2 Bed/2 En-suit Cottage. Large garden, no road noise, terraces and gas barbecue.
Olivia & Andy Spracklen
About Olivia & Andy Spracklen
We moved to France in March 2014 having rented out our bungalow in Bournemouth. Andy finally quit his job with a bank after 33 years! Andy was looking forward to his first ride on a sit-on mower, and I couldn't wait to get cooking with my new range cooker. It was GREAT to have so much space. My welsh-dresser that I bought in 1977 had never looked so small. It had always been squeezed into small rooms in previous homes. Andy soon spread out all of his tools in a lovely ‘organised-mess’ in the huge workshop with his beloved lawn-mower. Our thought of ‘the good life’ were tempered by common-sense. I talked Andy out of having a donkey, and we shelved the idea of keeping chickens because we travel back to the UK to see the grandchildren several times a year. I did start a vegetable patch, with little previous experience. I watched the gardening programmes on the internet and TV to find out how to sow seeds, and prune the fruit trees in the orchard. We discovered the walnuts and hazelnuts when they started falling out of the trees! I managed to pick enough blackberries to make a few gallons of wine the first year. We invited our English neighbours (there are three English couples in our small hamlet) to try the wine. I had bought a hydrometer, but I had no idea how to use it. We concluded there was very little alcohol in it because it registered the same level as pure water. However, we were wrong – it packed quite a punch! It was glorious to be able to store away some of our own apples for the winter. The pears were too small to be useful, so we hope by pruning we will be able to grow some good-sized ones for our gîte guests to pick next autumn. We enjoy exploring the local markets and supermarkets. The wine here can be really inexpensive, especially when it is on offer, often as little as 2 euros a litre. You can get it even cheaper, but we have not been brave enough to try it!
Olivia & Andy Spracklen purchased this Cottage in 2013
Why Olivia & Andy Spracklen chose Benest
A newly renovated 18th century 2-bed/2 en-suite cottage, in a quiet countryside location. It is located right next door to our own house. We are a 15-minute walk to a small village or the river Charente. Hazelnut cottage is part of our longère (a French farmhouse). The cottage shares our huge garden with an orchard. Set apart from the rest of a small hamlet, it is ideal for those who like to sit and relax in peace and quiet, or those who like to walk through country lanes. Completely re-built in 2016 (with wall and roof insulation) by expert craftsman, Hazelnut cottage provides a home from home all the year round. The thorough wall insulation means that you will be able to keep comfortably warm all through the months, especially important if you are house-hunting in the winter. The cottage shares the solitude of the large garden with mature fruit and nut trees and far reaching countryside views. The character cottage features original features, a Charentais fireplace, a Charentais window, and an original sink used by the farmhands probably dating from 1851. The Godin wood-burner is a fully-restored antique, probably dating from the 1920’s. We provide complementary wood for you, and help you to light it if you are a novice! Electric heating (complementary too) is also provided so that you can keep warm 24/7.
What makes this Cottage unique
The hamlet of Chez Vaslet is 500 metres from the small village of Benest, with a Post Office and a XII century church. In Alloue, the next village, 6km away, there is a cafe/bar where you can have a set lunch, and also fresh bread is available here,( and cigarettes). There are many country lanes to explore (I will provide you with a local map). You can walk to the river Charente in about 15 minutes. There are many good restaurants – some near and some farther away. You will be delighted with the quality of the food offered for lunch and evening meals. Many restaurants serve a freshly cooked healthy 3-course lunch starting strictly at 12pm-1pm for £12.50-£15. Most French working people rely on these restaurants and the food is really good. We can provide you with a list (and a map!) There are many interesting places to visit. Angouleme is a historic town an hour away in the car, and Poitiers is about one and a half hours away. There are many chateaux near and far. Champagne Mouton is our nearest small town, about 30 minutes away, with a 24-hour cash-point, petrol garages and a really nice Carrefour mini-supermarket. There is a superb car-repair garage here too. Confolens, just 20 minutes by car, is a beautiful small town on the river Vienne. It is great to explore. This town offers a twice weekly market, a large supermarket. In August there is a week-long International Dance Festival here with many concerts and parades through the town. There is an outdoor swimming pool here. Ruffec is another small town offering some out-of town shops as well as a number of large supermarkets. On the A10, it is the gateway to adventures further afield, like the Valley of the Monkeys, Puy Du Fou, and Futurescope. There are many chateaux in this area. Visit Verteuil to visit the chateaux, the working mill loving restored by its owners, the lovely art and gift shop on the bridge, the river walk, and the 'Portbleu' restaurant. See many other beautiful and interesting villages.
Check-in: 3:00 PM
Check-out: 10:30 AM
You are welcome to smoke outside.
We love dogs!
If you smoke, please smoke outside. Ask for a special blanket if your dog wishes to sit on the settee. We have a brilliant wi-fi, but please don't do torrent downloads. We will not bother you, so please invite us to join you if you would like our company.
