Hot Spot: Teignmouth, Devon

Plenty of sun and proximity to booming Exeter continue to lure buyers of all ages to this tranquil Victorian resort town, says Robert Liebman

The River Teign still pays its way. "Teignmouth's harbour is active and it is from here that some of the world's finest clays are exported," says Andrew Cook of Bradleys estate agents. "The clay is shipped by road from Kingsteignton and Newton Abbot to Teignmouth Quay."

The River Teign still pays its way. "Teignmouth's harbour is active and it is from here that some of the world's finest clays are exported," says Andrew Cook of Bradleys estate agents. "The clay is shipped by road from Kingsteignton and Newton Abbot to Teignmouth Quay."

The river also provides sun-worshippers with a stretch of south-facing coastline, although the town itself faces eastward. Teignmouth has a pier and promenade with Victorian seafront and it is favoured, but not overwhelmed, by visitors in the summer. Across the harbour and linked by ferry is Shaldon, which has a zoo, botanical gardens, miniature golf course, inns, shops and cafés.

Wars have shaped Teignmouth's property stock. Many of the period properties were built on land cleared after the French ransacked the town in 1690. More recently, the town was a centre for torpedo-boat production, and large swathes of land, devastated by the Luftwaffe, gave way to post-war residential housing. As a resort, the town's popularity grew with its accessibility, which improved dramatically when Isambard Kingdom Brunel extended his Atmospheric Railway to the coast in the 1840s.

Located at the foot of the Haldon Hills, 15 miles from Exeter, Teignmouth itself is mostly flat, which increases the town's appeal to seashore retirees. "Actually we have many types of buyers: owners of second or holiday homes, families, and the retirement element," says Cook. "Many of the old properties have been converted to flats."

Teignmouth is a popular regional base for those moving to the South-west, he adds. "Property prices are not rising steeply now, although they had been very hot. But with Exeter still growing, our long-term prospects remain very, very good."

THE LOW-DOWN

Getting there

Teignmouth is on the Paddington-Penzance line. The A380 with links to the M5 is at Kingsteignton, five miles from Teignmouth.

Attractions

Annual events include an autumn jazz festival in Teignmouth, and a Water Carnival in Shaldon. Nearby are Shaldon Wildlife Trust Breeding Centre, Exeter racecourse and Ashcombe Adventure Centre; Dartmoor National Park is 12 miles north-west. Canonteign Falls, England's highest waterfall, cascades 220 feet into the Teign.

Associations

Computer pioneer Charles Babbage was born here in 1791, and Keats wrote some of his best-known poems here in 1818 while visiting his sick brother Tom.

Prices

Small two- and three-bed semis and terraces start from £115,000. A two-bed flat with sea views and gardens is £144,950, the same price bracket as a handsome redbrick three-bed period terrace priced at £149,000. Larger three- and four-bed houses start at about £200,000.

Family homes

The converted Old Coach House has five en-suite bedrooms, large kitchen (15ft), utility (15ft) and living room (25ft), double garage, sea views and a sticker price of £475,000. In Bishopsteignton, the even larger Crispins is £575,000.

Live and let live

A large house comes with two bedrooms, kitchen, dining and living room, plus four bedsit rooms to let; £290,000 at Dart.

Top-end homes

A detached three-bed house with study, double garage, estuary views and a quarter-acre plot in Shaldon is £450,000. A mile from the coast, a six-bed, three-storey, 17th-century farmhouse has a thatched roof, conservatory, paddock, and detached barn and double garage with first-floor accommodation, £525,000. Both at Dart. Primrose Bank has four bedrooms with swimming pool and one-bed annexe in Bishopsteignton just outside Teignmouth; around £725,000 at Jackson-Stops & Staff.

Apartments

A two-bedroom, top-floor apartment facing the sea in a palatial retirement block is £149,950, at both Dart and Force. The property has guest suites that residents can reserve for a fee, and a communal lounge with kitchen facilities that can be booked for private use by residents. In Rowden House, a three-bed penthouse with south-facing balcony is £299,950 at Dart.

Barn courtyard

Number 4 Venn Farm Barns is a corner-plot four-bedroom leasehold barn conversion in a semi-rural location. It features a patio and enclosed gardens backing onto woodland and is for sale at £245,000 through Bradleys.

Religious conversion

The Grade II-listed three-bed Chapter House in St Scholastica's is a converted Benedictine abbey with very long but narrow rooms - including a 34ft x10ft reception room with vaulted ceiling and 27ft x 8ft kitchen/ breakfast room; £350,000 at Bradleys.

Estate agents

Bradleys, 01626 777123; Dart, 01626 772507; Force & Sons 01626 772671; Jackson-Stops & Staff (Exeter), 01392 214222.

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