The Old Sawmills is a truly unique waterside property which has been unavailable on the open market for 48 years. Only accessible by boat or on foot, the property offers an unrivalled level of privacy and seclusion, surrounded by its own enchanting woodland, with the potential for a high level of self-sufficiency. It would be difficult to imagine a more romantic and historic setting than that of The Old Sawmills.
The entrance to the main house is via a spacious conservatory with a slate floor and wonderful water and woodland views. French doors open out onto a raised terrace, with more magnificent views overlooking the creek and gardens. The main reception room, an open plan kitchen/sitting room, is found at the heart of the ground floor. This spacious room benefits from a very high ceiling with attractive exposed beams, Karndean flooring, a wood burner, lovely water views and an ornate circular window. The kitchen is well-equipped with a gas Rangemaster cooker with double oven, dishwasher and an extractor fan. There is also a utility room, boot room and a stylish family bathroom with a claw foot bath. In total there are four bedrooms on the ground floor, two with en suite shower rooms, and one with a wood burner with an attractive mantelpiece and Victorian tiling.
Upstairs, there are two more double bedrooms, and a further bedroom with sleeping arrangements for four people, one with an en suite shower room that benefits from a large walk-in rain shower. An additional shower room completes the first floor. All but one of the bedrooms in the property have wonderful water views.
On the lower ground floor is the famous recording studio. The entrance leads into a control room with a cloakroom/WC, and there is a main studio with a Juliet balcony, as well as a separate booth. Views of the creek can be enjoyed from each of these rooms.
The lodge, a single-storey timber-clad dwelling which was rebuilt and extended in 2011, is accessed via a path from the main house that leads through a lawned garden. The garden is contained and gated to provide an exclusive exterior area for the lodge.
The lodge provides excellent potential for income, via letting, or it could be used as further accommodation for additional family members. There is a welcoming central sitting room/kitchen/dining room with a wood burner, Karndean flooring and large windows providing fabulous views of the creek. The kitchen benefits from an integrated dishwasher, a gas hob and an electric oven. The Lodge has two bedrooms, as well as a stylish shower room with a large walk-in shower. There is central heating.
The creek at The Old Sawmills could tell a long and colourful story. From its early origins as a site used by medieval merchants, to the inspiration for a classic novel, and then a world-famous recording studio, this enchanting site is immersed in history.
The most recent chapter in the life of The Old Sawmills, and certainly the most well-known, is its current incarnation as a recording studio. Opened in early 1974 as one of the very first residential recording studios in the UK, Sawmills Studio has developed an enviable reputation as a unique recording environment with a long list of successful clients to its name including Robert Plant, Stone Roses, Oasis, The Verve, Supergrass and Muse, to name just a few. Regularly described as “legendary” by the media, it has played host to many well-established artists and played a big part in the initial development of some. Examples of popular albums recorded at The Old Sawmills include Oasis’s ‘Definitely Maybe’, ‘In It For The Money’ by Supergrass, and various albums by Muse including ‘Showbiz’ and ‘Origin of Symmetry’. In fact, Muse launched their career at The Old Sawmills, and they are now recognised as one of the best live acts on the planet.
However, the fascinating history of The Old Sawmills dates back to much earlier origins than the recording studio. A Stone Age axe was discovered on site in the early 1960s, suggesting a settlement here since time immemorial. The area has mention in the Domesday Book and evidence of medieval activity can still be observed with the remains of a medieval quay clearly visible at the head of the creek. The creek, known as Bodmin Pill, was used by the medieval merchants of Bodmin who chose this location as a preferred landing point from the sea. The reason for this would have been to avoid paying landing dues up river at Lostwithiel, the ancient capital of Cornwall.
Much later on in history, during the early 20th century, The Old Sawmills is thought to have provided the inspiration for the author of the classic novel ‘The Wind in the Willows’. Kenneth Grahame was a regular visitor to nearby Fowey, and was married in Fowey Church. He spent many an afternoon on the river and during a long stay in 1907 he completed what was to become his most successful work which was published the following year. It has generally been accepted that the prime inspiration for this book was the River Fowey and a documented river excursion in May 1907 found the author and friends picnicking in a little creek off the main river. It is believed that afternoon’s trip was the inspiration for Ratty and Moles first picnic outing in Chapter one. There is only one creek with a water mill in that locality, Bodmin Pill, and the description fits perfectly and has changed very little, apart from the water wheel and the colour of the paintwork. The relevant excerpt from Wind in the Willows reads: “‘Leaving the main stream, they now passed into what seemed at first sight like a little land-locked lake. Green turf sloped down to either edge, brown snaky tree-roots gleamed below the surface of the quiet water, while ahead of them the silvery shoulder and foamy tumble of a weir, arm-in-arm with a restless dripping mill-wheel, that held up in its turn a grey-gabled mill- house, filled the air with a soothing murmur of sound, dull and smothery, yet with little clear voices speaking up cheerfully out of it at intervals. It was so very beautiful that the Mole could only hold up both forepaws and gasp, `O my! O my! O my!’” (Chapter 1: The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame).
