Best of both worlds
WHEN the tide is high you can drop a canoe into the stream just over the road from Riverdale and paddle all the way down to the sea at Three Cliffs Bay. If you prefer to walk it's a 20- minute stroll down to one of the best beaches in Britain.
Quite a selling point for anyone who likes the outdoor life, and that's what attracted John and Rachel Palmer when they first bought the house 12 years ago.
"We had a house in France at the time, which we loved, but there wasn't much to do around there for our young children," said John.
"We decided to sell it and look for something at home that reminded us of the house in France, which was nestled in woods."
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Riverdale fitted the bill exactly and so they came to live in Parkmill.
"We like the cwtchy, cottagey feel in a house and for anyone who likes a bucolic existence, this is a lovely corner of our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty," added John.
The house stands in the widest part of the valley at Parkmill and is elevated above the Gower road, looking out over fields and woods.
It was built for Don Shepherd, the famous Glamorgan cricketer and proprietor of the landmark Shepherd's store in the village that still bears his family's name.
It's believed the house was constructed in the 1940s but was doubled in size in the 1970s to make it into the five-bedroomed home it is today.
There is a lovely spacious, homely feel to the house as soon as you step inside. The hallway, sitting room and dining room all have the original solid wood parquet flooring, which has its own deep warmth and shine.
"When we moved in I probably spent weeks on my hands and knees lovingly restoring each piece," said John.
The cosy sitting room with its open fire and row of windows overlooking the valley is complemented by a large lounge at the back of the house with plenty of room for entertaining. There is a separate dining room with a pretty cast iron and green tiled fireplace plus a hatchway through to the modern, integrated kitchen.
Upstairs, off a wide landing, there are five bedrooms, one of which is currently being used as a study, plus a big family bathroom and a separate shower room.
As well as working hard on the house, John and Rachel have also put in a lot of work on the garden, which shows in its neat lawns, sun terraces and carefully tended flower beds. The gardens go back into woods that are conserved as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
"It's a big garden so the sun is always on it somewhere. If I want to know where the cat is, I just look for where the sun is! We also get all types of birds in the garden too," said John.
Riverdale is also in the catchment area for Bishopston School.
"It's a great location because it's handy for our local shop and pub and we can also walk straight out of the door into an amazing number of different walks.
"It's been a wonderful place to live and bring up kids, but they are both grown up now and and are flying the coop so we think it's time to downsize."