Property: Working from home

For a life-change, move to the country and live `above the shop'. By Fiona Brandhorst dydydydydydydydydyddydydydydydydydyydyd

A HOUSE with character which also doubles as a business opportunity? They are out there - and there is more to choose from than just sub post offices in sleepy backwaters. Fortysomethings looking to capitalise on the increased value of their property, and seeking a change of lifestyle as well as a challenge, can take their pick of guesthouses, restaurants and pubs, as well as those ever- popular post offices.

The small country estate of Eggesford Barton in Devon is situated on the Tarka Trail (so named becuase Henry Williamson's novel Tarka the Otter was set locally) between Exeter and Barnstaple.

Its owners, Jean and Peter Heyes, spent six years renovating and restoring the main nine-bedroom, 18th-century farmhouse and its adjoining buildings, which include a dovecote, roundhouse, great barn and a milking parlour that now seats 100 people. The stone and slate buildings are arranged around an enclosed courtyard set amid 29 acres.

"We've held art exhibitions, courses and concerts in the milk parlour," says Mrs Heyes. "We found it had excellent acoustics and you actually sit in the old stalls." The Heyes have chosen to combine living at Eggesford Barton with running a variety of business activities, including residential seminars, conferences and weddings (they hold a civil licence) as well as bed and breakfast.

"It's important to believe in what you are doing," says Mr Heyes. "Identify your market and get on with it." Now they are moving on, West Country estate agent Stags is marketing the property with a price guide of pounds 750,000: with a footnote that the income-earning potential has only been partially realised.

Serious animal lovers may feel drawn towards Heath House, near Worlington in Suffolk. The contemporary six-bedroom home is set within seven acres and is being sold with a number of outbuildings which currently operate as a UK quarantine facility for more than 100 cats and dogs.

Good motorway links will take purchasers to Stansted Airport and London, and the racecourse at Newmarket is within a 10-minute drive. Bedfords estate agent is asking around pounds 335,000.

The popular holiday county of Dorset offers numerous business opportunities based on the tourist trade. Higher Pound Farm at Monkton Wyld, Charmouth, has an 18th-century, four-bedroom farmhouse, seven letting cottages and an equestrian centre as well a view out to sea. It is currently on sale for around pounds 825,000 through Humberts.

Colin Dixon from Peagrams estate agents in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex has many enquiries during the summer season from holiday makers contemplating buying a house to run as a B&B. "Many people come here from London with redundancy money or after early retirement with a view to making a living. The key to it is the size of the property. Up to five rooms to let makes the business easier to control." An established B&B property with up to four bedrooms costs around pounds 130,000.

According to Humberstones, an agent that specialises in selling businesses, post offices remain the most popular with the public. They are currently selling a Grade II-listed property in Wales, close to the English border, with first-floor living accommodation and three double bedrooms on the second floor.

A converted roof space could be developed to provide a further three bedrooms. The post office and shop are situated on the ground floor and the location is said to boast a sizeable local population as well as a strong tourist trade.

Sounds idyllic? It could be yours for pounds 139,950 for the freehold property, goodwill and fixtures and fittings. The post office salary is pounds 34,300 plus the profits from the shop. Another property in a sought-after village near Nottingham includes a 200-year-old, five-bedroom cottage incorporating a post office, approached via a brick pathway through a mature front garden. The asking price is pounds 295,000.

Humberstones sees people from various backgrounds attending its business courses specially designed to take potential purchasers through the process of buying a post office. The day's seminar includes a look at business accounting, legal procedures, the complexities of applying to be a sub- postmaster and how to finance the venture.

If you're trying to escape the heat of the city, would you hop out of the frying pan into the fryer of a fish and chip shop no matter how attractive the house is that goes with it? Rosens specialises in buying and selling chippies, most of which have a property attached. Prices range from pounds 10,000 to pounds 4m (the price tag of The Seashell in St John's Wood once used by Princess Diana).

Rosens is currently selling a large stone-built corner property in the Somerset village of Peasedown-St-John. The two-bedroom house is set in a quarter of an acre and has three additional rooms that can be converted into living accommodation. The owner is retiring and selling up for pounds 185,000. Rosens also runs courses for individuals or couples wanting to know more about the trade, including a hands-on session for a week in a working business.

Romantics will go gooey-eyed over The Runcible Spoon restaurant located in the historic Cinque Port town of Rye in East Sussex. Surrounded by charming cobbled streets, hanging baskets and cascading window boxes, it comes with a two-bedroom flat and scope to expand the opening hours. Agents Christie and Co are selling this gem for pounds 142,500.

Stags, 01392 255202; Bedfords, 01284 769999; Humberts, 01823 331234; Peagrams, 01255 474254; Humberstones, 0800 7318340; Rosens, 0181-539 6426; Christie and Co, 01622 656000

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
Arts & Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'
tv
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Sport
Pablo Larrazabal jumps into a pond in Kuala Lumpur to escape a swarm of hornets
videoSpain's Pablo Larrazabal's had a refreshing solution
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Sport
Jonathan Trott will take a second break from cricket after suffering a repeat of the stress-related illness that forced him out of the Ashes tour of Australia
sport
Life & Style
life
Life & Style
fashion
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Apprentice IT Technician

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

    1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

    £153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

    1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

    Sales Associate Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit