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5 Bedroom detached house Virley, Maldon £820,000

Paynes Farmhouse is an inviting period home, which offers character-filled rooms, a beautiful garden and picturesque views out across the countryside


Settling down to a family meal beside the Aga or sharing the garden with friends for a special celebration - the owners of Paynes Farmhouse have enjoyed so many happy occasions at their country home over the past 35 years. They found themselves drawn to the property as soon as they stepped inside, one of them recalls. "It was a pretty house in an ideal location but I think we fell in love with it because it also felt so warm and welcoming," she says. "I remember walking in and immediately thinking I wanted to live here." Dating back to around 1758, the property is believed to have been part of a working farm until about 50 years ago. "Over the 35 years we have been here we have had at least four previous inhabitants come back to visit," the other owner adds. "I think that indicates how attached people become to it - and certainly we have stayed here for so long because it is a wonderful place to live."


The family have made the home their own in the time they have been there. Features, such as beams, exposed stud walls and fireplaces have been retained, together with attractive Georgian windows to the front. "About 22 years ago we carried out a major extension to the back of the house," he adds. "This blends in easily and has given us an extra bedroom and en suite shower room, as well as a family room downstairs."


The handsome, cream house is entered from the front via a porch and then the hall. To the left is the family room, which has French windows on to the garden. There is also a ground floor shower room and utility room. To the right, the large kitchen breakfast room has a beamed ceiling, central island and Aga. There is space for a table and chairs. Also on the ground floor, are the study, dining room and drawing room. All five bedrooms and the family bathroom are up on the first floor. One of the bedrooms can be used as a walk-through space; the master bedroom has the en suite shower room. "This has been a fantastic home for three generations of our family," she observes. "Our children and grandchildren have lived here with us."


The layout, space and ambience of the house have made it ideal for entertaining, according to the couple. "We have celebrated all sorts of occasions here, from birthdays when the children were young to camping out parties when they were older. Even when our daughter had her wedding here seven years ago, we had people camping out in the field," he says. "In fact, I think we have had almost every kind of family party here you could name!" At Christmas time, it is not unusual for up to 15 people to be staying in the house for a few days. "It really comes into its own at Christmas," she adds.


With its beautiful grounds of approaching 0.8 acres, Paynes Farmhouse, is a lovely place to entertain in the warmer months. "When we did the extension we also created a terrace area at the back, where it is nice to sit out in the sunshine," he says. We have a lawn, lots of trees and a kitchen garden, where we have grown everything from sweetcorn and courgettes to lettuce. We have raspberries all the through the summer and fruit on some of the trees." From the garden there are views out over the fields: "We see lots of birds and wildlife from here - in the fields and our own garden."


Throughout the year, the owners have enjoyed sailing from Tollesbury and West Mersea. They also play tennis, squash and golf close by and like to walk along the sea wall. "This is a very beautiful area and yet it is easy to get into Colchester to go shopping or to commute into London from Witham, and we have good shops, farm shops and restaurants in the area." They admit they will miss everything about Paynes Farmhouse when they leave. "It is such a happy place," she says. "It is a peaceful and relaxing house in a great location, and it has been a good family home."

Setting the Scene
Paynes Farmhouse is set in private grounds and enjoys views out across the surrounding countryside. It is approached via a gated driveway, providing plenty off-road parking, and has a detached double garage, which was built by the current owners. The gardens are beautifully kept and include areas for sitting out, entertaining and growing fresh fruit and vegetables. The grounds are approximately 0.8 acres in size.
The hamlet Salcott - Cum - Virley is situated to the South West of Colchester, between the village of Peldon and Layer-de-la-Haye. The area is predominantly well known for its rural views and nature reserve near the Abberton Reservoir. Water sports are also enjoyed at Mersea Island, whilst further Attractions such as Colchester Zoo and Layer Marney Tower are also close by.
The centre of Colchester is approximately 15 minutes drive away which caters for a broad range of commercial entertainment, shopping and educational amenities and its railway station provides a regular service to London Liverpool Street with an approximate journey time of 55 minutes. The county of Essex is distinguished by its open, undulating farmland and offers a broad range of leisure pursuits including a number of local golf clubs such as Five Lakes which is a short drive away. The Essex coast offers extensive walks, bird watching and sailing, particularly on Mersea Island to the South which is renowned for its array of fresh fish eateries. The location also benefits from plenty of countryside walks, nature trails and cycle routes.

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