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Freshford Mill | 26 January 2016 |

Despite the very wet weather at the close of 2015 progress is still being made at Freshford Mill with interior walls being plastered to properties in  Phase 1 and new stone walls emerging to enclose private gardens. The attractive Cock and Hen capping will be added shortly .The base of the lake has been prepared but Environ are still immersed in technicalities regarding the flood defences - there are many regulatory conditions that must be complied with that ...

… have taken longer than expected. And as ever, the conversions have been a voyage of discovery with some unexpected remedial works to be attended to, to ensure the properties achieve the Environ standard of quality.

Preparations for the Showhouse opening are in full swing. Letecombe Lodge is a deceptively spacious home of 2800 sq ft, offering 4 bedrooms, including 3 ensuites and 1 family bathroom. The master suite with balcony and bifold doors overlooking the lake to the front is simply stunning with walk-in wardrobe and luxurious ensuite with both separate shower and bath complemented by contemporary Italian tiles.

The ground floor features a large sitting room with central woodstove feature leading to a dining area. A mirror is positioned above the woodstove behind which is concealed a television which becomes visible at the flick of a switch. To the side of the fireplace unit is storage for logs, DVD player etc.

The large kitchen has space for both sofas and a kitchen table served by a built-in bench unit. Floor to ceiling sliding doors lead out to a private courtyard enclosed on 2 sides by a tall stone wall, perfect for those summer BBQ’s.

The Shaker style hand painted kitchen units in light grey with stone worktops will soon be installed to create a contemporary family kitchen with central island and the latest Bosch appliances including large American Fridge/Freezer, steam oven ,induction hob and Quooker hot tap to provide efficient, safe boiling hot water on demand.

The study, an essential element of today’s lifestyle, offers a very light workspace with both windows and bifold doors leading out to a sheltered paved terrace.

Flooring throughout the ground floor, apart from tiled utility and cloakroom, is a limed oak selected from the Kahrs Artisan Range. This creates a light contemporary feel to the space. The staircase is crafted from matching oak with a light well positioned immediately above to ensure the central areas of the house are flooded with light.

The house will be dressed with furniture from the stylish Neptune range to create a classical but contemporary ambience appealing to all tastes.

Plans for landscaping are well advanced with generous paved and decked areas to provide sitting areas in the sun or shade to suit the mood. There are lawns where children can play, an enchanting formal garden with lavender lined paths and pretty scented apricot roses with the lower garden featuring the remains of the ancient Dairy as a ‘Folly’ style wall, merging into the fields beyond.

The exterior of the house will be rendered in a soft cream with a locally sourced carving of a Ram’s Head erected in the gable triangle to remind everyone of The Mill’s history. The front door will be approached through a beautiful Lych Gate constructed from wood with slate roof and double gates.

Further details of the opening will be announced shortly.

In the meantime if you have any queries please email our Sales Manager Sarah Smith on   01732 848316


Freshford Mill | 26 January 2016 |

Environ Communities were very delighted when they managed to purchase the partly developed Freshford Mill after many months of stiff negotiation. Tony Dowse, Chairman of Environ Communities, had great vision as to how the site could be developed to reflect the local vernacular, complementing the beautiful village of Freshford, but also give the best of country living that discerning purchasers demand today.

Tony has created many award winning developments over his career and has evolved a very unique and distinctive style, designing residential schemes that complement the local environment. He firmly believes that it is the relationship between space and light that shapes our experience of a building and ultimately turns a house into a home.

Ample natural lighting, ventilation from fresh air, views over landscaped grounds or water and easy access to outdoor space are all hallmarks of an Environ property. The need to be connected to nature and the benefits this brings are certainly not new concepts, and these principles have been influential in the design process at Freshford Mill.

New windows, rooflights, glazed bifold or sliding doors have been installed to the houses to increase light levels which are linked to improved mood, enhanced morale, lower fatigue and reduced eye strain. This is particularly important as our society now spends approximately ninety percent of its time indoors, which can lead to adverse impacts on health associated with lack of contact with natural surroundings.

In Letecombe Lodge, the Show Home that will open shortly, not only is there floor to ceiling glazed doors in the kitchen, study, sitting and dining room, there is a light well over the staircase that floods the very centre of the house with natural light. The master suite has an exceptional view across the lake and fields, with floor to ceiling bifold doors that open out on to a generous balcony.

