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The Shell House
Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex£1,995,000 Freehold

The Shell House

A close community of permanent residences and weekend retreats pepper the rustic lanes, from which the stunning coastal scenery unfolds.

At the foot of the ethereal pebble fields of Winchelsea Beach lies Morlais Ridge, a charming unmade road bordering Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Amidst its wild seclusion, The Shell House has in recent years, been resurrected throughout, both beneath the surface and in the ‘faded glamour’ of designer Pearl Lowe’s aesthetic vision. Its flowing main house contains four bedrooms and a further two bedrooms are found within a quaint cabin that lies concealed beyond trees and winding paths within its rare one acre garden. A heated swimming pool has been added to the decked rear terrace. There is also parking for several vehicles at the front and side of the house. The historic town of Rye is close by for its variety of boutiques, pubs and eateries, as are the sandy beaches of Camber.

Setting The Scene

The Shell House was built in the 1940s by an allied soldier for his artist wife. Returning from the Second World War, he chose the wooded beachside plot as the setting for a testament of love. The house earnt its moniker from the various shell installations by the artist, depicting a variety of seaside themes such as fisherman on the front façade. Today, a close community of permanent residences and weekend retreats pepper the rustic lanes, from which the stunning coastal scenery unfolds.

The Grand Tour

The house is set back from the lane behind gravel parking areas and large front terrace to which a bedroom and the kitchen open. To the left is the main entrance, opening through double doors to a large Victorian-tiled, Devol-designed boot room and utility which serves as the main entrance. From here, a further set of double doors open to a music room where a spiral staircase, with Roger Oates-carpeted treads, twists to the first floor bedrooms.

Beyond a bathroom and guest WC are the two ground floor bedrooms, one of which is en suite. Fixtures are by Burlington. White painted wooden floors extend throughout and blend with timber clad walls and gentle off-white plaster. Each of the ground level rooms opens up to outside space and in the north eastern section of the house there is access from both aspects.

The kitchen, breakfast room and rear reception are arranged in a sweeping open plan with natural light pouring in from many directions including a rooflight within the vaulted pitched ceiling. The kitchen is by Devol and is arranged around a huge copper-topped island. Light shaker cabinets are wonderfully paired with brass fixtures and a ceramic butler sink. As part of the renovation, the heating system and plumbing has been completely updated and vintage cast iron radiators added as a contrast to the gentle wood aesthetics. The slatted ceiling of the kitchen turns to painted beams in the vaulted reception and double doors open to the rear decked terrace.

The timber cabin within the garden is a superb addition to the house with two bedrooms arranged around an open plan kitchen and reception with a wood burning stove. It offers excellent independent guest accommodation or the option of holiday rental. Both houses have in fact been in great demand for the latter over the past year.

The Great Outdoors

The garden of The Shell House is unusually large for homes in the area, extending to around an acre, giving opportunity to further extension if desired. Borders of mature trees and shrubs around lawns and long-grass meadow sections merge to create a private, intimate setting and a haven for wildlife. Along Morlais Ridge, quiet paths offer tranquil walks through fields of pebbles to arrive at Winchelsea Beach.

The Area 

Winchelsea Beach is a quiet seaside village and shingle beach, superbly positioned for easy access to the many highlights of the East Sussex coastline.

Morlais Ridge itself backs onto the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, composed of varying habitats: scrub, woodland and lagoons, and home to thousands of species of native wildlife. A fantastic backyard expanse for walking and cycling routes, or days on the beach.

The popular town of Rye is less than three miles away and offers great restaurants – the Globe Inn Marsh, The Fig and Standard Inn are particularly notable – and there is also an independent cinema alongside a growing number of independent boutiques. The Old Town in Hastings is around 20 minutes by car and is home to the Hastings Contemporary as well as a wide variety of shops and restaurants.

Nearby Pett Level marks the end of the Royal Military Canal, a defensive structure that runs for 28 miles to Hythe in Kent, built in preparation for a possible invasion by Napoleon. The shallow lakes and reed beds of Pett Pools attract an enormous variety of both breeding and over-wintering wildfowl and waterbirds. The Saxon Shore Way footpath (running from Gravesend in Kent to Hastings) is easily accessed and there are spectacular walks along the Jurassic Coast across the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Pett Level Beach is also nearby and great for swimming, with a sandy cove which stretches all the way towards Winchelsea and Rye Harbour.

There is a wide choice of state and private schools in the area, including Claremont School, Battle Abbey School, Buckswood at Guestling, Eastbourne College, Vinehall at Robertsbridge and Marlborough House in Hawkhurst.

Rail connections from Rye are excellent, with branch-line train services to Brighton and Ashford offering high-speed connections to London St Pancras and the Continent, via the Eurostar.

Council Tax Band: C
Tenure: Freehold
Council Tax £1,965 per annum

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. Inigo has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.
The Shell House — Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex
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