Nicki Chapman returns to Herefordshire to catch up with her house-hunters, discovering how their plans of running holiday let business have come to fruition.
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Making the move from city to countryside
is often a momentous step.
Never in a million years I would imagine
I would be seeing a house like this. Never, ever.
But for many years, Escape To The Country
has been helping countless people on the hunt for a new home.
-What do we think of this?
-Oh, my! Chocolate box.
We've travelled to the most picturesque pockets of Britain...
-Take a look at that killer view.
..to showcase thousands of exquisite country properties...
Oh, how pretty is that?
..that our buyers just couldn't resist.
-..get your cheque book out now!
Join us as we catch up with those who bought their dream home...
You two are like the bird whisperers, aren't you?
..to find out how the move changed their lives
when they Escaped To The Country.
Today, I'm in Herefordshire and behind me are the Malvern Hills.
Now, this spectacular scenery was much-loved by the renowned
classical composer Edward Elgar,
who throughout his life lived in and around the Malverns.
But he wasn't the only one inspired by this beautiful countryside.
I'm back here to catch up with some of my past house hunters,
whose move to this area has completely transformed their life.
Herefordshire is a land-locked county in the West Midlands,
that nestles up against the border with Wales.
With a rich agricultural heritage,
the area is renowned for its local produce.
I'm here to visit former Escape To The Country buyers
Danny and Suzanne from Sutton Coldfield,
who made their rural move seven years ago.
As empty nesters, they were after a complete change of life.
If I offered you £1 million to give all this up,
would you be tempted?
No, you wouldn't move!
No, I wouldn't. No.
Back in September 2009,
lift engineer Danny and nursery school owner Suzanne
were looking for a change as their children had flown the nest.
They fancied trying their hands at running some holiday lets
to generate an income.
We thought about doing the holiday lets really because we've
got a lodge up in the Lake District
and we actually rent that out now, but that's through a company.
We'd like to do it on site so that we're there.
And more involved.
More involved with it and obviously have one or two more
as well as the lodge. So whether we do a barn up, maybe, or stables.
-And it gives us income, that's the main thing.
The lodge they already owned was transportable,
so they needed enough space to accommodate it,
plus room for at least one more holiday let.
In fact, the outside was key to their search,
particularly for green-fingered Suzanne.
Although we love this garden and we've put a lot of plants in,
we do feel we'd like a little bit more acreage now,
maybe one to two acres so that we can put the lodge on.
And I can have a ride-on mower
and we can enjoy life in a new garden, new setting.
So with land and business potential firmly in mind,
they were raring to go.
The wish list for their move included a house
with three to four bedrooms and a large country kitchen.
Danny needed a garage for his classic car,
as well as a much anticipated ride-on mower.
Holiday let potential was essential,
with between one to two acres for their existing lodge.
And their budget was an impressive £650,000.
The first house we showed our buyers was in the small rural village
of Mathon and simply oozed character and charm,
despite only being a couple of years old.
This is your property. Built in 2007.
It's a very attractive looking house, I think.
It doesn't look brand-new.
No, it's got character from the outside, definitely.
-Looking forward to the inside.
-Great! Well, let's get started.
Regardless of age, this property worked in sympathy
with its surroundings,
so I was hoping it was just what Suzanne and Danny were looking for.
Is this what you had in mind?
-You've got an island as well.
-A big range.
-And a range cooker.
It's going well.
-It's got some character.
-Yeah, it's lovely.
The kitchen was a hit.
Next up was the sitting room.
Oh, got my wood burner.
Right, you can keep warm with that then.
-Are you partial to those?
-Yes. That's ideal.
And an inglenook style fireplace to go with it.
-Lovely. Put the logs there.
-You've got a stained window.
-A nice bit of character there.
-It's a good touch, isn't it?
It also brings a bit of natural light to the hallway.
-It does, doesn't it?
-It's a good size actually, isn't it?
Still going strong,
next we made our way upstairs to explore the four bedrooms.
The house came with two small doubles
and a larger room that could work well for guests.
But I wanted to show off the master.
-Well, here it is.
-Oh, that's a good size.
-Bigger than ours!
-Definitely bigger than ours.
-Oh, yeah, definitely.
So far, so good.
And as we made our way outside, I revealed that there were also
almost 2.5 acres of land on offer,
leaving plenty of room for their existing lodge
as well as any additions.