All properties have access to either a private fully landscaped garden which may include generous paved and decked areas, or a balcony with views over the adjoining countryside such as in Carding Mill which overlooks the Island Nature Reserve. This reinforces the connection to the environment.

In addition Freshford Mill has landscaped grounds for residents to enjoy and benefit from, including  a new lake with decking walkways amongst rustling reeds, leading to viewing platforms with seating, a Butterfly Garden full of colourful nectar rich plants to encourage both butterflies and moths, a nature reserve and even allotments for residents to partake in the “good life”.

Part of the Design Ethos is to use natural materials such as locally sourced larch to be used for cladding on houses and carbarns, pergolas and decking. Stone walls with cock and hen capping are currently being built to enclose private spaces. Oak floors inside the houses are selected from the Kahrs Artisan Range, with stone work tops in the kitchens.

In the meantime if you have any queries please contact Sarah Smith, Environ Sales Manager

01732 848316 or

Or Giles Harling 01225 4745000  or

The latest trends and factors when building new homes

Environ | 18 December 2015 |

With a new year just around the corner Tony Dowse, Chairman of Environ, discusses some of the latest trends and factors affecting the building of new homes.

The Most Important Features Buyers Will Be Looking For in New Homes in 2016: Buyers of new properties are looking for space, light, the latest technology and access to an outdoor space. As a result we are offering homes that offer ...

… much larger square footages, a very high specification and incorporates biophilic design. In essence this is an architectural celebration of natural forms, processes, patterns, qualities and materials that provide a positive impact on physical, mental and emotional health. Of particular relevance in the Environ model is that developments concentrate on integrating retirement schemes into existing communities rather than the isolation of retirement villages. Environ is very much concentrating on a new retirement model as a response to a number of studies that show that the type of homes being produced is not tempting retirees from their larger homes, despite their desire to downsize.

The Effects of Changing Technology on the Housing Market: Broadband and mobile phone signals are now of paramount importance in any scheme. Technology is moving on at such a pace that it is essential to allow for future flexibility and the inter relationship between computers and TV screens in the home. In the same way that we are now incorporating mechanical and electrical plant cupboards as a sort of command module; we are also including media hubs as a control point for all the media/computer/mobile technology.

The Impact of Changing Family Living Situations on the Type of Homes People Want to Buy: It is important that houses are designed with ‘Lifetime Homes’ principles, so that houses can adapt with changing needs and are equally suitable for young families and retirees. Some commentators are hinting at house layouts going away from open plan. In my view this would be a retrograde step as private areas can be created in an open plan layout given the flexibility of pocket doors and sliding partitions.

The Effect of the Government’s Targets for Building New Homes: Some of the provisions in the Housing and Planning Bill and the Autumn Statement would appear positive, but there remains so much uncertainty. For all the positive comment, it’s not possible to simply pick up the numbers in an instant. It’s a bit like getting an oil tanker up to speed. The planning system will continue to delay development as there are still a number of constraints, such as the need for specialist reports in order for an application to be validated.

Bath and Bristol
Look to the Future

Freshford Mill | 20 November 2015 |

new report from Knight Frank shows regeneration projects in Bath and Bristol will boost the economy and property prices in the cities and surrounding areas, making the South West even more popular than it already is. This is great news for Freshford Mill , our own regeneration project, and future home owners. New enterprise zones in Bristol and Bath will create around 26,000 jobs between them, attracting established businesses as well as small and medium businesses ...

… in the creative and digital sectors, bringing new energy and creativity into the cities. In terms of economic growth, it is suggested that Bristol and Bath will outperform the South West this year and in years to come.

Bath is already known worldwide as an international tourist destination full of museums, cafes, and attractions. But behind the Georgian facades, Bath is undertaking an exciting transformation.  The Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area – the ‘City of Ideas’ is a collection of development sites and buildings along the river corridor. The ‘City of Ideas’ will allow Bath to look to the future, and to become a city where businesses, academia and creativity combine to create value and enhance the quality of life.

The Knight Frank report is positive for the property market too; over the last decade, property prices in Bristol and Bath have outperformed the average. The improvement of rail links between London and the South West, with the electrification of the line, are important factors in drawing new homeowners to the area. Commuting from Bath to London daily will become far more common, as the trip is reduced to just over an hour – making it shorter than some tube journeys!

