Fishing is not a glamour sport but thanks to the BBC2 series, Gone Fishing, which followed comedians Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse on their fishing trips, we all know it’s fun — and comedy gold.
Perhaps that’s why living alongside rivers is so popular. Such homes command high prices — especially if you’re on one of the chalk streams of the South such as the Test, Loddon or Itchen.
‘It’s impossible to say exactly how much a stretch of river enhances a property’s price,’ says George Bramley, of Knight Frank. ‘That depends on the exact location, the catch statistics and what else is on the market. But it is certainly considerable.’
Gone fishing: Homes with fishing rights have cachet but you can still hook a riverside bargain
Paul Whitehouse is selling his weekend bolthole near Stockbridge, Hampshire — a two-storey house with an indoor pool, open brickwork and low ceilings. He bought it five years ago (he now lets it to a friend) for the superb stretch of prime River Test, and views over Hampshire water meadows.
Work commitments meant he couldn’t fish there often so he is now selling for £1.35 million, myddeltonmajor.co.uk.
Not all houses on the riverbank are owned by keen fishermen. Diana Hogg, 60, and her husband Jeremy are selling their home of the last 22 years in Warnford, Hampshire, on the banks of the River Meon, one of the best spots for trout fishing in the region.
‘We thought it would be fun for our son,’ says Mrs Hogg, who is moving because she wants larger paddocks for her horses. ‘He caught a few trout and we cooked them, but he was appalled at what he had done and never fished again,’ she says. Mrs Hogg reckons there is more to her five-bedroom riverbank home than fishing. It has a secret garden and wooden bridge over the water.
‘It’s the sound of the water that I love,’ she says. High Barn is on the market for £1.5 million with hamptons.co.uk.
If you don’t want to pay in the millions, then look in the less fashionable counties. The Wylye and Nadder are both tributaries of the Avon where the fishing is good, while in Somerset, Devon and Dorset, property is far cheaper.
In West Wales, too, there is good fishing. ‘There is always demand for houses on the River Teifi and the Towy, both of which are renowned for their salmon and sea trout,’ says Carol Peett, of West Wales Property Finders.
‘They are particularly popular with retirees and as holiday-let investments. Fishermen bring in a steady rental income.’
Buying a house on the river is not entirely straightforward. The deeds should be checked carefully. Owning the house and garden doesn’t mean you own the fishing rights.
You could find a stranger, quite within his rights, walking through your grounds to start fishing a stretch of river you don’t own. There is also the possibility of flooding. This may not be mentioned in the details, in which case find out more and check Environment Agency flood risk maps.