Country houses for sale

The old sail loft which became a quirky family home, with spellbinding views over the River Exe

Wixels is unique, in its unique interiors and stunning vistas. Penny Churchill reports.

A strong maritime history may not be a reason to purchase a family home, but it certainly does make a good story, especially in the case of a property and beautiful and quirky as this one.

A south Devon landmark currently on the market with Knight Frank at a guide price of £3m, Grade II-listed Wixels at Topsham sits on the bank of the River Exe, surrounded on three sides by the water, with far-reaching views down the estuary towards Exmouth.

‘Their love of the sea is reflected in quirky corners of the house’

According to its listing, the house, the name of which means ‘nails’ – reflecting its historic links with Topsham’s shipbuilding past – dates from the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was a sail loft or similar building.

Converted to a dwelling in 1920, it is notable for the quality of its building work, in particular its Dutch gabling, wrought ironwork and decorative stonework along the walls of the old quay.

‘The heart of the house provides direct access to the south-facing terrace and the water’

Wixels was bought in the 1990s as a retirement home by its current owner and her husband, an architect, both keen sailors whose love of the sea is reflected in quirky corners of the house, such as the Cabin, an occasional fifth bedroom, which boasts a clinker-built boat suspended from the ceiling.

Magical sunsets can be enjoyed from the River Room, which has outstanding views down the Exe towards the Haldon Hills, and the kitchen/breakfast room, the heart of the house, provides direct access to the south-facing terrace and the water.

Wixels’s garden is exotic and mature, offering privacy while framing the beautiful views over the Exe.

Wixels is on the market with Knight Frank at a guide price of £3m. For more information and images, please click here.