COULD THERE be a more perfect bolthole from the hurly-burly of life in the capital than this one-bedroom period cottage in Steyning, a little country town 10 miles from Brighton, just to the north of the South Downs? Tucked away from passing traffic, but only 200 yards from the shops and pubs in the high street, it has small, easily manageable gardens. From the road, a stable door opens onto the 10ft sitting room, which boasts an open fireplace, a beamed ceiling and a pretty bow window. The kitchen may be small, but it has everything that you could need for a weekend. Stairs lead from it to the first floor, where there's a bedroom with exposed beams, a small period fireplace and the bathroom. All all this for only pounds 69,950. Details are available from Geering & Colyer (01903 812781).

GETTING UP in the morning to a view like the one from Valley Cottage, in Bagpath, five miles from Tetbury in Gloucestershire, could seriously put you off ever living in the city again. Rolling fields fall away from the idyllic gardens, all of which can be seen from the sitting room which has an open fireplace with carved stone surround and beamed ceiling. The two-bedroom cottage has been extensively restored by the present owners, with rewiring, a new kitchen, central heating and damp-proofing. It has a separate dining room with a Rayburn in the inglenook and a downstairs bathroom with a white suite. The property comes with an old Cotswold stone shed, woodstore and a workshop. Offers from around pounds 225,000 to Knight Frank (01285 659771).

HILL COTTAGE in Cockington Village, on the outskirts of Torquay, is the kind of place you could imagine settling in to write your first novel. The detached, two-bedroom thatched cottage in the middle of the village is pink-washed and almost tooth-achingly sweet and charming, just like its neighbours. It has a 13ft 6in sitting room with an old stone fireplace, fitted kitchen and downstairs bathroom and utility room. The main bedroom has an en suite shower room. Offers in the region of pounds 135,000 from Alder King (01803 29229).

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