Get back to your primeval roots – with a home next to the water

11 Castle Mills, Waterside, Knaresborough - �249,950 with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01423 864126.
11 Castle Mills, Waterside, Knaresborough - �249,950 with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01423 864126.

If the recent warm weather has found you wishing you lived near the water, you’re certainly not alone.

The summer months traditionally see a spike in enquiries about seafront properties, while those of us who live inland tend to fantasise about living by a lake or river.

The Old Laundry Tower, 39 Waterside, �295,000 with Williamsons, 01423 326889.

The Old Laundry Tower, 39 Waterside, �295,000 with Williamsons, 01423 326889.

But it’s not just the thought of cooling swims and lazy boating trips that lures us. Humans are irresistibly drawn to water because millions of years of evolution have hardwired our brains to want to be close to it.

In fact, according to the Aquatic Ape Theory, some of our unique characteristics, such as bipedalism (walking on two legs) and relative hairlessness, evolved because our early ancestors habitually waded, dived and swam in order to find food. In recent years, this has been called the waterside model.

So if you find yourself longing for a place by the river, you may not just be dreaming about your next property – you might actually be going back to your primeval, African roots.

In Yorkshire, we’re lucky enough to have plenty of rivers – even if they’re all currently running rather low due to the drought – and there are lots of homes that overlook them.

2 The Old Mill, Scott Lane, Wetherby - �595,000 with Fine & Country, 01937 583535.

2 The Old Mill, Scott Lane, Wetherby - �595,000 with Fine & Country, 01937 583535.

One way to enable even more people to live by the water is to build flats, and that’s exactly what developers have done in recent years, some building new blocks and others repurposing old industrial properties, such as mills and warehouses.

Our region abounds in all kinds of waterfront property – except the seaside variety – and the following three apartments are fine examples.

On Waterside in Knaresborough, 11 Castle Mills is a top-floor flat overlooking the River Nidd.

Castle Mills is a Grade II listed building built in 1764, and from 1770 to 1972 it was a flax mill producing fine-quality linen. It was even granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria as supplier to the royal palaces.

The apartment is accessed via secure entry-phone system and has a private entrance hall with airing cupboard and access to the roof void via a folding loft ladder. It has two bedrooms, one of them with an en suite shower room, plus toilet, kitchen and sitting room with fantastic views over the weir. Outside, there are communal gardens running down to the river, as well as a garage with adjoining store.

In Wetherby, 2 The Old Mill is a spacious ground-floor flat with fabulous views across the River Wharfe. It has three bedrooms, one with an en suite bathroom, bathroom, utility room, kitchen, dining area and generous-sized living room which opens onto a paved seating area overlooking the river. It also has a single garage and an allocated parking space.

Finally, on Waterside in Boroughbridge there’s a flat for sale which occupies the upper three floors of the historic Old Laundry Tower and has a clear view of the River Ure.

It has three double bedrooms – the master suite, with en suite bathroom and dressing room, on the top floor and the other two in the middle – plus two more bathrooms, kitchen and open-plan sitting and dining room.

Outside, there’s a terrace with views towards the marina, plus a single garage, communal gardens and off-street parking for two cars.