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The Wilderness Bowsey Hill | Wargrave | Berkshire | RG10 8QJ The Wilderness Cover.indd 3

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THE WILDERNESS

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Although I was fortunate to live in a leafy part of North London close to the centre of one of the most exciting cities in the world, I always yearned to ‘escape to the country’. I wanted to exchange the close proximity of millions of others, and annoyances such as the daily pressure of battling to find a place to street park, for peace and quiet and my own space. My plan was to remain within easy reach of the capital but find somewhere that felt as if it was a million miles away. I spent two years combing the Thames valley and surrounding counties without success and had all but given up. Then by a stroke of good fortune I heard about a property that might come up for sale in the hills near Henley with access along a private road (restricted byway). I arrived to find a pretty cottage, one of seven other properties, set on top of a hill amongst the bluebell woods where it was unbelievably peaceful. Nothing disturbed the quiet – no traffic noise, no people rushing about, no competing for space, no pollution - just the breeze wafting through the trees and birdsong. I had found my paradise. The property was indeed for sale and within an hour we had shaken hands. That was 36 years ago and I have loved every minute of it. During this time there has been a rolling programme of improvements including the acquisition of two parcels of land which mean the house is now in the centre of its curtilage and well screened on all sides to provide privacy. The original cottage had been extended in the Arts and Crafts period with appropriate features and shortly before my arrival other parts had been demolished and a replacement constructed. Six years ago a new extension was added and the individual parts of the building brought together to create a satisfactory single entity. It is now difficult to visualise the separate elements. By contrast the inside has retained as many of the period features as possible but has been re-modelled to provide a comfortable modern home combined with new services, baths, showers and kitchen together with a complete refurbishment. There is ample storage. Inside the spacious and light reception hall has a welcoming wood burner recessed into a large handsome fireplace which very quickly sends heat through the building. The far end of the hall is all glass with doors onto the south-facing terrace and views over the garden. We find this is a very good place to put the Christmas tree and have enjoyed large family gatherings there for celebrations. All floors downstairs are tile or wood so easy to keep clean.

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The dining room, which is part of the new build, has dual aspect with a bay window with window seat and double doors onto the terrace. There is ample space for a good sized table. The floor is solid oak.

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The drawing room has pretty dual aspect Arts and Crafts windows with beautiful wrought handles, oak flooring and an open fireplace with stone surround. Doors open onto the conservatory which has views over the garden and pond. Much time is spent here relaxing, reading the paper or having a bite to eat and can be used throughout most of the year as there is a large radiator.

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The recently installed kitchen has a good range of wall and floor units dishwasher, double oven, fridge/freezer, microwave and hob with extractor There is plenty of counter for food preparation and space for a range if required. There is a utility room/boot room with further storage which leads to a shower room and WC beyond and the back door. This is especially practical if there are staff working outside as it may be isolated from the rest of the house. It is also good for wet or muddy dogs and joggers. These three rooms could be easily and economically combined to form one large kitchen if required.

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Upstairs there is a light and airy galleried landing and four bedrooms. The vaulted master bedroom is dual aspect, has a wall of built-in storage and double doors to the balcony which has space for a table and four chairs at one end and wonderful views over the property. There is a shower room immediately adjacent. The second bedroom is also dual aspect, has revealed brick walls, Arts and Craft windows, an en suite shower and bathroom with underfloor heating and a large airing cupboard housing the ‘Megaflow’ cylinder, so no tanks in the roof. There is again plenty of storage. The third bedroom is dual aspect and also has an en suite bathroom. The fourth bedroom is a good-sized single but is used at present as a study.

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Outside a large double garage has been built with up and over door, power and lighting and also an outbuilding, both of which already have windows, which might be converted to other uses subject to planning. There is also a dilapidated barn which has been in place since the beginning of the planning era so could also possibly be replaced by a wooden building for use as an office/annexe/gym etc. (There has already been a report on these possibilities by a planning consultant). The Property is accessed from the lane by two five bar gates, one electric, with gravel drives leading to a large parking area. The gravel drive continues past the house to the garage and outbuilding. Along the length of the back of the house there is a large York stone terrace. Stone paving also runs all the way round the house and forms an attractive courtyard and spacious approach to the front door with its pretty drop sided porch accessed by steps from the drive. There is lighting on all elevations.

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The grounds are designed to attract as much wildlife as possible and extend to approximately 1.2.acres which are fenced, hedged and easily maintained. There are many magnificent trees interspersed with areas of lawn and shrubs to create a parkland feeling. It is a property where you are very much in touch with the seasons, each having its own well defined character. In the Spring there is a procession of wild and naturalised flowers snowdrops, primroses, daffodils, violets, bluebells, spotted orchids, rhododendron, yellow iris, purple loosestrife to name but a few. There are also wild plums which flower very early to help the emerging insects as well as providing fruit in season. Damsons, plums and blackberries may be made into delicious jam. There is an impressive list of birds and animals which visit the garden. The dawn chorus is a delight especially as there is no competition. It is just like Springwatch. Summer is a verdant green and autumn glowing with russet colours. Winter has the benefit of the long views out into the surrounding woods which the fallen leaves have revealed and snow turns the garden and woods into a fairyland. It is amazing how many tracks there are in the snow come morning. The night is clearly a busy time.