And there was one more feature I was keen to unveil.
So I want to show you this stable block
-because there's some options here to consider.
-As you can see, you've got three stables.
You've got an office at the end and you've got a tack room.
-So quite a large building.
But you've probably noticed, this building doesn't have a garage.
So you could potentially convert this
-into a very large double garage.
-Oh, that would be good.
That would be good for your classic cars.
-So that could work out quite well.
However, with anything when you're changing a structure,
-you have to get planning permission.
Even for a garage.
But before they could consider any of that,
there was one pressing question to answer.
How much do you think the current asking price is?
I'd say 670,000.
This house, the current asking price,
Oh! A little bit left over to do the necessary work.
-It would have to be done.
And obviously the garage would have to be done,
-so that gives you a little bit...
-..in your budget.
It gives us some extra there to play with.
That's good, yeah.
£50,000 under budget,
this property would have left our buyers with plenty of money to put
towards their potential holiday let business.
But I still had more property options to show them.
Next, we headed to rural Eastnor to see a former pumping house
that dated to around 1895.
So here we have your house.
-Got some history there.
-It certainly has.
And it looks to me more Arts and Crafts than Victorian
because I think it's got a lot of beautiful character.
It looks beautiful, yes. The whole setting.
-I'm really quite excited.
It just looks absolutely magnificent.
-Ready to go?
What a great start.
I was just hoping they'd find the inside equally impressive.
-Straight into the reception room.
-Oh, isn't that lovely?
-Wood burner again.
-Oh, that's lovely.
It's got nice proportions as well.
It's got a cosy feel to it.
Our sitting room appeared to have gained full marks.
And there was also a separate dining room on this floor.
But I was eager to find out if Suzanne thought the country kitchen
measured up, so I was only too happy to take them there next.
-Oh, you've got this one. Yeah, definitely.
-You've ticked a couple of boxes.
-Oh, and the cooker.
-You've got your range there.
-Nice cooker, yeah.
The kitchen is only two years old.
-So you've got practically a brand-new kitchen,
with granite work surfaces.
And there's nothing to do, is there, it's all perfect.
-Gorgeous. You can just leave me here now.
Music to my ears!
Upstairs there were three bedrooms,
including a double and a single for when the children came to stay
and of course there was a good size master bedroom
for Danny and Suzanne.
But this property came with one other feature
that I couldn't wait to reveal -
in the form of a self-contained holiday let above the double garage.
Oh, gosh, that's great.
That is really self-contained, isn't it?
You've got a separate entrance,
completely away from the rest of the house and it's all done.
Because we're so close to Eastnor Castle,
they get a lot of weddings,
a lot of functions there.
So, the current owners actually let this to a lot of people
-who are going to the castle.
Outside boasted around two-and-a-half acres of land,
giving more than enough space to site their holiday lodge
and even a few more.
Ahead of us is an Airstream caravan.
-It's a static caravan, which is going...
..but it gives you an idea of where perhaps you could your log cabin
-and other log cabins or static caravans around here.
Fantastic. It's just lovely.
So, it's time now to think about how much this is on the market for.
-This has got to be well over the budget.
-This is difficult.
I think it's the land more than anything.
-It's perfectly formed, the house, but...
You go first.
-I think that's what we're looking at.
-I think probably 680, 690, something like that.
Danny, you're closer.
-But you're not that close.
-Current asking price is £499,950.
-Oh, my God!
-Can you just get your cheque book out?
-I know, yeah.
What's going through your mind?
-Talk to me.
-Try not to cry.
£150,000 below budget.
This house had completely blown them away.
But not wanting to peak too early, our search continued.
And our third option was situated in the village of Holme Lacy
in the beautiful Wye Valley,
where we found a farmer's cottage that dated back to the 1700s.
You've got this accommodation at the side which is attached to the house.
-You've got a beautiful courtyard,
which needs a little bit of a love and care,
but it's absolutely stunning.
There is so much potential out here, you can see just standing.
-It looks good.
-It looks lovely.
-The layout looks great. Yeah.
-So I bet you are intrigued now, aren't you?
-Well, let's start with the house.
-And we'll go from there.
A promising initial reaction gave me hope
that they liked what they saw so far.
As we stepped inside, we made a beeline for the sitting room.
Oh, this is nice. I like different levels.
