Tucked away in the gently undulating land of the Waveney Valley is this charming five-bedroom cottage. Spanning some 2,000 sq ft internally, the original timber-framed house was built in the 16th century and sensitively extended in 1979 and 2012. Set in grounds spanning just under an acre, the house has its own meadow teeming with wildflowers and an orchard that grows heavy with fruit in the summer. The house sits on the Norfolk and Suffolk border, nestled on the edge of the lovely village of Denton, close to an exceptional array of schooling and transport links.
Setting the Scene
The original timber-framed 16th-century cottage sits to the southern end of the plan. White-painted wooden windows and an pan tile roof punctuate the red-brick façade. The 2012 extension of the house by architect Paul Goddard took Danish artist Carl Larsson’s beautiful countryside home as inspiration. The architect aimed to keep a dialogue between the indigenous wildflower meadow and the house, hence the sloping sedum roof on the kitchen extension, which blooms throughout the summer. The renovation also saw the addition of a woodburning Rayburn stove for heating and hot water. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
The entrance hall is in the oldest, timber-framed part of the house and leads to a marvellous, light-filled reception room. The perfect melting pot of 16th-century charm and contemporary intervention, the room is defined by its exposed, original beams offset by a poured concrete floor. The walls have been finished in breathable lime plaster, and there is a vast, open fireplace with a wood-burning stove. French doors lead to the garden, while wide timber-framed, double-glazed windows can be found here and throughout the house.
Next to the reception room is a large kitchen. Finished in a ‘Normandy Grey’ by Little Greene, the space has dual-aspect views to the east over rewilded fields and west across the cottage meadow; a window above the kitchen sink is perfect for watching nature pass by. A Rayburn stove sits alongside a contemporary cooker, and Welsh Heather quarry tiles run underfoot. A pretty music room has access to the wildflower meadow, while a useful pantry with utility space and a guest WC is tucked behind the main reception room.
Sitting above the main reception room, with its own staircase, is the primary bedroom suite. In the wonderfully peaceful bedroom, original beams are set against whitewashed walls. A large exposed brick fireplace with useful cupboards on one side centres the room. Next door is a lovely bathroom. A small bedroom in this section of the plan has been previously used as a nursery but would make an excellent dressing room or study.
In the guest wing, a later 1979 addition to the house, are two large bedrooms and a bathroom with deep, Japanese soaking tub. The bedrooms are nearly identical, with sleeping mezzanines and French doors opening to the pretty gardens.
Behind the main reception room is another guest bedroom with an apex ceiling and a wonderful, cross-shaped feature window set into the eaves.
The Great Outdoors
Externally, rolling meadows, orchards and surrounding grazing fields envelop the home. The ancient meadow, which forms part of the wider gardens, has not been cultivated for over 100 years and is awash with wildflowers, pyramid orchids and meadow buttercups. Fruits such as bullace plums, damson, blackberries, hazelnut and crab apples can be easily picked, while elderflower, and Blackthorn have been used for brewing cordial, elderflower champagne and sloe gin by the current owners.
The surrounding meadows have been rewilded by the local farmer to promote wildlife. Starlings, finches, songbirds, pheasants, barn and tawny owls, buzzards and kites have all made a home in the area, while roe deer, hares and muntjac deer are often spotted walking by the windows.
There are several footpaths leading directly from the house to various rambling routes in the surrounding area.
Out and About
Pockthorpe is a secluded lane on the outskirts of Denton Village in south Norfolk. The wider area is home to the highly regarded Alburgh Primary School. A wonderful array of eateries, cafes and farm shops, including the Front Room, Earsham Street Deli, Little Green Wholefood Shop and Thompson and Giddens Vegetables, all in Bungay Town. The Old Hall Farm at Woodton is also perfect for a Sunday lunch and sells local produce.
A short walk over the nearby fields brings you to Friends Farm at Alburgh, which sells an array of local meats, cheese, vegetables and fruits alongside a café which overlooks their farm fields. There is also a local brewery in the village, with a drive-through on Friday evening.
The nearby Fen Farm at Baron Bigod has award-winning brie-style cheese and sells its own milk, butter, cream and local bread. Flint Wines, a short drive away, has award-winning Bacchus and Silex wines and hosts mini-festivals with live music and delicious food every month in the summer.
The Heritage Coast is home to Southwold and Walbersiwck (30 minutes) and Aldeburgh (45 minutes), with extraordinary beaches and a nature reserve. Snape Maltings is also within reaching distance, with Britten Symphonia, Aldeburgh Young Musicians and concerts for classical and contemporary musicians, recent highlights of which include Víkingur Ólafsson and Martha Wainwright.
Diss Railway Station is a 25-minute drive away and has regular, direct trains to London Liverpool Street in 1 hour 40 mins. Norwich is a 30-minute drive away, and the wider UK motorway arteries are within close reach.
Council Tax Band: D
The site of an ancient Roman settlement, the name Denton derives from the Old English ‘Dene-tun’ meaning ‘village in a valley’. With records in the Domesday book, the area has remained largely rural and for some time had a small iron quarrying community. There are several notable landmarks in the area, namely St Andrews Church, a Grade I-listed parish church, still in use today.
Being an area of unspoilt, natural beauty, there are a number of local walks on the doorstep of the cottage. Locally, one leads to an ancient ring fort on the outskirts of Denton Village, which is said to have been built by Baron Bigod before he and his entourage moved to Bungay in medieval times.
- Inspiration of the Week: a picture of the simple life, deep in the Welsh countryside
- Inigo revisits: Charles and Romilly Saumarez Smith’s art-filled 18th-century townhouseHomes / Interiors
- A River Runs Above It: stand-out homes in south London for saleHomes
- Gert Lush: handsome houses in the south-west for saleHomes
- A Room of One’s Own: Luke Edward Hall on the vintage ephemera and collected costumes in his Cotswolds studioInteriors