Further on in the 20th Century, The Old Sawmills played a part during both World Wars. During the Great War, despite its remote location, the woodland which surrounds the buildings was selectively coppiced for timber that was to find its way to the trenches of the Western front. During World War Two, The Old Sawmills was requisitioned by the American Army in 1943 for preparations in the run-up to the d-Day landings. With few home comforts and time on their hands, they built a hydro- electric scheme to provide heat and light. They resourcefully managed to source cast iron pipe work and a turbine, and today the remains of the pipe work can still be seen in situ along the stream. Foundations of their cook house can also be discovered in the woods overlooking the river, now with a gazebo built upon the site.
The Old Sawmills has two websites providing further information: And . Both of these contain an extensive 360° virtual tour of the entire site.<br /><br />When arriving at The Old Sawmills the boat arrives at a pontoon close to the house. A pathway and steps lead upwards towards the property, with established flowerbeds bordering the route with a wide variety of planting including magnificent gunneras. A large, flat area of lawn is situated between the main house and the creek, providing the ideal place for relaxing and enjoying the spectacular surroundings. The location makes the gardens a wonderful place for watching wildlife; deer have been known to roam into the garden and peer through the windows of the lodge, whilst Kingfishers and other birds can be observed at close proximity.
A second pontoon, outside of the creek, allows for 24-hour access to Fowey by boat. The Old Sawmills also has a right to a mooring on the estuary, which is very difficult to obtain. There are also, available by separate negotiation, four parking spaces in Golant with planning permission for garaging and an office above.
The majority of the land at The Old Sawmills comprises established, dense woodland which extends up the valley. There are a number of pathways that wind through the woodland, providing ample opportunity for walking through the grounds and enjoying the surroundings. Found on one of the pathways is a gazebo, constructed from wood from the land, with beautiful water views. One large circular track, measuring approximately a mile in total, is navigable by vehicles with four-wheel drive, giving access to the front garden of the house; useful for delivering supplies to the property and for maintaining the grounds and woodland on all levels. Species of tree found within the woodland include chestnut, holly, macrocarpa, oak, ash and beech. A pretty stream runs into the original mill pond, then on to a waterfall downhill towards the creek, creating the pleasant sound of running water. At the creek itself, the foundations of the old medieval quay can still be seen, signifying the location where Cornish merchants would unload their goods to avoid paying their taxes.
In total, the land at The Old Sawmills measures approximately 32.08 acres.
Situated within the gardens is a wooden outbuilding with an adjacent workshop. There is also another wooden outbuilding within the grounds, currently used as a games room. These outbuildings have plumbing, drainage and electricity connected and therefore provide potential for reinstatement as residential units.<br /><br />The Old Sawmills is set in a beautiful and secluded location on the western bank of the River Fowey in its own tidal creek, within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The property is a mile from the sea on the south coast of Cornwall, located between the quaint village of Golant and the picturesque town of Fowey. The river provides good opportunity for fishing (bass and mackerel are commonly found here and the outside quay holds/held a British record for shore-caught sea fish) as well as a range of water sports including sailing, kayaking and paddleboarding. There are many scenic walks in the surrounding area, some of which can be joined directly from The Old Sawmills.
The Old Sawmills is approximately half a miles boat ride away from the charming Cornish coastal village of Golant. With its exceptional position on the water’s edge, Golant is considered one of the most delightful and desirable places to live on the Fowey Estuary. Once famed for its apple orchards and cider making, there are still many old fruit trees to be found in the village. In the heart of Golant is a popular public house, the Fisherman’s Arms. The village is set within the unspoilt woods and fields fringing the Fowey Estuary and is less than two miles upstream from the coastal towns of
Polruan and Fowey. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Daphne du Maurier (renowned author of ‘Rebecca’, ‘The Birds’, ‘Jamaica Inn’ and others) lived for several years at Bodinnick, a mile downriver from The Old Sawmills towards Fowey; The Old Sawmills’ closest downriver neighbour. It was the location for the writing of a number of her earlier works.
There are good road links to the motorway system via the A38/A30. Railway links to London, Paddington, can be made locally at Lostwithiel, Par and St. Austell and there are flights to London from Cornwall Airport Newquay.
The popular town of Fowey is approximately 1 ¼ miles by boat from The Old Sawmills, with 24 hour access afforded by the property’s second pontoon. The town provides a good range of shops and businesses catering for most day-today needs. Award-winning restaurants, small boutique hotels and excellent public houses have helped to establish Fowey as a popular, high quality destination. Fowey Harbour offers excellent facilities for the keen yachtsman, and for the walker there are many miles of nearby footpaths often in the ownership of the National Trust. There are several excellent golf courses within easy reach, many world class gardens are to be found in the immediate area and the renowned Eden Project with its futuristic biomes is just a few miles away.
The historic naval port of Plymouth is approximately 36 miles away and offers extensive cultural, recreational and educational facilities including three theatres, Drakes Circus shopping centre, many sporting facilities and a fine university. The Barbican area has retail art galleries, numerous bars and eating places, including the Barbican Kitchen and River Cottage Canteen at Royal William Yard. The port has regular cross-channel ferry services to Brittany and northern Spain.