward Coode, a successful banker and great-great-great-grandfather of the Eton-educated rower who won gold in the Athens Olympics.
The family sold the estate in 2002, and today, work is under way to transform the house into The Cornwall, a 65-bedroom hotel run by Bespoke Hotels, with a spa, indoor pool and tennis courts. Meanwhile, 60 wooden homes are being built in the 43 acres of parkland. These two- and three-bedroom duplexes, which start at £315,000, are being sold freehold under a stay-and-let facility, whereby owners use their homes for six weeks of the year and they are let out through the hotel for the remainder. Sales director at The Cornwall, Sam Weller, says the houses, which have slate roofs and walls that are partly clad in cedar board, ‘are wooden, but they’re not overgrown saunas’.
He believes the attractions are obvious: ‘We think the buyers will be after something they can enjoy while they’re here and forget about when they’re not. No one wants to machete their way through the garden every time they come on holiday.’ Another plus factor in the package is the onsite facilities. ‘The weather’s unpredictable, so having everything onsite to entertain the children is a blessing,’ says Mr Weller.
What is immediately missing, however, is easy access to the beach. The Cornwall is two miles inland from the coast, and although there are several beaches within striking distance including the pretty stretch of sand at Porthpean the houses have no sea view.
This isn’t the case at another option nearby. The Bay at Talland is a development of 42 properties being built on a former caravan park overlooking a picturesque beach between Looe and Polperro. Again, the houses have been designed with a lock-up-and-leave lifestyle in mind, and a management company will be on site to coordinate cleaning and letting, if required. Prices are marginally steeper, starting at £345,000 for a three-bedroom property, which comes with a share of the freehold. From The Bay, it’s just a short stroll via a private path down to the Talland Bay Beach Café, which reputedly serves the best crab sandwiches in the area.
Although both of these come with spas and swimming pools, those after something more simple, and nearer to London, should take a look at Oceanpoint, overlooking the beach of Saunton Sands on the north coast of Devon. Again built on the site of another house, the summer villa of the Christie family (responsible for founding Glyndebourne), the development is made up of two- and three-bedroom apartments, which range in price between £535,000 and £695,000.
Only four of the 15 properties remain available. ‘This success stems from the fact that the views are fantastic and these homes are one-offs: nothing else will be built in the future [the beach is backed by Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO biosphere reserve],’ explains developer Sam Dickson.
The Cornwall (01726 874545; www.thecornwall.com)
The Bay (01503 272224; www.thebaytalland.com)
Oceanpoint (0845 602 9311; www.oceanpoint-saunton.co.uk)