A bit quirky.
-Oh, it's sweet, isn't it?
-So what room would this be?
Living room, definitely.
So, let's show you the kitchen next.
Oh, that's my bit.
Back up the stairs.
Suzanne had come across what might have been her dream kitchen
in the last property, so this room had a lot to live up to.
-More exposed stone, original beams.
-The kitchen, with the biggest range...
-Look at that!
..I think I've ever seen!
But you've also got another reception room through here.
Oh, a dining room. Breakfast room.
God, that's massive.
I mean, you could extend your kitchen right the way out.
You could. You could put all cupboards down that one side,
-so literally this is just a cooking bit then.
There was an additional reception room
and a utility room on this floor.
Then upstairs, we found four bedrooms.
There were three doubles that would have been perfect to accommodate
guests or the children when they came to stay.
The master was the next destination on our tour.
-I mean, it's absolutely beautiful.
-It's got the character.
It's just what we'd hoped...
You know, what you hope for in a cottage.
The house had gone down very well,
offering plenty of the character Danny and Suzanne were after.
But we still had to look at the business side of things.
The self-contained annexe had two bedrooms, a sitting room,
a bathroom and a kitchen, complete with breakfast bar.
-Is it already used as holiday lets?
Although it's set up for it, they used to run their
business from here, so this was used as additional accommodation
for people working for them. But everything's here.
Back outside, I revealed that the property
came with some stunning views across the countryside
and sat in an acre of land,
meaning sufficient space for their holiday lodge.
The garden may have been a little on the wild side,
but that didn't seem to faze gardener Suzanne.
The only thing left to discuss was the price.
So, money time.
How much do you think the farmhouse, the garden,
the orchard and the additional holiday let accommodation
-is on the market for?
-This is very difficult.
I think about five-and-a-half.
-I think a bit more.
-So I would say 600.
-Let's see who's right.
And it is... Bang on the nose, Suzanne.
-Ah, you see!
That sigh from Danny said it all,
as I'd shown them another house that could have been a really good fit
for their new lives and at a price they could afford.
I had shown Danny and Suzanne properties with great potential
to get their new life in the countryside kick-started.
But there was still the Mystery House to come,
and that was going to tip the balance
towards one of their other criteria.
For the last stop of our rural road trip,
we went over to border into Worcestershire
to the village of Hanley Swan.
In a twist on the business potential objective,
I served up a B&B that I thought could be right up their street.
So here is the Mystery House.
-All of it?
-All of it.
-It looks impressive.
-It's very impressive.
-It also has eight bedrooms.
The reason this house has been picked for you
is to look at something different
-and that is a B&B as earning potential.
-Are you ready to start the tour?
As we made our way inside, it seemed that I was getting vibes
of cautious optimism from our couple.
So come on in. How's this for a hallway?
That side is for the B&B,
and the whole of this side is the private residence.
Oh, that's nice, then.
So for anyone staying here,
-this is the only part of the private house they go into.
Then they go through that door,
not to be seen again until they check out.
-Oh, that sounds right.
-That's good. And pay.
And pay, obviously.
-Let's do the private part of the house first.
Passing through the large sitting room,
it was the kitchen I was keen to highlight.
So imagine between 7-9am, pans going, food all out.
-Could we not do late breakfasts?
-You could do, yeah. Weekends.
I think it would be very late breakfasts.
-I'm not too good in the morning. I'm really not.
Upstairs, there were five generous bedrooms
within the private side of the house.
Again, ample room for when the family came to stay.
The fifth bedroom was up on the top floor.
It came complete with a sitting room and a study all of its own.
-Oh, that's good.
-Look at all this.
-Oh, God. And round there as well.
-So you would never think this was here, would you?
-This is really nice and tucked away.
But Danny and Suzanne were itching to check out the B&B side of things,
which consisted of a large guest dining room,
as well as a communal sitting room
where people could unwind in the evenings.
To give my buyers a glimpse of the life their guests would enjoy
when they came to stay, I took them to one of the three B&B bedrooms.
Gives you an idea of the standard of the rooms,
which I think is very high.
You don't normally get this size, do you?
No, I've stayed in hotels that aren't as nice as this.
-Not as nice...
-A very generous bathroom next door.
And is this a five-star accommodation?
This is five-star.
You're keeping this going, aren't you?
-Is it working overtime?