Another exciting new development project in the area is our own Freshford Mill, which is due to be transformed into a thriving residential community of 21 homes. Located on the River Frome in the Cotswold countryside 6 miles south-east of Bath and 15 miles south-east of Bristol, the village of Freshford is one of the most scenic around Bath and has its own train station, bus service and easy links to the M4 motorway. The development will involve the conversion of historic mill buildings, as well as newly built, stylish modern homes.

Like Bath and Bristol as a whole, Freshford is looking to the future, whist recognising and celebrating the value of its past.

London, New York,

Freshford Mill | 2 October 2015 |

There’s more to Somerset than you might think! Somerset is a beautiful county, with a perfect mixture of peaceful rural landscapes and bustling activity. Of course, Somerset has long been famous as the home of Glastonbury Festival which attracts celebrities and music fans from all over the world to a farm in the tiny village of Pilton every year. This year the tickets sold out in just 25 minutes signalling that the popularity of the festival isn’t suffering after 45 years.

But it’s not just Glastonbury festival that causes people to flock to Somerset in search of a culture fix. This summer the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Bruton celebrated its first birthday. Hauser & Wirth have renowned contemporary art galleries in New York, London and Zurich and so the opening of a gallery in an unknown town in Somerset came as a bit of a surprise. But over the last year it has attracted a range of celebrities and hosted a diverse schedule of events and exhibitions.

Another boost to the popularity and trendiness of Somerset came around 15 years ago with the opening of Babington House, the country off-shoot of London’s fashionable media hang-out, Soho House. Babington House is considered one of the ultimate UK spa destinations for those from the city looking to escape and unwind. The so called ‘Babington effect’ boosted popularity of homes in the Somerset villages and towns in the surrounding area.

The upcoming electrification of the Great Western Line is likely to make Somerset even more desirable. This huge railway modernisation project is bringing Somerset closer to London every day; by the time it is completed next year, London and Bath will be only an hour’s train ride apart. This is great news for those who want to live a more peaceful life, taking advantage of the beautiful rural landscapes of the West Country, but without giving up the benefits of being within easy reach of London.

Along with all of this new exciting news and stylish modern arrivals in Somerset, are of course the things that have made the county attractive for centuries. Quality of life is high in Somerset, with beautiful rural surroundings, a long list of outdoor activities to enjoy, low crime levels, low pollution, good schools and great transport links to the rest of the country. The countryside surrounding the picturesque towns and villages is teeming with wildlife ready to be explored by adventurous children.

With all the new and exciting news from Somerset, along with everything that has made it a great place to live for centuries, it is no wonder the beautiful county is more popular than ever.

Smart living for
the un-retiring

Stuart Court | 16 September 2015 |

Coming Soon. A new addition of 5 houses and 2 apartments to the existing exclusive development Stuart Court managed by Cognatum, a leading company in its field. Designed for the new generation of un-retiring 55+, it is set in the unspoilt Cotswold village of Minchinhampton, with Stuart Court less than 10 minutes walk to shops,a church, a library, doctor’s surgery, dentist, post office , chemist , restaurants, a golf course and other sporting facilities.

Environ is delighted to be associated with Cognatum, who offer a comprehensive management service organised by estate managers who are also available for advice and respond to emergencies. The ethos is to provide a service for those who want a more relaxed way of life without sacrificing standards, or wish perhaps to spend more time abroad and want a secure and maintained home whilst they are away. The services to residents operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Set amidst gracious parkland grounds the new development will be centred around a contemporary water garden. The very spacious and luxurious 2 bedroom, 2 ensuite Lifetime Homes, some with upstairs study, will be constructed to Environ’s exacting standards- oak flooring, underfloor heating, large sliding treble glazed doors and windows, Domus tiles, balconies, Duravit sanitary ware, Pyram kitchens and generous storage making them light and airy, and easy to run. Provision has been made  to install a small 2 man lift at a future date should this be required. Materials on the exterior are low maintenance  with fully landscaped courtyard gardens with built-in seating. Environ include many extras as standard.

The 2 bedroom apartments are exceptionally spacious, the first floor one accessed via a lift. The ground floor apartment has a fully landscaped courtyard garden too. Both have impressive views over the communal garden to the front.

Register your interest today in our light and airy homes- this is a rare opportunity not to be missed! There is much interest already in this unique development.