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
This is the second visit to this property and once again we were very impressed.
The Gite is in a beautiful rural setting but close to major supermarkets and attractions. We have two dogs and there is a huge back garden with lots of shade for them to frolic in(the owners are extremely dog friendly)
There is every item of equipment you could want, provided by the owners and should you want some obscure item I'm sure they would find it for you.
Andy and Olivia have made both of our stays really pleasant and as guests we love their relaxed and unobtrusive manner.
Cosy,tasteful and well equipped gite
Wonderful welcome from very hospitable hosts to a pretty and sympathetically renovated cottage with lots of character. Lovely, peaceful location. Everything that we were looking for.
Fantastic stay in this peaceful location
This holiday home had everything we could have wished for. Ideal quiet location with a 15 min walk to the village of Benest. Huge garden for our dogs to explore and a lovely pool to cool down in after sightseeing trips. The bedrooms were spacious enough for our family of 4 and the beds were extremely comfortable. The halogen oven was a big hit with us and we used it almost every day. The cottage is well equipped and Olivia had placed little cards around to explain how everything worked. Such a fab idea. Olivia and Andy are fabulous hosts and provided lots of good info about the surrounding location. The attention to detail was second to none. The kitchen was full of store cupboard items to save us having to buy these. A car is essential for this rural location and we enjoyed visiting the surrounding villages and towns. We also enjoyed our evening walks around the village where we could access and make use of the village tennis court. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here and are already planning our next trip.
We loved having Lynsey and her family in the gîte. They made the most of the location - visiting many places all around and then coming back to the gîte for relaxation.
Please note that we don't usually offer a pool here - I offered to put up our 12' round plunge pool early for Lynsey's girls as we would be putting it up for our grandchildren who would be staying here in August.
A piece of paradise in lovely countryside
The two bedroom gite was extremely well equipped. Ensuite showers were top of the range. The King size bed was very comfortable with lots of extra bed linen and towels. Olivia and Andy were extremely helpful in every department. On arrival Olivia had provided groceries and wine in our cupboard. Over the month we also went out a couple times with them to a quiz night and a lovely meal in one of the best restaurants in a beautiful village. They loved our dog as well. The local village of Benest provided fresh bread and groceries , a five minute walk from the Hamlet. Also it was great just to be able to walk to the local pub which provided snacks and a good Sunday Lunch if required. Spent a number of evenings enjoying a glass of wine and occasional barbecues in the extensive gardens. 5 stars isnt enough to describe this top accommodation in a wonderful quiet location.
Thank you for this lovely review. We are so pleased that our aim to provide the very best accommodation is working. We were so pleased that our guests found so much to do in this area, and provided us with valuable information about golf courses in the area, historic buildings and restaurants they had visited. We very much hope to see them again in the future.
Peaceful Location yet close to many attractions
Ideally placed gite set in tranquil countryside yet with numerous places to explore nearby. Charming picturesque villages within minutes and larger towns such as Limoges, Agouleme , Cognac all around an hours drive .
The gite itself has been newly renovated to the highest standard and is extremely well equipped . The large gardens are an ideal place to relax in the abundant sunshine of the Charente and of course to enjoy al fresco dining .
The hosts Olivia and Andy are warm and welcoming , full of local insights and ideas for things to do . Nothing is too much trouble and they go out of their way to ensure you have a fabulous stay !
Highly recommend and would love to visit again in the future .
There are many attractions in this area.
Just ten minutes away by car, you can spend an afternoon at a medium-sized zoo in a small place called Hiesse, with a small café and a number of climbing frames. They have many animals, from camels to donkeys.
There are many small restaurants in the area, our favourite is 'Port Bleu' in Verteuil, where you can see a beautiful chateau (occupied by a count, it occasionally opens the gardens to the public).
Cognac, named after the town of Cognac in France, is a variety of brandy. It is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name, 1 hour and 20 minutes’ drive from Benest.
There are many beautiful places to visit. Confolens on the river Vienne is beautiful, a great place to visit the market, shops and restaurants. In August they have a week-long International Dance Festival - you will be able to see parades in the streets and watch some of the numerous demonstrations and concerts.
Just an hour's drive to 'The Valley of the Monkeys' - you will have a great view of gorillas, chimpanzees and many other monkeys. There is a petting zoo here too, and a good restaurant for snacks & lunch. You can spend a whole day here.
Futurescope is a great theme park 1.5 hours drive from here - great for children age 7+.
There are many chateaux and abbeys around this area. La Rochfaucauld is a 40-minutes’ drive south, it is open to the public.
There are many historic places on the 'Lion-Heart' trail. Richard I's entrails were buried in Chalus, which is close to Limoges, just over an hour's drive south from Benest. His body was entombed further north, in Fontevraud Abbey, about 2 hours due north of Benest.
Visit Angouleme, 40 minutes away. It is the region capital, with a cathedral and many historic buildings set on a steep hill, overlooking the Charente river.