Thursday, 6 August 2015

Hoping against hope - house hunting in Herefordshire

There's a lot of "H"s there.  A bit like "In Hertfordshire Hurricanes Hardly ever Happen"!  You will have to indulge me - or should that be Humour?!

Yesterday we set off to view two properties in the area between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.  No, we haven't got a buyer yet, but felt it was a good idea to check out two of the possibles on our list.  A friend has got an offer on her house and has been rushing round viewing properties, but faces losing her buyer as the property she has offered on has a vendor who also hasn't gone out looking yet.  I suppose there are two schools of thought, but we are in the camp that feels you should be able to move quickly if necessary.

I persuaded K to stop near Bwlch at the head of the Usk Valley so I could take some photos.  I've taken them there before, but couldn't resist the views.

It's a little further out than we ideally want to be, but it's tempting to consider properties this side of Abergavenny . . .

The fields lay dreaming . . .

We were early at the first house, so drove beyond it to the nearest village to see what it had to offer.  I had only seen the village on Google-earth, but it was every bit as pretty in reality.  A quiet, pleasant place with a pub, but not much else.

The house was one which, on screen, I had picked up on a lovely peaceful atmosphere.  Yes, it is a good deal smaller than our house, but suited us on all sorts of levels.  It was light and homely, with French windows out of the kitchen to the wrap-around garden (I've always wanted French windows!) It had an Aga-style cooker which provided cooking, heating and hot water (perfect). It had a small greenhouse and room for a polytunnel, and a big double garage for K's workshop/storage.  Two wood-burning stoves, and a master bedroom with a double aspect and en-suite.  Lots of boxes ticked. I was amazed to see a copy of a book about Edward Thomas on the coffee table and in the next room, scanned their bookshelves for more - which there were - and I had to be dragged from the room before I sat down and started browsing them!  So - we shall see what transpires.  A miracle may happen to send a buyer here for our house . . .

Anyway, our viewings on the two properties were mid-day and 2.30 so we had even more time to kill before the next viewing 2 miles up the road.  So we drove into Fownhope and stopped for a pub lunch, which was excellent.  Near the pub was this pretty cottage - it would do nicely but were it on the market, would probably be above our budget.

Although we ate slowly, we still had time to kill so after a walk around the village we drove up past the next cottage to get our bearings, and took some photos from the top of the hill.

Looking back at the village.

This was the view across the valley from above the next cottage, looking over at apple orchards.  It was a sublime spot, but unfortunately not the right place for us, as no outside storage and a steep flight of steps which although OK in the normal run of things, would have not been such fun when packing/unpacking for a Fleamarket or Antiques fair . . .  A shame as the garden had quite a few established apple and plum trees, something I always look for.

A glimpse of the lovely cottage.  Someone will fall in love soon I am sure.

Summer is passing so swiftly and there is more than a touch of Autumn in the air now, especially when it is a cold wet morning as it is today.  The red in the hedgetop hawthorn growth and sycamores and the Scarlet Herb Robert has passed and the predominant colours of the verges are pinky purple and lilac and cream from Willowherbs,  Knapweed, Thistles, Meadow Cranesbill, Purple Vetch, foaming Meadowsweet and tall Umbellifers of every description.


  1. What stunning views, that would be a lovely area to live in x

  2. Think positive and, if that doesn't do the trick, make tea. I hope that all falls into place soon. I know that I was very lucky in selling my last 4 houses within 48 hours of them going on the market. When I bought my cottage in Tydd it was meant to be a stop gap as I sold much faster than expected as the vendor of the house that I wanted had not even started looking. Fingers crossed for you.

  3. What a beautiful area to be looking for a new home. I love the house and would have loved to have seen the inside. Hope your now home sells soon so that this could possibly be your new home.


  4. Are you sure you don't fancy a move to Suffolk........ we have just the house with attached library :-)

  5. Used to be splashing about catching baby trout in the Usk near Brecon as a child.

  6. Simple Living - Both areas are really lovely, but the Usk valley has the wannebe mountains too!

    Pam - I've been trying to think positive for the past 6 years . . . but hope is hard to hold onto now. The housing market in Wales responds so slowly.

