Inside quirky off-grid houseboat with stunning river views - yours for £500k

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge - Credit: YOPA

Ever had the urge to go off-grid and live on the water? This may be your chance as an historic barge with a two-bed cottage and surrounding land, on the banks of the River Deben, has been put up for sale.

Affectionately named Constancie, the boat has stunning waterside views and the entire property, which includes a large garden and land, will set buyers back £500,000.

It has its own water supply and power system and is completely off-grid, the product of years of hard work by current owner Roland Mann.

The father-of-three moved to Woodbridge in 2006 and bought his first barge a year later. 

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge - Credit: YOPA

Constancie came to market to the delight of Mr Mann and his wife Martine - and the pair set to work on fitting out the boat, which they estimate is around 90 years old and was built between the wars.

Together, they transformed it into a thermally efficient, long-lasting home - which became the birthplace of the couple’s youngest two children, Jasper, six, and Nathaniel, five months.

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge - Credit: YOPA

“We’ve spent lots of time learning different skills, we’ve designed and built our own power system, our own water purification plant, so we’re totally off-grid for everything, except the telephone of course,” Mr Mann explained.

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge - Credit: YOPA

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The surrounding land used to be owned by the Deben Sailing Syndicate, and was carved up into sections in the 1970s.

“This plot was divided into three plots in the 1980s, one of which was this building down at the bottom. It was a sort of cabin which had been lived in since the 1970s,” Mr Mann added.

“That came up for sale last year, and we thought that makes total sense to add it back onto our plot and connect it all together.”

He credits his wife as the “genius behind the land”, adding: “She’s got a real flair for design, she's absolutely packed the garden out with an incredible diversity of plants.”

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge - Credit: YOPA

Her efforts have led to the property almost commanding its own atmosphere and relaxed feel, he said.

“One of the things people say when they come onto the land is ‘wow, this feels great’. It has a really amazing feel to it, it’s hard to describe. 

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge - Credit: YOPA

“It’s very peaceful, there are lots of trees here, our garden is packed with trees of all kinds. It has a real arboreal feel to it.”

Having dreamt of creating their own, self-sufficient smallholding for almost a decade, the pair and their three children are now hoping to move to Norway, where Martine’s family lives.

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge - Credit: YOPA

It is for this reason that they were reluctant to put their personal stamp on Constancie as they know it is someone else’s dream to move in and make it their own.

“We’ve done what we needed to here,” Mr Mann added. 

“One of the things we’ve continuously felt is that we were sort of caretakers, that this wasn’t truly our home. 

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge - Credit: YOPA

“We’ve been reluctant to apply too many finishing touches to things, for example the barge itself, all the structural work is done, and we’ve finished off a couple of the bedrooms completely.

“But we’ve been reluctant to impose too much of a personal stamp on it, we feel like this is someone else’s dream.”

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge

The Constancie project in New Quay Lane, Woodbridge - Credit: YOPA

The property is being advertised by Yopa, who can be reached on 01270 388011 or via this link.

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