-But, I mean, it is all done.
There were two more guest bedrooms that were finished
to an equally high standard and I was able to assure them
the business was looking very healthy for the next few months.
Outside, Suzanne, in particular,
was a little disappointed by the lack of a proper garden.
I knew she was looking forward to having space to work
her green-fingered magic, and the front lawn
wasn't quite what she was looking for.
But I had one more piece of information to impart
before our talk turned to money.
So before I ask you how much you think this property is worth,
would you like to know how much revenue this business takes?
-That would help, yes.
-So she only had B&B about 50-60% of the year.
-Right, that that's what we would do.
But her turnover is between £30,000-£40,000 a year.
-That's pretty good, isn't it? That's good.
So, how much do you think this house is currently on the market for?
-I think about 650, actually, with that income and stuff.
I think it's about 650, actually.
OK. Current asking price is £625,000.
-In between the two then.
-I thought so. I thought that, yeah.
Under budget at £625,000,
our Mystery House may not have been exactly
what they had in mind initially, but it had got them thinking
about the possible merits of B&B.
I'd shown them four houses,
each with exciting possibilities they could turn into realities.
They'd seen character and charm at every turn
and could easily make their holiday let dreams come true,
or perhaps try their hands at running a B&B.
But which house would win the day?
It's time to find out.
Judging by Danny and Suzanne's initial reaction
and that tantalising price tag,
it should come as no surprise that they actually bought...
..the pump house.
Yes, and I'm back and very excited to see what changes they've made.
-Hello, Nicki. How lovely to see you.
-Lovely to be back.
I can't wait to see your home.
-Well, come and have a look what we've done.
Right, come and have a look at the lounge then, Nicki.
-Now, we haven't been...
We're waiting for our new suite.
So, shall I pretend to sit down here?
-That's right, yeah.
-A finished space.
We haven't done much in here. It was beautiful.
It's, you know, so cosy with the fire on
and we love it in here in the winter.
-It is a great space, isn't it?
-Well, now it is, yes!
Although this room seems unchanged,
there are other areas of the house they've put their own stamp on.
-You won't have seen this.
That's a good "oh", wasn't it?
-And we've got a three-piece suite.
-We've got some furniture this time.
-I can sit down.
-can sit down. I can sit down.
-This is beautiful.
And you've maximised that incredible garden, haven't you?
This was the first thing that we actually did when got here.
We knew we wanted one. We had one at the old house
and it's just brought the garden in. It's beautiful.
Oh, I would live out here.
-I would live out here with those views!
-The only problem is because we've got glass right
down to the bottom, we've got all the ducks that peck the glass,
so we're forever cleaning the glass.
-Apart from that.
That is a lovely problem is to have, isn't it?
A lovely problem to have.
One thing I do remember from my last visit is how much Suzanne
fell in love with the kitchen.
This was my dream kitchen.
-We haven't really changed anything in here.
If you like what you've got, then there's no need to bash it about.
It's a lovely workable kitchen.
Lots of worktops, lots of cupboards, which I love.
We did put a stable door in,
but unfortunately we can't open that much
because we get the birds and the ducks coming in.
-We had the robin in yesterday.
-All sorts of wildlife.
Country problems, eh?! Do they really - they just come in?
-We had a little baby robin hit the window the other day
and if that had been open it would have been in the kitchen.
He's got a little pet robin, which I'm sure you'll meet
-a bit later on.
-I'm loving this tour.
The wildlife, the property. This is great.
Of course, my double oven is great for all my cakes.
-You're a baker?
Well, the guests do get spoilt a little bit.
-With the duck eggs.
-Yes. I might just have a cake for you.
No time for cake just get as they can't wait to show me
what's changed upstairs.
Oh, it's all coming back to me now, the upstairs.
Not the hugest of bedrooms, but we've managed to move things around
a little, but it was he en-suite - we desperately wanted an en-suite.
-And big enough for the two of you?
I don't believe you should have a really massive bedroom,
it's downstairs that really matters, really. Yeah.
And that's where you've got the space, isn't it?
-I remember this being a big move for the two of you,
especially as you were considering introducing a new business
-into it as well.
-Yeah, it was.
It was a risk, really, we took, but it's paid off.
Well, that sounds like the perfect cue to head back outside
for a proper chat and maybe a slice of that cake.
