Property: Share a riverbank with Mole and Ratty

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The Independent Online
Unspoilt is an accurate description of Heyford Hill at Littlemore on the Thames, just outside Oxford. This area of woodland is not spoilt by so much as a garden shed, let alone a road or a house. It is simply a wood, leading down to the kind of river where Mole and Ratty might play.

Heyford Hill, for sale through John D Wood (0865 311522), covers nearly eight acres of green-belt land, which means any plans to alter it will be subjected to serious scrutiny. Its sole feature is a wooden jetty with private mooring. There are also fishing rights to 160 yards of the Thames, though with the trees hanging so low, there is barely room to cast a fly.

The idea of owning a wood may seem more exciting than owning a weekend cottage - and with a price tag of pounds 30,000 this is also a cheaper way of getting a place in the country.

THE buyer of the Governor's House at Portland Bill in Dorset, will require guts and resilience as well as imagination. The Grade II listed detached house, built of Portland stone, looks a snip at pounds 50,000. The only snag is the neighbours.

First there is the rifle range just to the south, beyond which lies a young offenders' institution. Then there is the air station and the dockyard to the north. Finally, right up against the garden wall - which at this point measures some 20ft - is HM prison The Verne.

To reach what was the once the house of the prison governor, you follow the signs marked HM Prison Cemetery. Viewers must report to the reception area of the prison itself, before being taken up to the house.

The state of the interior is made clear by the agents' note which warns that the staircase is not to be used in any circumstances, as it is rotten.

On a more positive note, the house is a fine-looking Victorian property with spacious rooms and stunning views of the sea. It is being sold by the Crown Estate through Cluttons (071-408 1010), who describe it as 'an intriguing property in need of tender, loving care'.

IF YOU you like the sea, but would prefer to enjoy it from a more conventional vantage point, Knight Frank & Rutley is selling one of the most stunning properties to come on to the market this year. Bar House sits in one of the best locations in Cornwall, facing south across the Helford Passage.

Its gardens are rich in the kind of exotic plants that only flourish in such warm, sheltered places. They are interspersed with ponds filled by a stream which runs through the garden and flows into the sea below.

The house has a stone boat- house topped with a terrace, and with a slipway and electric winch. The interior of Bar House is in immaculate condition. It has three reception rooms, a large kitchen and conservatory, a master bedroom suite and four further bedrooms and a stone cabin housing the playroom. Knight Frank & Rutley in Exeter (0392 433033) has already had nearly 100 inquiries about the property, for which the asking price is pounds 1m.