Pitts Deep has the most incredible views stretching over the Solent and sits by a beach that is home to the most unique wildlife and coastline. The house has become more than just a home for Susanna and her husband Charles. It is a sanctuary and retreat away from the busyness of life.
Here Susanna shares with New Forest Escapes why Pitts Deep is so special to her family and why she loves being able to share it with our guests…
How long have you had Pitts Deep?
It became part of our family in 2014 – it’s extremely rare for a property so close to the water to become available, but the previous owner was an incredible woman who at 89 years-old announced that after 50 years in the cottage, she had had her time at Pitts Deep and it was time for others to enjoy it.
What made you fall in love with it?
My first thought was – what an extraordinary place – but then I got slightly terrified! I knew walking into Pitts Deep, just what it could be, but it was also going to be a huge responsibility – not just historically (it was here in 1750), but also practically. When you live so close to the water, you can literally see what happens to a house unless you look after it. There is no protection from the elements, it’s a bit like living on a boat!
But I wouldn’t change it for the world… just look at the view!
What have you done with the house since you moved in?
When we moved in we realised just how big a project it was going to be. There was everything to do… aside from the look of the house, all the electrics needed redoing and the heating had only been put in the year before. It really was a different way of life that had been led before we came, so everything had to be bought up-to-date.
What is your favourite thing to do at Pitts Deep?
I love to walk here. My early childhood was spent in London but my Grandparents had a wild cottage near the coast in Norfolk. It was here that I discovered my love of the sea and I find along this gnarled and weathered coast with it’s mud flats and river inlets, many similarities.
Walking is the first thing I do when I come home – it’s become a ritual. I love that I am always discovering something new in the mud flats and river inlets. The wildlife and the birds are always changing and bringing something new into the view. The shell beach here is charming. There is always treasure to find.
What is your best advice for guests coming to Pitts Deep?
Just come and be and let it all soak in – you can’t rush around doing things in this house. In the past, lots of younger families have worried that there won’t be enough to do – but then they arrive and start searching in shell pools and making tree dens or collecting treasures in old buckets, then you realise that Pitts Deep has enough space and time and stillness to allow all of your imaginations to run wild. You just need to be still and allow everyone to play.
What do your guests enjoy most about Pitts Deep?
We have a huge variety of people coming to Pitts Deep for so many different reasons. A lot of musicians, writers and people in self-reliant or pressured businesses. They want to step away from their busy lives. They find comfort in having so much space to themselves.
Do you find it difficult to share Pitts Deep?
I love being able to share it and hopefully one day we will be able to live here full time, but at the moment with our large family there isn’t enough room for everyone, so in the meantime it’s wonderful that other people can enjoy it.
What do you enjoy doing in the New Forest?
My husband and children love sailing – which is part of the reason we love to be here – but I also love riding (horse not bike!). You have to know your terrain in the New Forest, which is why riding a New Forest Pony is brilliant as they know where the bogs are. The wild ponies who live on the coast here know when the tides are coming in and plan their walk along our beach to perfection. They never get caught with the tide and know all the secret places. I love seeing them pottering along the beach in front of the house.
What has been the biggest surprise about the New Forest for you?
That it’s not just one big holiday camp! People presume that we are all here on holiday but there is just so much on offer and so much energy and creativity coming from people living here who want the contact with nature but don’t want the commute. It’s slowly starting to unwrap itself from the chocolate box its been hiding in for so long and telling the world what’s on offer.
What do you love most about the New Forest?
I love that you can get lost here. There is enough of it for you to own your own space and really step away from the day-to-day. It’s a wonderful privilege to have this on your doorstep and be able to connect with nature so freely.
My favourite day is…
Waking up at Pitts Deep and walking along the beach to Tanners Lane – if you time the tides you can walk all along the coastline – then up to the fabulous East End pub for a delicious lunch before walking home. It’s amazing at any time of year, whatever the weather.
My favourite time of year…
There is something magical at Pitts Deep that means every season brings its own joy. I love the sight and sound of the migrating birds during the autumn. Thousands of Brent Geese start to arrive at the end of October once the wheat has been harvested, and to see them all land en masse is amazing. Then spring arrives and there is such hope and expectation of things to come. Summer is… well… Summer! And even Winter is magical as this is a great house to snuggle in with its cosy corners and roaring fires.
My favourite spot in the house…
There are two. First is the view from the main bedroom… you can lie in bed and see through the window right over to the Isle of Wight across the Solent. And the second is from the picture window in the kitchen that it slightly sunken into the beach so it feels like the water is lapping up right in front of you.
My favourite escape is…
I love to go to Limewood which has the most incredible Spa – I would say it is one of the most beautiful in the UK – and the restaurant by Angela Hartnett is just delicious and better then many I’ve been to in London. The Pig at Brockenhurst also has incredible food and festivals during the summer.