The Haven is a magnificent house by the sea that invites all sorts of superlatives. Penny Churchill takes a look.
Is this the best waterside house for sale on the English coast right now? It’s hard to think of a finer one than this example down on the south Cornish coast, where Falmouth-based Jonathan Cunliffe quotes a guide price of £4m for The Haven on The Esplanade in the yachting Mecca of Fowey.
Only three families have lived at The Haven since it was first built in 1877 by Lt Henry Clarke RN, who named the rooms after some of the ships in which he served. He was followed by the writer and academic Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch who first visited Fowey in 1879, bought The Haven in 1892 and lived there until his death in 1944.
Sir Arthur was much involved with the life of the town: he was chairman of Fowey Harbour Commissioners for more than 20 years and Commodore of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club for more than 30 years. The present owners bought the house from Sir Arthur’s family in 1980.
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The Haven, listed Grade II, occupies a position of exceptional size and level ground overlooking the harbour entrance and is one of very few detached houses on the waterfront. It enjoys uninterrupted views of Pont Pill, Polruan village and out to sea — an ever-changing panorama framed by the two castles that sit either side of the harbour.
The house offers 7,376sq ft of accommodation on three floors, including four reception rooms, five bedrooms, a large kitchen/breakfast room plus extensive cellars and attics — all of which offer scope for updating and improvement.
The large terraced garden, designed by an Inchbald School of Design graduate, is laid out in two parts — one a more formal private garden, the other a less formal area overlooking the harbour with a paved terrace running the length of the house.
The kitchen garden on the lowest level has room for a swimming pool and a gate leading down to Whitehouse beach; a gate from the upper-level courtyard garden allows access to the car park, which has room for four/five family cars.
Fowey: What you need to know
Location: On the west bank of a huge natural harbour in the south-east of Cornwall, where the River Fowey flows out into the English Channel.
Atmosphere: A delightful settlement that dates back to the 7th century, with quaint, twisting streets, a picture-perfect harbour and quirky galleries, shops and cafés.
Things to do: Wandering the streets and soaking up the atmosphere is, in all honesty, the number one pastime; but the yachting club is famous, and the surrounding area (it sits within an AONB) is exquisitely pretty. There is an aquarium in town, a splendid little beach round the corner at the wonderfully-named Readymoney Cove, and castles both sides of the harbour; St Catherine’s Castle is just below Fowey on the west side, while Polruan Castle is across the water on the eastern side. You’ll also never go hungry here: some 57 restaurants, cafés and pubs are listed on the local town website!
Schools: There is a primary school in Fowey rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted; the local state secondary school, Fowey River Academy, is currently listed as ‘requires improvement’, but a new head is in place and it seems a huge amount of work is going on to put things back on track.
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