April 1, 2011 10:43 pm

Hot property: forest dwellings

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The British public demonstrated its love of woodlands this year when collective action forced the government to abandon plans to privatise national forests. This appreciation is not exclusive to the UK. Woodlands provide an attractive environment. And beyond conservation and recreation, trees are a valuable crop.

Woodland can also offer tax advantages. In the UK these include no inheritance tax on commercial woodland (after two years’ ownership), and no capital gains, income or corporation tax on timber sales.

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Eclipse

Eclipse, England, £15m

Where: Beaulieu River, edge of the New Forest, Hampshire.

What: A modern five-bedroom mansion with an indoor swimming pool, river frontage, jetty and 27 acres (11 hectares) of woodland and pasture.

Why: This large modern house is on the southern edge of the sprawling, ancient New Forest yet under two hours’ drive from London (on a good run). With its stabling and paddocks it would suit keen woodland riders with regular commitments in the city. A gym, cinema, tennis court and three-bedroom entrance lodge add to the appeal.

Who: Knight Frank, www.knightfrank.com, tel: +44 (0)20 7629 8171

. . .

Cliff Villa 63

Cliff Villa 63, Thailand, $12m

Where: Soneva Kiri Resort, Koh Kood.

What: A six-bedroom house surrounded by jungle.

Why: Using your super-smart outdoor bathroom will make you feel like a tycoon Tarzan (or Jane). Koh Kood is the easternmost of the Thai islands. Its relative remoteness gives you the stunning beaches, lush forest and great diving without too many backpackers. The Six Senses resort’s facilities – including tennis court, spa, airstrip and water sports – are all accessible, and the house itself has a wine and cheese room, gym, snooker room and a treehouse with a slide into the swimming pool.

Who: Six Senses Private Residences, www.sixsensesprivateresidences.com, tel: +66 (0)3961 9800

. . .

Stonegate

Stonegate, US, $19.95m

Where: Incline Village, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, 45 minutes’ drive from Reno airport.

What: A five-bedroom house within a gated lakeside estate and with a private beach.

Why: This is a great base from which to explore the forests of the California/Nevada border. There is hiking and mountain biking on offer in the summer, and skiing in winter. The house’s interior is opulent – with a gym, wine cellar and spa bath – and was created by President Barack Obama’s interior designer, Michael S Smith. Nevada has one of the laxest tax regimes in the US.

Who: Chase International, www.stonegatelaketahoe.com, tel: +1 775 831 7304 (US) and +44 (0)20 7467 5330 (UK)

. . .

Le Grand Mas

Le Grand Mas, France, €19m

Where: Roquefort-Les-Pins, Côte D’Azur, south of France.

What: A six-bedroom house with two cottages.

Why: Built from the ruins of an ancient hamlet, this secluded house is surrounded by mature gardens and olive trees and, beyond that, a fragrant pine forest full of birds and wild boar. The interior has been meticulously decorated and has been featured in several international home magazines, and there’s a cave in the basement for a wine cellar. Three nearby villages provide restaurants and shops, and the house has a swimming pool, badminton/volleyball court and tennis courts.

Who: Savills, www.savills.co.uk/abroad, tel: +44 (0)20 7016 3740

. . .

Blairquhan Estate

Blairquhan Estate, Scotland, £4.85m

Where: Ayrshire, 50 miles (80km) south of Glasgow, 18 miles (29km) from Prestwick airport.

What: A 16-bedroom A-listed castle dating from 1346 in landscaped grounds, with 670 acres (271 hectares), including 300 acres of woodland.

Why: A 19th-century owner moved the public roads farther from the castle and planted 950,000 trees, many of which are still standing. Also standing is the “Dool Tree”, one of Scotland’s “100 heritage trees”, from which previous lairds were entitled to hang miscreants. The purchase includes 12 cottages, a walled garden, and all the typical hunting, shooting and fishing activities of a Scottish estate.

Who: Savills Edinburgh, www.savills.com, tel: +44 (0)131 247 3720

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