It really is a very attractive property, your pump house, isn't it?
-It is pretty.
-The work that went into a pump house in those days,
it's extraordinary. Now it would be just like a concrete block.
Well, that's the Victorians.
They always designed something that always wasn't what it is.
Gorgeous. As you come up our drive way,
do you look at your home still and pinch yourself?
-Has the novelty worn off?
We still look out of the windows now and think
it's like being on holiday.
-Every window has got a different view.
-We just feel lucky every day.
-But the right decision?
And what difference has it made, do you think,
to the way you live your lives,
the way you view the two of you together?
Very different at the moment.
Well, unfortunately Danny had a stroke two years ago,
so he had to give up his work. He was...
You were about to give up, anyway, weren't you, to go part-time.
Well, I had the stroke a month after
I was going to actually find part-time work.
It took my right side, not as bad as some other people,
where they get paralysed.
And I call it my lucky stroke, actually,
because it was lucky that it had less effect on me.
Do you think being here has helped your recovery?
Yeah, because you've got...
Well, I've got more time to get well, basically.
And you always want to get well and better when you're at home.
Well, you look so well now, sir, I have to say.
-So, all that hard work...
-..has paid off, hasn't it?
Yeah, yeah, really good.
And that made you make the decision, "I'm definitely retiring now"?
Yes, it was made for me, in a way.
-Can I just say that this isn't retirement, this is hard work.
Oh, well, I was going to ask you because you haven't stopped.
Because running the business, the B&B and the holiday let,
that is your income now coming in, isn't it?
-We are reliant on that.
-And that's important, isn't it?
-That is important for the two of you.
We've got to get that right.
A lot of people who come here to stay,
we actually find we love that interaction with people
and we get some really nice people.
And some people have come here, come back again
and have started to become friends.
-They just say it's home from home, which is lovely.
So do you ever have time to sit out here
and just ponder and take it all in?
Actually, sometimes when I'm on the ride-on mower and...
-Oh, your ride on mower!
-He got one.
-I got one, yeah.
-How could I forget?
-It's relaxing. It's really relaxing.
But when I'm sitting on the mower sometimes at the top
and I switch the mower off and I just love it.
-I remember your infatuation with a sit-on mower.
-I know. It was a bit silly, really.
-No, it wasn't.
That's what dreams are all about, sitting here, taking it all in.
And do your guests get this gorgeous cake as well?
-They do - with the duck eggs.
-Yeah, do they? They all have cake.
-Would you like a piece, Nicki?
-I would love a piece. Thank you.
I'll be experiencing more of Danny and Suzanne's country escape later,
because I still need to meet these famous feathered friends of theirs.
Buying your first home together is often the perfect excuse for
a new start. Throw in some beautiful surroundings
and you've got a recipe for happiness if ever there was one.
It was back in October 2011 when we met newly-weds Neil and Justine
from Peterborough who were looking to do just that.
They had settled on Norfolk after a recent holiday to the area,
and were after a character property
with a typical English country garden
and enough room for their two dogs.
With a budget of £425,000,
it was the very first house in the rural Hamlet of Pentney
that exceeded all expectations.
-It's very pretty, isn't it?
-It is, yes. Quite big as well.
-It is quite big, actually.
-Bigger than I was expecting.
-It's actually an old farmhouse.
It dates back about 200 years.
So, as a setting, does this appeal?
I like the garden. I think it's wonderful, isn't it?
There's plenty of room and there's a gate there to keep the dogs in,
-but they'd love it around here, wouldn't they?
-Yeah, they would.
Good. All right, how keen are you to get started?
-Oh, yes, please!
Great first reactions and I was hoping we could build on those
as we made our way inside via a large utility room.
It's certainly a spacious house.
Gosh, this is lovely, isn't it?
Yeah. Look at the beautiful wood everywhere.
I like the stone work as well, which goes well with the wood.
-I think this property has loads of character.
-It certainly does.
-We're quite excited at the moment.
And that character feel continued in the kitchen.
-I like "gosh!"
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
-Look at the views.
-Wonderful, aren't they?
-Now, I have to tell you this,
the owner has spotted 120 different varieties of bird
-from the kitchen window.
-Oh, my goodness!
So much so he tends to hover in here.
And look out the window all the time.
Also on this floor there was a rather splendid formal dining room
and a separate office space.