For pre-launch details of contemporary living at Stuart Court please ring Sarah on 01732 848316 or email

Freshford Mill

Freshford Mill | 31 July 2015 |

Freshford Mill, a site six miles south-east of Bath, set in beautiful Cotswolds countryside, is due to be transformed from a dilapidated site of abandoned buildings to a thriving development of 21 homes, where residents will be connected to the rural beauty that surrounds them. The site is surrounded by unspoilt woodland and pastures which are teeming with beautiful English wildlife. The development itself is designed to be a nature haven with several

wildlife-friendly features, such as native trees, hedge and wildflowers planted to provide a habitat for insects and birds.

The site lies in the quintessentially English village of Freshford, voted one of the most desirable villages in England, set in the southernmost part of the Cotswolds ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. However, despite its tranquillity, its proximity to nature and stunning rural views, the mill is just ten minutes’ walk from Freshford train station, and from here residents can be in the centre of Bath in just ten minutes.

One of Freshford Mill’s main features will be a lovely wildlife lake, planted with native plants to attract bats and merge with a wildflower meadow, which is particularly attractive to bees. Nature lovers will be able to enjoy the lake from walkways, boardwalks and a viewing platform. Birds such as Swallows and House Martins will swoop in to catch insects from the lake, and build nests nearby. Benches around the lake will allow residents to take in the views up to Limpley Stoke Valley and to the top of Freshford Village.

The riverbank is a great place for keen resident anglers to drop their lines in search of abundant stocks of barbel, chubb, pike, roach, dace or perch to name but a few! Because of Environ’s commitment to the local community, as well as the local environment, a special island nature reserve will be available to children from the local primary school to enjoy. Children will be able to see birds, various types of fish, and even the occasional otter swimming by!

An orchard is to be planted with local varieties of apple, pear and plum which will ultimately reach about ten feet in height, and there will be allotments on site so that residents can grow their own fruit and vegetables and further connect with the great outdoors. Another nature-friendly feature at Freshford Mill is a butterfly garden, located in what used to be a derelict folly, with seating built into the wall, providing the perfect place for residents to view the butterflies.

One of Environ’s guiding principles is New Urbanism, which promotes the design of living spaces that connect to the local, natural environment and the plans at Freshford are a great example of this. The connection between the development and the nature that surrounds the site will help to create a sense community and wellbeing for those who live there.

The Dartmouth
Regatta 2015

Sails | 31 July 2015 |

In a couple of weeks’ time the 171st annual Dartmouth Royal Regatta will arrive in this picturesque South Devon town, transforming the harbour and the town itself into an absolute paradise for boating enthusiasts. The Dartmouth Royal Regatta was formally established in 1834 and has since grown in size, playing host to rowing competitions, air displays, steamboat rallies, and fireworks. This year the Red Arrows will be participating in the air show and there’ll be around

300 different boats competing in almost 50 races. The guard ship this year is the imposing HMS Somerset, a 4,500 ton Type 23 Frigate built during the Cold War.

The Dartmouth Regatta has an interesting history. So the story goes, Queen Victoria observed preparations for the regatta while sheltering from a storm in the harbour. Impressed with what she saw, she granted the regatta its ‘royal’ status just before leaving. Since then the regatta has become one of the many things that make Dartmouth ‘the jewel in Devon’s crown’.

This year, there will be additional celebrations in Dartmouth during regatta week, as SAILS, Environ’s landmark development of luxury apartments on the quayside, will be nearing completion and opening its show apartment for interested buyers for the first time. The design of the apartments is inspired by an ocean-going clipper, so the building itself plays homage to the rich sailing history of the local area.

The launch of the homes will be good news for the boating enthusiasts who descend on the town every August; they now have a chance to buy a home right on the harbour, with views of the Naval College, and nearby moorings if they have their own boat.

Tony from Environ says, “At Dartmouth it is all about the activity in the harbour – clear views of all the yachts mooring, ferries going to and thro and cruise liners visiting. You can never get bored watching it. It is a sailors’ paradise with great history too.”

Sailing enthusiasts have the opportunity to rent a mooring directly opposite the apartments, where there are 3,500 berths up to 30 metres in length. There is further space for moorings at the Dart Marina located a few minutes’ walk away, where there are berths up to 20 metres in length. Properties at SAILS also come complete with a storage pod for storing boating gear in the secure garage; allowing active residents of SAILS to enjoy uncluttered homes.

The area surrounding the apartments is a true paradise for sailing enthusiasts; it is near to The Royal Dart Yacht Club, and Dartmouth Marina is nearby, at the end of Coronation Park which is next to the development. The stunning penthouse has views towards both the Naval College and the harbour, meaning owners at Sails can truly live and breathe sailing.