    Lorraine - that was the discard. Sadly, the couple who owned it had been there for 40 years and done all the extensions/improvements, and then he had a stroke and so they HAVE to move. She was there and was very distressed. I felt we were invading her privacy just viewing.

    Sue - That you have!

    Simon - You will know the area well then. Quite breathtaking scenery. I was glad I took the photos on the way out as it was monsooning it down on our return journey.

  7. It is a lovely part of the country - when I lived in the Midlands my first husband and I used to go on music courses in Wales often and we passed through the Usk valley. Very beautiful part of the world I agree. I have a friend who lives at Kerne Bridge, Ross on Wye which is not a million miles away.
    On the subject of how to arrange moving, a friend had her house on the market for a long time and finally got fed up with waiting and began to look for somewhere. She found her ideal place just as someone made an offer for her house providing she got out quickly. She put everything in store and rented a very small flat until everything was settled. What I am saying is do consider the idea of renting for a short period if necessary - it does increase the possibilities.

  8. Your photo's are stunning, I loved reading about your day viewing houses.
    Good luck with a buyer soon
    Fondly Michelle

  9. Really do hope you find a buyer for your property soon - its such a lovely house.

    Love the views in Herefordshire - I could very easily live there too although, if we move, the rest of the family have the Isle of Wight as their number 1 destination. I could definitely live in the first cottage you show :) Its such a beautifully rural county (my grandparents both came from there so I spent a lot of my childhood visiting the area).

  10. Like the first cottage best, going up and down steps in the second cottage will not be much fun as you get older ;)

  11. Spoke to the agent yesterday, and as a result lowered the price on our house, but according to him we should give it away in this current market by dropping significantly. Hmmm. Not prepared to do that at the moment.

    Thelma - that's what we thought.

    R. Robin - it's many years since I was last on the IOW, but it is a lovely place to live and you are never far from a sea view.

    Michelle - glad you enjoyed the photos. I love a good view. As for house-selling, well miracles do sometimes happen . . .

    Pat - we viewed a house a few years back at Kerne Bridge - K would have bought it for the wonderful Gothic staircase alone, but I looked at pokey bedrooms and small kitchen and had reservations . . .

  12. It's good to be out looking at houses as you say you need to be prepared to move quickly. I can't understand people who let sales fall through because they can't find what they want. I know it may be difficult at first but selling is the primary goal, and to me nothing else matters (even the stress of having no-where to live). I really do hope you get a buyer soon.

  13. Just popped in for a catch up. This is progress indeed. How exciting to be house hunting. It looks like a beautiful area. So green and lush. Coincidentally I got the (amazing) news this morning that my friend in Clunderwen will be moving. Her husband has at last decided to retire from dairy and they are hunting for a small holding in Dorset/Devon.

  14. You are house-hunting in a beautiful part of the world. I hope that everyone soon falls into place... you find a buyer and your perfect home! Jx

  15. Keep up these viewings. At the very least, you give yourself more options to choose from, and decide which one fits most of the things you would want in your new home. Photo and journals help in breaking down the merits of such purchase. This is useful for all buyers, especially those who want their houses to be nicely framed by nature. Cheers!

    Naomi Walters @ Chicora

  16. Looks like a beautiful place to live. I love how wild the garden looks too. I moved into an older farm house that is similar and there was definitely work that had to be done. We needed new plumbing and new electricity but after all of that was finished, it turned out to be our dream home and we're happy.

    Jacqueline @ Buyer's Option Realty Services

  17. You've made a great choice of area; you'll never be lacking in options for outdoor activities, that's for sure. If that's something that really matters to you (and it sounds like it is), it's worth doing a very thorough search or even waiting a bit. You can change most elements of a house, but not its location.

    Eddy Clemmons @ No Mortgages Ltd