Puddlechurch – click any image for full size
Marty Triellis e-mailed me in late February with an invitation for us to visit Puddlechurch, the latest region design he and Cherish Demonge have developed. The invitation came almost exactly a year after we had visited one of their previous designs (see A NonStop visit in Second Life) and Shug Maitland also pinged me about the region via IM, we set off to have a look.
Described as a residential / photography region, Puddlechurch is beautifully conceived and executed. Some 14 rental properties of varying sizes are scattered through the landscape, but you’d hardly know this from a casual visit; such is the design and spread of the rentals – up on hill, down in dale, on the coast, over the water – that without a count at the rental office, you’re be pushed to tell the number was this high.
The landing point sits close to the rental office, in a little village-like setting towards the north-east of the region. Largely deserted, the village is little more than bricked and boarded-up buildings, tumbled walls and a slightly forlorn little square, the rental office seemingly the last place of business still operating.
Three routes lead away from the square: east to a waterfront area (which I understand from Marty is still under construction). A similar path points west to the coast on that side of the region, while up a set of steps, a worn track points the way south, a tree-lined lane that passes the local chapel and graveyard.
Which of these you take is up to you, but I confess, I found the westward path and the way it opens out to present the bay and buildings that reside there to be utterly captivating and beautifully natural. It is here that several of the rental properties are to be found, sitting close to the shingle beach or raised up on platforms build over the water and facing the mainland from the low-lying shingle bar that lies across most of the entrance to the bay, giving the impression this might once have been low-lying land that the sea has opted to lay claim to over time.
The houses out on the shingle bar are reached via wooden board walks. With a view out over the westward sea and the high peaks d the surrounding islands on one side, coupled with the view back inland on the other, these make for desirable properties for those looking for a home, their careworn looks adding a further layer of shabby chic to their attractiveness. Each sits within its own parcel, allowing parcel privacy to be used (each parcel additionally includes a security system) – a smart move given the close proximity of the public path running along the shingles betwixt houses and water.
This approach has also been taken with the offshore units sitting on their wooden decks. Reached via their own board walks, these might be small, single room structures, but they also offer a little space for mooring boats (LI allowing!).
It is the breadth of housing style, as well as the landscaping that also makes Puddlechurch so appealing. If the small wooden cabins and houses on the west coast don’t appeal, follow the paths inland from beach or landing point (they all interconnect perfectly), and you’ll find a good mix of housing styles: a converted warehouse here, a town house there, a stone cottage in a corner; for those looking for an expansive property, there is even something of a manor house, and several of the properties have decks and / or planted gardens.
Of course, what might be available for rent is liable to vary over time, so be sure to check the boards at the rental office, which will also furnish you with the rent and LI allowance for each property. These will also provide the estate’s rental guidelines, and I strongly recommend these are given a careful read through prior to renting. When exploring, available properties are signified by a real estate (or if you are in America, a realtor) board outside, while memories of prices can be refreshed with the visit to the estate’s web page.
Cherish and Marty describe the setting as inspired by “British” countryside. By this I assume they mean a variety of influences from across the British Isles have informed the finished design. Certainly, there is no singular point of influence that appears to have gone into the design; rather, what is presented is singular and unique, carrying with it odd (and pleasing) little aspects of familiarity to anyone who has visited some of the more remote spots around the Irish and Scottish coastlines, or has visited some of England’s woodlands.
Whether or not you are looking for a place to live, Puddlechurch offers a pleasing visit and includes multiple opportunities for photography. Our thanks to Marty for the invitation and to Shug for the tip.
- Puddlechurch (Puddlechurch, rated: Moderate)