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The large pond is a magnet for wildlife and there have been ducks nesting on the island from day one, including the spectacular mandarin ducks with their glorious colours. Frogs, toads and newts abound and the air is full of dragonflies by day and bats by night. Unusual species of butterfly and moth can be seen including the Purple Emperor butterfly and hawk moths. A truly bucolic environment.

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P2080480 (snowdrops)

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The village of Crazies hill is just at the bottom of the hill a pleasant stroll away and you are sure of a warm welcome from the Residents Association and The Horns pub which serves excellent food. The Residents Association organises frequent activities which are much enjoyed including a ‘fun’ carol evening with a scratch choir and wind quartet which fills the village hall to bursting point at Christmas. The nearby village of Wargrave has a plethora of activities and sporting opportunities and makes much use of the river with a regatta in the summer run by the Boat Club. Every other year there is a Festival which has a bewildering array of activities, possibly unrivalled anywhere, (see website). Apply early for tickets. One of the most beneficial aspects of the location is its proximity to transport links and nearby towns. Henley, Marlow, Reading and Maidenhead are close with Windsor and High Wycombe just a little further. Transport is excellent, especially being the right side of the river, with access to the M4 and M40 close by and trains to London in one direction and all points West (plus South and North) from Reading. Mainline train services go to London from Reading (Paddington from 25 minutes), Twyford and Maidenhead. Crossrail will come to Twyford which is 10 to 15 minutes away, shortly. There is a branch-line link to Twyford from Henley which stops at Wargrave. Heathrow is about half an hour. As well as the beautiful Thames Valley, the Chiltern Hills are on the doorstep and miles of walks begin at the front gate, preferably with dog, where you step onto the Berkshire loop of the Chiltern Way and the network of bridleways. There are plenty of opportunities for riding locally with livery close by. The fields round about are full of horses with attendant indoor arenas and even polo. Racing may be enjoyed at Ascot, Windsor and Newbury. There are many good golf courses including Temple, Henley and Huntercombe, with Castle Royal and Hennerton on the doorstep. At getting on for 500 ft above sea-level Bowsey Hill and neighbouring Ashley Hill stand out and may be seen from miles away in all directions. From various points on Bowsey Hill you can see in a circle Heathrow, Windsor, Ascot grandstand, Bracknell, Reading (surprisingly green), the Berkshire/Wiltshire border, Stokenchurch comms mast, the Chilterns including the windmill above Turville for fans of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, and High Wycombe. This covers six counties. The area is well served by schools including Rupert House in Henley, the Oratory, Radley, Wellington, Eton, Wycombe Abbey for Girls and Queen Anne’s in Caversham. Locally there is a very good primary school in Crazies Hill and the Piggott schools in Wargrave which are excellent and cover infant, primary and secondary education. The latter is an academy, Ofsted rated good and excellent.

Fine & Country (Ascot) - Ascot 5-7 High Street, Sunninghill Berkshire, SL5 9NQ Registered in England and Wales - 11023253 copyright © 2018 Fine & Country Ltd.

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Agents notes: All measurements are approximate and for general guidance only and whilst every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, they must not be relied on. The fixtures, fittings and appliances referred to have not been tested and therefore no guarantee can be given that they are in working order. Internal photographs are reproduced for general information and it must not be inferred that any item shown is included with the property. For a free valuation, contact the numbers listed on the brochure. Printed 08.11.2018

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FINE & COUNTRY Fine & Country is a global network of estate agencies specialising in the marketing, sale and rental of luxury residential property. With offices in the UK, Australia, Egypt, France, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Namibia, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, The Channel Islands, UAE, USA and West Africa we combine the widespread exposure of the international marketplace with the local expertise and knowledge of carefully selected independent property professionals. Fine & Country appreciates the most exclusive properties require a more compelling, sophisticated and intelligent presentation - leading to a common, yet uniquely exercised and successful strategy emphasising the lifestyle qualities of the property.

This unique approach to luxury homes marketing delivers high quality, intelligent and creative concepts for property promotion combined with the latest technology and marketing techniques. We understand moving home is one of the most important decisions you make; your home is both a financial and emotional investment. With Fine & Country you benefit from the local knowledge, experience, expertise and contacts of a well trained, educated and courteous team of professionals, working to make the sale or purchase of your property as stress free as possible.

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Fine & Country Tel: +44 (0)1344 206296 ascot@fineandcountry.com 5-7 High Street, Sunninghill, Berkshire SL5 9NQ

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1260810 Wargrave, Berkshire  
1260810 Wargrave, Berkshire