A magical place on the river in Chesterton, Cambridge
Originally two Victorian cottages, this extensive and well-presented accommodation was altered and extended in the 1950s and then again in the early 1990s.
The beautiful grounds cover 1.3 acres in total and there is an excellent range of useful outbuildings, moorings and around 100ft frontage to the River Cam.
Arranged over two floors, the property is in a secluded position and suitable for a variety of needs.
It also includes two independent, self-contained apartments which could be reincorporated into the main house if desired.
The home, which is for sale with Bidwells, is owned by professors Ted Briscoe and Molly Andrews, who moved there in 1999 with their two children, then aged 2 and 4.
In the early years, Molly and Ted would row their children to school. The children have now gone off to university, so they feel it is time for another family to live in this unusual place.
Adding to the idyll is an art studio in the grounds – which is used by contemporary painter Charlotte Cornish – a log cabin, a summer house, a greenhouse and a purpose-built shed.
When Molly and Ted first met, they lived in Cambridge, but then “experimented” with village life.
“We both really missed Cambridge and we looked at lots of different places,” recalled Molly.
The view from the balcony at The Moorings in Chesterton, sourced by Bidwells
Click to view
“Ted absolutely loves the water, and we had had a beautiful place on the River Ouse in Hemingford Abbots. He was immediately drawn to The Moorings because of its position on the water.
“But for me, when I saw the balcony off the master bedroom that overlooks the garden, I knew it was for us. You can stand there and no one can see you.”
Over the years, the couple have made a number of changes to the property – which was once owned by English novelist Nevil Shute, best known for A Town Like Alice and On the Beach, who spent his later years in Australia.
“We opened up the ground floor a lot; the kitchen was quite a small, closed space. We took out a wall and made it open-plan so we could see the kids playing while we were preparing dinner,” explained Molly. “It’s always been a space that really flows well.”
The American-born academic continued: “We’re a very water-active family and have a lot of boats. While there was always a summer house down by the river, a few years ago we replaced the existing structure with one that has glass sliding doors, a lot of decking and French windows that look out onto the river. Even in the winter we can sit in there and watch the world go by.
“Those were the outside alterations. We also made lots of smaller changes, as people do when they move into a new home. We modernised the heating and the electricity, completely redid two bathrooms and replaced old carpeting with wood flooring.”
The house was built in the 1880s. It is notable for its apple orchard; previous residents used to regularly sell the fruit on the high street.
Molly remembered: “When we first moved here, the lawn was used as a tennis court, complete with an umpire’s chair – and indeed it still could be. But we were not particularly talented at tennis. Instead, that piece of lawn has been used through the years for many football matches, and was even the site for two weddings.”
Molly concluded: “We’re not sure exactly what our next move is, but this is a house that is so full of family memories, and it feels a little empty without the children.
“We’re just going to create a new and different kind of life for ourselves.”
She added: “Our dream is that there would be another family that loved the house and had as much fun here as we have – it’s a magical place.”
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