Upstairs, there were four bright bedrooms,
each large enough to fit a double bed,
and next I wanted to show them my favourite - the master.
-It's beautiful and light, isn't it?
-I don't think I've shown you a small room.
-It is huge.
-It is huge, isn't it?
-It's a lovely size, isn't it?
You'd get all your wardrobes and things in here.
The house was certainly working its magic on Neil and Justine.
And it was time for us to head outside,
where we found around two-thirds of an acre of land.
This included a garage,
as well as an additional outbuilding at the bottom of the garden.
All that was left was to talk finances.
Who wants to guess the price first?
-Do you want to go first?
Our budget is £425,000.
So I'm really hoping that it is 425 and not above that.
Although, I mean, it's a brilliant house so it might well be.
-What do you think?
-I would have to go higher than that.
And I think I would go £450,000.
The current asking price...
-Neil, you're on the money. ..£450,000.
I've spoken to the owner, they would be happy to negotiate.
-That's exciting, isn't it?
-It is exciting, yes.
This house remained the favourite in our line-up for Neil and Justine,
and I'm happy to report they did put in an offer.
Another one of our memorable house-hunting highlights.
Herefordshire is a firm favourite with our house hunters,
and I can see why.
The Malvern Hills and the Wye Valley are both protected
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
and provide wonderful walking terrain.
The county is also home to over 9,500 acres of cider apple orchards,
which continues to fuel its cider-making tradition.
Now, local food and drink production is the lifeblood for lots of
independent businesses here.
And markets in places like Hereford and Ledbury continue to be great
gathering points for the whole community.
And it's Ledbury that's my next Herefordshire port of call.
It's the closest town to Danny and Suzanne
and is popular with visitors and locals,
resplendent with boutique shops and gorgeous historic architecture.
Ledbury Country Market is a co-operative affair,
run by members and volunteers,
selling home-made and home-grown produce for the community.
I'm told it's a bit of a social gathering,
as well as a great place to pick up something delicious.
Cecily is in charge of the chutneys and jams.
Now, my husband loves lemon curd.
Freshly made yesterday.
-Oh! By your fair hand?
Well, I think if we're going to buy lemon curd,
we should probably go for the big one, shouldn't we?
-That's right. That one is £2.75.
-Yeah, that one's £2.70...
Where does it say? Yes, £2.75.
Everything you buy is written down on a sheet
you receive at the entrance.
The total is then added up and you pay the cashier on the door.
The range of foodstuffs on offer here is astounding.
And I'm told anyone can be a member of the co-operative
if they're over 16 and have produce to sell.
Graham is running the charcuterie stall.
-Well, hello, sir.
-How are we today?
-What are we selling?
It's a range of charcuterie, produced by me at home.
About 18 months ago, my wife said to me,
"Do something now you've retired."
She wanted me out of the house and what do I end up doing?
Staying in the house.
Yes, but if you could tempt her with all of this I bet she's very happy.
Well, she is, but she occasionally says,
"Can we have a real meal tonight, not bits, please?"
What should I be tempted with? There's so much to choose from.
I think the things which are really nice -
-in some cases I take something like a pork tender loin...
..wrap it in some spices.
It's cooked. It comes out, the cooking's slightly anaemic,
so it's blowtorched to give it it's lovely brown colour
and a bit of charring. That actually adds a bit of flavour as well.
And then I smoke it for 24 hours in the whisky barrel,
sawdust as well, at the same time as I'm probably doing
-some of the other products.
And that's lovely on a sandwich or in a salad.
Let's take one of those, I think.
Generally, members don't have their own individual stalls,
as all produce of the same type is sold together.
There's also no minimum quantity required
and you don't have to sell every week.
My last stop has to be the cake stand,
where Angela is only too happy to help.
-Now, I've gone for the healthy bit.
-Now you want the nice bit.
I've got my eggs, got my vegetables.
I need a little something for after, don't I?
A little indulgence.
-All locally produced?
There's four cooks that all cook and we all bring it together.
And do you take it in turns to sell it as well?
-We all stand here and sell.
-Do you? Together?
-It really is a community?
-It is, absolutely.
So we all know what we bake. We all bake different things.
So if I said to you, a jam tart.
-Would that go down well?
Yes. Home-made jam.
Lovely. OK, so I'll take one of those, please.