Dartmouth: A Delicious Destination

Sails | 24 June 2015 |

Devon has long been famous for high quality dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, and outstanding meat and fish, thanks to its mild climate and fertile soils. More recently, the picturesque coastal town of Dartmouth - often referred to as ‘The Jewel in Devon's Crown’- has made a name for itself as a hotspot for fantastic restaurants, farmers markets, and food festivals. Later this year, more than 20,000 people will descend on the town for the annual...

Dartmouth Food Festival, which has been voted one of the top ten food festivals in the UK by The Guardian. For this one weekend in October, peaceful medieval Dartmouth will transform into a bustling hub for foodies, among them some of the country’s most prominent chefs, food writers, and connoisseurs.

The Festival finds inspiration in the South West’s culinary history – which has strong links to fishing and farming – and focuses on the best of local recipes and produce.

Dartmouth Food Festival is one of the largest and most popular showcases for Devon’s impressive cuisine, but it’s not the only one. If you don’t want to wait until October, head to Dartmouth in August for the annual South Devon Crab Festival. Organised with the help of local chef Mitch Tonks – a strong advocate of South Devon food – this festival is a highly acclaimed local street party and a great opportunity to taste some of the best crab available in the UK.

Foodies should also consider visiting The Seahorse, run by Mitch Tonks and Matt Prowse. The restaurant has rapidly gained a reputation for top quality sea food, with specialities such as Dartmouth crab with white asparagus and olive oil and lemon and spaghetti with local seafood.

Recent research has shown that great food and renowned restaurants can make all the difference to the demand for local property, so much so that certain estate agents have begun listing nearby restaurants on property listings. Those who may be drawn to Dartmouth by the local cuisine will be pleased to hear that Environ’s SAILS apartments on the town’s quayside are to launch in August, so owners are in a prime position to take advantage of Dartmouth’s culinary scene.

Residents will be only a short walk from the wonderful Dartmouth Farmers’ Market, which takes place in the Old Market Square every second Saturday of the month. Here, local producers demonstrate the delicious and diverse selection of top quality food available in Devon throughout the year.

Whether you’re visiting Dartmouth for a holiday or as a prospective buyer, make sure you take the time to fully immerse yourself in the town’s culinary scene. The food and drink on offer here is really not to be missed.

Bath UK’s favourite city outside London

Freshford Mill | 20 May 2015 |

The UK’s Second Favourite City: Bath tops list of most desirable urban location for buyers outside London. 
Bath has been revealed as the most popular urban location outside of London. The city, just 6 miles from Environ’s new development in Freshford village, is popular with buyers due to its elegant architecture, sophistication and ease of access to the beautiful surrounding countryside.

According to the team behind the research at Stacks Property Search, buyers are looking for city locations that can offer all the benefits of London living such as culture, sophistication, great shopping and good schools, and at the same time retain individual character and a cosy feel.

Recent figures from Zoopla show how Bath is fast becoming the go-to option for those seeking to move from London. The new research shows that 30% of homes in Bath are now sold to Londoners, and that many locals have even began referring to the city as ‘West, West London’.

And it’s not hard to see why Bath would be popular with Londoners; it’s easily commutable, being just 90 minutes on the train from central London, within easy reach of the M4 and offers beautiful period properties and urban living with stunning rural landscapes on the doorstep.

On top of all this, Bath is a UNESCO world heritage site, rich with history dating back to Roman times. According to UNESCO: “Bath’s grandiose neoclassical Palladian crescents, terraces and squares, spread out over the surrounding hills and set in its green valley, are a demonstration par excellence of the integration of architecture, urban design and landscape setting,” was the verdict when Bath was designated a world heritage site in 1987.

For those attracted to the idea of a home near Bath, the news of Freshford Mills’s upcoming conversion will be welcome news. Freshford is located just 6 miles South East of Bath, in a beautiful rural location in the southernmost part of the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty. The fact that a country village such as Freshford is located just a 15 minutes’ drive from the centre of Bath, a bustling urban location, demonstrates how people living in the area can strike the perfect balance between urban and rural living.

Environ Communities are converting the historic Freshford Mill into a new residential scheme with extensive landscaping. The site will consist of 21 homes ranging from two to five bedrooms, whilst the existing historic Mill, will be renovated into luxury contemporary apartments with beautiful views overlooking the River Frome.

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