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Country comfort in manor retreat near Richmond

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Sprawling six-bedroom country residence The Manor, originally built as a guest house, in the historic Byrne Valley will be auctioned on September 25 at 11am at the Durban Country Club by Ian Wyles Auctioneers.

The double-storey house with a beautiful garden in Byrne Village, near Richmond, would be ideal as a guest house, backpackers’ lodge or weekend retreat from city life as the surrounding area is popular with nature lovers, hikers, mountain bikers and white-water rafters, says Andrew Giddy, property manager for Ian Wyles.

“Byrne Village is 25 minutes’ drive from Richmond via the Beaulieu Dam, a popular and scenic spot. There is a nature reserve and prolific flora and fauna,” Giddy says.

The vacant manor, at 6 Pall Mall Drive, is on a plot of about 2000m². Some of its main features are:

* Six bedrooms: two downstairs, four upstairs and all en suite.

* Large farm-style kitchen.

* Two lounges and dining room.

* Functioning borehole.

* Swimming pool.

* Outbuildings, such as laundry and store rooms.

For more details, call Giddy at 0826019278 or 0315794403 or see www.ianwyles.co.za.

High hopes created historic valley

Byrne Valley – where a large manor house will be auctioned by Ian Wyles later this month – was named after the Byrne Settlers, emigrants from the UK lured to the area by a new emigration firm, JC Byrne & Company, formed by a flamboyant Irishman Joseph Byrne.

The new arrivals seeking a new life sailed to Durban from 1849 to 1851, and settled on allotments purchased for them by Byrne in Byrne Valley. The offer of free passage to come and settle in the valley was restricted to practical professionals, such as farmers, blacksmiths, wheelwrights and wagon-makers.

Byrne, according to historian and authority on English settlement in South Africa Shelagh Spencer, had to borrow money from ship-owners looking for business to buy the land where his hopeful immigrants settled.

The ambitious emigration scheme and its driving company soon floundered, however, as the land allocated to the immigrants proved unworkable and they moved to larger towns for work. It is also believed Byrne had not even visited what was then Natal before establishing his grandiose scheme.

Today, the area around Byrne Valley is well established and a haven for nature lovers and those seeking a quiet country lifestyle. It consists mainly of farmlands with Richmond as a hub.

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