A Riverside Idyll on the Somerset Levels: Where Life Slows Down

A high hedged lane takes you down the hill to Riverside, tucked away in the tiny hamlet of Curload out on the Somerset Levels, and wow, what a dream! Once you’ve pulled up and got out the car it’s like you’ve left the whole world behind. Out the back, just a few feet from the kitchen door, the River Tone drifts lazily past; beyond it are miles and miles of unruffled countryside, the green fields and watery moors that this part of Somerset is known for. At the front beneath a leafy arbour is a hot tub, yours to soak in 24/7; oh, the lure of an afternoon’s immersion whilst the sun beats down, or a moonlight wallow…

This lovely red brick house, built in Victorian times as two workers cottages, is nothing short of an idyll; 6 bedrooms (3 ensuite) sleep 12 people and there are 3 further bath/shower rooms. It’s a charming retreat for large group stays, whether it’s a family holiday, a celebration with friends, or corporate hospitality.

Riverside is tailor-made for families because there’s something for all age groups; older children will spend a lot of time in the games room playing table tennis, pool and table football. The younger ones will be happy in the sunny garden room that doubles up as a place to play; leave the French doors open and they can come and go and no need to worry because the garden is safe and enclosed; but do go and play too - push them on the swings, play catch and make-believe, just idle away the hours out there, make memories. Later on, fire up the barbecue, eat alfresco, and on balmy evenings there’s no reason why you can’t stay out there till bedtime.

It’s like Riverside truly welcomes you; if a house could have arms, then this one would be wrapping them around you as soon as you step in through the front door. It’s all so agreeable, that’s the thing, so fresh and homely, completely unflustered. The dining/reception room has fat inviting sofas in a snug area with a woodburner, and in the alcoves there’s quirky bookcase wallpaper. Catching all the natural light in front of the window is a long chunky dining table; you can just picture the happy meal times, the table laid out with toast and marmalade, coffee and the newspapers at breakfast time, and then at lunchtime local sausages from the village shop at Stoke St Gregory just up the road, with a nice crisp salad and fresh crusty bread. Sunday roasts, afternoon tea with the windows wide open in the summer, a big fat stew after a winter’s walk; that whole thing of gathering with your kith and kin round a big table laden with scrumptious food – that’s partly what holidays are all about, and if you’ve got something worth celebrating, say a special birthday or an anniversary or something, then even more reason to do it.

The long Shaker style kitchen looks out over the river, so you might find that washing-up at the sink suddenly doesn’t seem such a bad idea, though there is a dishwasher of course. To one end there’s a cosy seating area; another good place to snuck round for breakfast, making plans for the day. The sitting room is light and airy, still and spacious, with enticing loungy sofas in chenille and velvet, and fluffy rugs to wriggle your toes in.

Two staircases take you up to the bedrooms, 5 on the first floor and one right at the top of the house where you’ll find binoculars set up and a bird book; the Levels are a twitcher’s paradise. The bedrooms are individually styled, but no matter where you sleep you can leave the window open and let the cool night air drift in whilst you sleep; if you pick a room at the back of the house, well lucky you – sitting in bed with a cup of tea looking out over the river is bliss.

And the local area? Picturesque and plenty to do; acres of countryside to explore for starters. You can walk along the river and climb Burrow Mump, then go back down to the King Alfred for lunch, or in the other direction you can stroll to North Curry, stock up on provisions at the village shop, and go to the Bird in Hand.

Just up the road is the Willows & Wetlands Centre where you can find out about the withy growing and basket making that has been a big part of this landscape for centuries. There are walks, exhibitions, tours, a café, and a shop. Go to Langport one morning and potter round the shops or stroll along the river to Muchelney and drop by the abbey, or the Priest’s House, and make sure you see the gorgeously painted ceiling in the church. You could go to Glastonbury and climb the Tor, or to Wells to see the magnificent cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace where the swans that live in the moat come and ring a bell when they’re hungry.

You can be at the coast in under an hour and there’s lots more further afield, but to be honest, why would you want to go far when you’ve got all this comfort, and peace and quiet at your disposal? That feeling of calm just exudes at Riverside, it’s like it just wafts around the whole house and washes over you so you can’t possibly be anything but relaxed. Come when the weather is good and you will never forget a beautiful evening spent out on the riverbank watching the sunset across the Somerset Levels.

Summer’s going to be good they say, so book a short break or a 7 night holiday to fully appreciate the tranquillity of this beautiful waterside house. Come with friends and their children, or bring grandparents, aunties and uncles – you can even bring the dog! But don't miss out - check now for June and July availability.

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