Country houses for sale

The spectacular house-cum-studio that’s inspired everyone from Kenneth Grahame to the Stone Roses and Oasis

Artists thrive in splendid isolation, and The Old Sawmills, on the Fowey Estuary, is a prime example. Penny Churchill takes a look.

A short boat ride from Fowey lies what is surely Cornwall’s most unusual waterside property: The Old Sawmills. This stands in its own private inlet on the western bank of the River Fowey, between the quaint village of Golant and the town.

Set amid 32 acres of private woodland with no road access, The Old Sawmills is for sale for the first time in 48 years, through the Exeter office of Strutt & Parker at a guide price of £2.25m.

In medieval times, the hidden creek, known as Bodmin Pill, was used by merchants as a landing point to avoid paying landing dues upriver at Lostwithiel, the ancient county capital.

The Old Sawmills is also thought to have provided author Kenneth Grahame, a regular visitor to Fowey, with some of the inspiration for The Wind in the Willows on a picnic to the creek in May 1907. In 1943, the site was requisitioned by the US Army in the run-up to the D-Day landings.

Having acquired the property in 1972, owner Dennis Smith — who describes himself as ‘a music-industry mentor’ — transformed the 3,135sq ft main building into one of the UK’s first residential recording studios. The legendary studio, where bands such as The Stone Roses, Oasis, The Verve, Supergrass and Muse worked by day and partied by night, is on the lower ground floor.

Oasis recorded their breakout album, Definitely, Maybe, at the house in 1990 and enjoyed the experience so much they used the studio — and the house — repeatedly after that. If you’re looking for lurid tales, however, it seems there are none: ‘They were really sweet — not at all like their public image,’ one of the studio staff apparently said at the time.

The comfortable main house comprises a large conservatory with dramatic water and woodland views, a huge central open-plan kitchen/sitting room, seven bedrooms and five bath/shower rooms.

With further accommodation available in the two-bedroom lodge, The Old Sawmills has also been a successful holiday let in recent years. It comes with two private pontoons and the right to a mooring on the Fowey estuary.

The Old Sawmills is for sale through Strutt & Parker at £2.25m — see more details and pictures.


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