Buy Of The Week: West Country

Perched on a rocky outcrop above a beach, this cottage is one of Cornwall's most extraordinary houses
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The Independent Online

With any house comes a degree of compromise, but a house that's often entirely surrounded by water may have more than its fair share of potential complications. How do you get your post? Is it easy to insure? And will Ocado deliver to your door?

These are a few questions that may face a future owner of The Island, a spectacular private megalith in the heart of Newquay.

It's situated on Towan Beach, a stretch of sand which, at low tide, is awash with rock pools. When the sea comes in, this promontory regains its island status and is only accessible via a metre-wide suspension bridge from a nearby cliff-top. Built in 1901 by Harpers of Aberdeen, the bridge is 30m long and floats 23m above the beach. It requires an annual safety inspection and is a no-no for any vertigo sufferers. The current owners are Lord and Lady Long, who fell in love with this dramatic outcrop during a visit to Cornwall.

They converted this Edwardian house from a tearoom into a home. But Lord Long is now 78 and the couple feel it's time to move on and let someone else enjoy the experience.

There's plenty of space inside, from the large drawing and breakfast rooms with their expansive windows, to a master bedroom with en-suite. There are three bedrooms and three reception rooms, as well as terraces and lawns with semi-tropical plants. The décor is traditional, but a contemporary makeover would turn this house into a 21st-century paradise.

Newquay has boomed in recent years with prices for good-sized houses reaching well into seven figures. The town has a healthy mixture of thronging tourist crowds, old Cornish charm and funky bars and restaurants. The fishermen still land their catches in the harbour and the dolphins playing in the bay are a reminder of this coastline's warm currents.

Newquay airport, withregular flights to London, is only six miles away, making The Island a tempting possibility for a surf-loving city-dweller searching for an unusual bolthole.

For sale: other island homes

* Isle of Bute, Scotland

Overlooking Rothesay Bay, is a six-bedroom Victorian house on the Isle of Bute. It has a half-acre walled garden and a billiards room. There are ferries to the mainland. Glasgow is 40 miles away. £385,000 through Strutt & Parker (0141 225 3880, www.struttandparker.com)

* St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

This detached granite cottage is surrounded by the lush, semi-tropical landscape of the Scilly Isles. It has an open-plan living area and large double bedroom. There are ferry and helicopter links to the mainland. £250,000 through Sibleys (01720 422 431, www.sibleysonscilly.com)

* Eel Pie Island, Twickenham

Set on the island made infamous in the Sixties as the early hangout of the Rolling Stones, this two-bedroom house has a "New England"-style interior and a garden leading down to its own pontoon. £499,950 through River Homes (020-8788 6000, www.riverhomes.co.uk).

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