Becky Sheaves views a superb multi-generational family home in South East Cornwall.
For many families, the idea of a property where several generations can live side by side has a very special appeal.
Grandparents Ronald and Margaret Johns moved home to Cornwall from West Sussex, to be nearer to their many relatives still living in the county. Along with them came their daughter Susan and her husband, plus their new daughter Georgia, who was only 18 months old, and son Dominic, then only six months old. The family settled into this week's star property, a beautiful old stone-built country home, divided into two dwellings.
"We've thoroughly enjoyed living here and it has really worked for us," says Ronald, now in his 70s. "Our grandchildren have had a lovely country lifestyle, with family on hand to help care for them, and we have had the pleasure of company and lots going on in our retirement."
Fast forward more than a few years and Georgia, now 19, is off in The Gambia on her gap year adventures, before heading off to Bristol University. Dominic is studying in Plymouth.
"The time has come to sell up and downsize," says Ronald. "It is the end of an era and will be a huge wrench, but we will be staying local and looking for something smaller in the same part of the world."
The family's decision to move on is an exciting opportunity for a similar multi-generational family to find the perfect property. Alternatively, this could be a chance to find a character home with an income from holiday lettings. Called Cellars, the property is a sturdily built and very beautiful period home dating back 200 years or more, neatly divided into two distinct dwellings and set in nearly two acres of landscaped gardens.
"Margaret and I live in the smaller of the two homes," explains Ronald. "Our side has two bedrooms, while the larger home has four and that is where my daughter's family lives.
"The two homes have separate drives and entrances so we can live without imposing on each other, but we are close by if needed."
As such, the property would make an ideal home with its own income, especially as it is so picturesque, with 1.7 acres of superb gardens.
What is more, Cellars occupies a beautiful rural location in unspoilt countryside with access off a quiet country lane, yet is only five miles from the town of Callington. It is eight miles south of the A30 trunk road at Launceston and within easy commuting reach of Plymouth. "Our grandchildren had a wonderful education at the little village school at Upton Cross, a couple of miles away, and then found it easy to reach Callington and Plymouth by bus for secondary education," says Ronald.
Interestingly, Cellars does not in fact have a cellar, as Ronald explains. "The whole of this little area of farmland, with three to four houses, has always been known as Cellars - possibly because they stored cider hereabouts," he explains.
What is certain is that this is a unique property both in its location and the dwelling houses themselves. They have been extensively renovated over the years and the grounds have been designed to be reasonably low maintenance, given their size, with generous lawned areas, many mature trees, pond and wildlife area with stream boundary on the eastern side.
The grounds also include an artesian well, treehouse, greenhouse, patio area and rose garden, as well as an all important flat area perfect for children's games of football.
The house has some beautiful period details, including the impressive granite lintels over the windows and granite "quoins" (corner stones). The porch over the entrance to the larger property is also granite pillared, reflecting the local style in Cornwall. The roof is beautifully finished with silvery-grey local slate.
The living room in the larger house has an open fireplace with granite hearth and surround with an ornate carved wooden mantelpiece and surround, which is understood to have come originally from nearby Pengursick Castle.
The area offers so much to families. Not only are the shops and employment opportunities of Plymouth within reach, but the coast, too is not far away. "We tend to head to Looe and the lovely beach at Portwrinkle for summer days out," says Ronald. And the area has been such a success for the family that they are all staying very local, he explains.
"Margaret and I are looking for something smaller in the same area, as are the younger generation, now that our grandchildren are getting on with their own lives. As I said, it is the end of an era, but it is time for this property to be once again home to the laughter of children - I would love to think of another generation climbing up to the treehouse or playing football on the lawns here once again."
About the area
Linkinhorne is a rural parish in South East Cornwall, four miles north-west of the town of Callington.
Schools: Upton Cross primary school, two miles from this property, is “outstanding”, says Ofsted. Children can go on to Callington Community College for secondary education, which is also “outstanding”. Private and grammar schools are within reach in Plymouth and Tavistock.
Connections: Linkinhorne is near both Liskeard and Launceston, where you will find railway stations on the London-Penzance line. The A30 and A38 are within easy reach, too, making Plymouth, Truro and even Exeter commutable.
Out and about: Check out the good food at the traditional Manor House Inn at Rilla Mill.
Best beaches: Portwrinkle Beach at Looe is a local favourite, while Fowey is boating heaven.
Best walks: You’re spoilt for choice, with Dartmoor in one direction, and Bodmin Moor in the other, while the lovely coastline of south Cornwall is a few miles away.
Cellars, East Cornwall, £530,000
Property: Character building with six bedrooms and four bathrooms, divided into two separate homes, with 1.75 acres of grounds.
Location: Five miles north-west of Callington, in a quiet rural setting.
Accommodation: The larger home has four bedrooms, the smaller has two bedrooms, each with a separate driveway.
Outside: Large, well-tended grounds with trees and stream, greenhouse, four-car garage.
Agents: Kivells, 01579 384321, www.kivells.com