For Sale: Six Bedroom Home with 1000 species attached

After 20 years of residence in the village of Claxton, 7 miles & 20 minutes from Norwich, we’re finally leaving and selling our wonderful home at the Hollies. It is a mid-Victorian three-bedroomed country cottage – once the village post office – with a fully integrated 1979 extension that includes 3 extra bedrooms, a downstairs study, a second shower room and toilet, utility room and garage.

In all, the property comprises kitchen with door to the back garden, 8m-long lounge, dining room, downstairs study, shower room, utility room and garage. Upstairs are six bedrooms, bathroom and separate toilet. My 8m-long office is one of the six and overlooks our secret garden at the back of the house, which offers views towards the marsh. Through the years I’ve seen or heard cranes, osprey, red kites and waxwings from its windows.

The house and location have been a source of inspiration for a great deal of writing, including c700 articles for the Guardian and Guardian Weekly. I also wrote my books Birds Britannica (’05), Crow Country (’07), Birds and People (’13), Claxton (’14) and A Claxton Diary (’19) as well as Our Place: Can We Save Britain’s Wildlife Before it is Too Late (’18) in the same period.

Latterly the garden, which has been created with a view to encourage wildlife, has been a source of creativity both in words and images. In all I guess we have recorded about 1,000 species of all types of organism at the house, including c120 birds and 400 moth species, 20 butterflies including swallowtail and more than 20 bee species. Reporters from Sky Television have been to film and talk about its moths, while Radio 4 Today programme Nature Notes has been based on its many residents.

It is wonderful place for birds at all seasons. We feed tits and finches in winter and spring. Fieldfare and mistle thrushes come to feast on fruit if conditions are hard. There are always blackbirds on the lawn and they regularly nest in the hedge at the front. Blue tits nest every year at the back, great tits by the woodshed. Woodpigeons take to the hedges to breed come July and robins are daily. Sparowhawks and pergrines pass overhead in winter, while hobbies and marsh harriers are regular in summer.

Another speciality of the area is the local population of breeding swallows and house martins, which gather outside my office on the telephone wires come early autumn. In high summer, however, the skies above Claxton belong to the swifts. It is one of the joys of living here to sit at breakfast time watching the arrow-lines of 20-30 birds tearing over the rooftops.

Claxton is a village without streetlights and one of the advantages of its distance from the city is the lack of light pollution. We have the clearest views of the stars on many nights and the moon can look spectacular as it rises over the back garden.

Just ten minutes from the house is the southern bank of the River Yare, with walks all the way around Claxton Marshes to Rockland Broad. The place was described by Sir Thomas Browne as a seventeenth-century nest site for spoonbills. Alas they have gone but the marshes are rich in all sorts of nature: deer, herons, winter geese, foxes and owls. The paths have been the basis of our daily walks. They have also been the source of much inspiration. Mary’s instagram images are often inspired by our daily walks from the house. You can see them here. Much of m writing has been similarly shaped. Most memorable was the night, just half a mile from the house, when I encountered a sight that became the subject of Crow Country.

Throughout the winter the skies above Claxton and several of the neighbouring villages are a highway for roosting flocks of rooks and jackdaws. They gather nightly on the other side of the river and the noisy caravans of birds passing overhead in their thousands serve as a kind of hour glass on winter afternoons.

The marshes are atmospheric at any hour but they acquire particular magic in the evenings as the light fades. The sky-scapes can be spectacular. The image below is exactly as it was: no filters, no trickery, no manipulation in photoshop.

The house decor has been uplifted and modernised throughout. We have added a fitted kitchen and woodburning stove in the living room.

The Hollies provides masses of comfortable living space – 12 rooms plus the attached garage/store room – and we know it will really suit someone who wants to be immersed in nature and surrounded by wildlife: in the garden, the village and beyond. The French windows at the front are often open all day in summer and the Hollies really comes into its own, a residence where the indoors and outdoors merge. We would love to think of it giving daily pleasure to someone of like mind. If you think it is you please ring our estate agents here.

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2 Comments

  1. Ah, if only we required a six-bedroomed house. I do hope you find a buyer who wants it for exactly the reasons you love it too. Of course, everyone’s rushing from cities now ….

    Reply
  2. P Mark Cocker

     /  August 18, 2020

    thanks Margaret, this is our hope

    Reply

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