SECOND home hunters with a bit of cash have tended to gravitate towards destinations such as the Cotswolds and Cornwall. Great minds think alike and because of this, those areas have become over-crowded and pricey to boot. So perhaps it’s time to think outside the box, and there are few places better – or more cost-effective – than rural South West Wales, an area just as beautiful, offering coveted and characterful cottages for a fraction of the price.
Only four hours’ drive from London, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which covers 240 square miles, is a cluster of magnificent rolling hills, beaches, wooded estuaries and wildlife, and is home to some of the most gorgeous property Wales has to offer. The coastal hotspot offers a variety of homes that are surrounded by scenery which rivals the pricier Cornwall. Experiences of both the action-packed and more relaxed variety are right on the doorstep, from surfing, coasteering (traversing rocky coastlines) and gorge scrambling to dolphin, whale and porpoise watching. Or take a more conventional approach to leisurely activities and have yourself a game of golf or a long horseback ride along the mountains.
Many properties, such as traditional character cottages and stone farm houses, date back to the 18th century, with all the atmospheric, old world charm that entails. Upkeep, which can normally be a discouragement to purchasing older properties that are not used as primary homes, is fairly simple, according to Carol Peett, director of The County Homesearch Company.
“Many of the old cottages are lime washed, which is a special lime-based paint,” she says. “There is a great resurgence of the old crafts like lime-washing in this area, so it is easy to obtain expert advice and help, and we can always recommend people.”
With everything the area has to offer, it sounds almost too good to be true. However, bear in mind that living in a National Park does come with a few restrictions, particularly if you want to change a building. “Planning is extremely restricted in the National Park to preserve its beauty, making it virtually impossible to build anything new outside village boundaries. Alterations and conversions of existing structures require planning permission from the National Parks Authority, which are fairly draconian and much more so than the normal council planning department.” But that also means properties are limited and sought after, which gives them investment potential too.
According to Peet, it’s also a charming place for families. “Many people get fed up with the city and come down for the quality of life, and usually end up making this their permanent home.”
THE OLD LIGHTHOUSE, ST ANN’S HEAD
If you’re looking for a home like no other, The Old Lighthouse at S. Ann’s Head has a lot to recommend it. The former functioning lighthouse has been converted into a five bedroom home with a three bedroom annex. With a magnificent view of the Pembrokeshire coastline from the tower, an atmospheric spiral staircase and an indoor swimming pool, the place is a real one-off.
Call Frank B Mason & Co on 01437 762233 or visit www.frankmason.co.uk.
THE COTTAGE, PENALLY
This pretty cottage, with pink exterior and a colonnaded front, is situated only 800 yards from the beach and two miles from the resort town of Tenby. It’s full of original Georgian features and surrounded by gardens.
Call Frank B Mason & Co on 01834 842207 or visit www.frankmason.co.uk.
A two bedroom cottage that’s the picture of tranquility and simplicity in picturesque Llanmill. It’s two miles from the market town of Narbeth, and a 10 minute drive from the magnificent rural wilds of the South Pembrokeshire coast.
Call JJ Morris on 01834 860260 or visit www.jjmorris.com.
FRON ISAF, CAMARTHENSHIRE
Fron Isaf includes a beautifully-restored, 200-year-old farmhouse and a terrace of three cottages that can be let as holiday homes. There’s also a heated pool and substantial grounds.
Call Frank B Mason & Co on 01834 860741 or visit www.frankmason.co.uk.