With my basket full of home-grown fare,
it's been lovely to experience the vibrant community
right on Danny and Suzanne's doorstep.
Back at their house,
I want to find out how their holiday let business has developed.
And I'm pleased to report that not only have they kept up the existing
let, but they've successfully added a new holiday lodge on site.
It's situated where the old Airstream caravan used to be,
after they decided against bringing their old lodge with them,
as they had originally planned.
Danny's promised to show me one further addition,
that I think is his pride and joy.
And here we are in the keep, this is our shepherd's hut.
Oh, this is adorable!
-I've never been in one before.
And you'd think as I spend most of my life in the country
that I would have done.
-But it's bigger than I thought it was going to be.
It's a lot more glamorous.
-I thought it would be basic.
-It's a little TARDIS.
-A big double bed.
-Yeah, proper double bed size
and also there's a wardrobe in there.
And it's all heated.
So, how do you actually heat it?
We've got solar panels, actually,
which is quite a nice green, sort of, credential you can have,
and also it provides all the power for the hot water, the heating.
-So you're nice and cosy in here.
-Yes, I would say.
-Is it popular with your guests?
Yes, they like that side of it
and also the fact that it's nicely tucked into the garden here.
I'm sure it is. Are they very expensive to buy?
Yes, it's all dependant on specification, of course.
You could probably start at a basic price of £15,000 upwards.
-Yeah. It's what you want in it, really.
And do you need planning permission for something like this, or not?
We've had to have planning permission because we rent it out.
-If this was something that was situated here
on its own without renting,
then we wouldn't have to have planning for it.
I can see people coming. It's like a little hideaway,
-a little secret.
And it has the added extra of this.
-That's what I want to see.
-Yes. A bit of luxury.
Absolutely. As much as I love the countryside,
I don't want to be going out there at 3am in the morning.
-With your torch.
What a charming addition to the property.
On the other side of the garden,
I'm joining Suzanne to help with feeding time.
So are all these ducks yours?
These are our, sort of, wild...
But they were wild, they're tame now.
-Look at them!
But we'll feed them first.
Come on, then, come and have some breakfast.
There we are.
And if you'd like to go and let the girls out while they're busy.
-There's your little tin, Nicki, for some eggs.
-Is this for the eggs?
-And they'll be in the house.
I hope they haven't let me down.
Come on, into the pond.
-Have a nice day in the pond.
-Last, but not least.
And then look at me, I'm after the bounty.
-See if you can find some eggs.
-Any in here?
Oh, look, it's like a little nest in the corner.
Oh, one, two, three, four.
-Is that a good day?
-That's a good day.
Why is there a blue one? What's the difference?
-The Runner ducks give us blue eggs.
And the Cherry Valley and the Khaki Campbells give us white eggs.
-So you know who's laying which egg?
-Very clever ducks.
-A good day - four eggs.
A good day. Thank you.
Would you like to hold those, then, Nicki?
-We'll get Polly up to say hello.
-How old's Polly?
-This is little Polly.
-She's probably about four years old now.
Her mummy left her as a baby, so we brought her up.
Aww! Are you looking for food, are you?
-But quite happy for you to pick her up?
-Sort of semi-tame.
-So-called wild duck.
-Not quite that wild.
-They love you, don't they?
Look at them. Do they follow you around the garden?
They do follow me, and if I get this tin...
There you go.
And it's not just the ducks ruling the roost around here,
there's Danny's famous robin, too.
I wonder if I can get his attention.
-He's talking to you.
-Yeah, he chirps away.
-He's thinking about it. There you go.
Look at that.
You don't get him that close unless there's stuff, basically.
Look at that.
That's what this move has all been about, hasn't it?
Yeah, it's the wildlife and the area.
-Oh, Danny that was magical.
I'd be out here for hours.
Apparently you are!
-That's the best muesli, that is.
-I think that was meant to be for the guests.
-You two are like the bird whisperers, aren't you?
We really have got close to nature since we've been here, haven't we?
I'm showing you this beautiful old pump house
and thinking about a taste of what life could be like.
Never, never in a million years did I realise
you were going to be having all of this as well.
-I didn't think so either.
-Did you not?
-It's something you...
It's something you want to come to and you very rarely get it,
-and we've got it luckily enough, yeah.
-We never want to move.
-Do you not?
We hate it when we go away, actually.
We always want to come back, you know?
Any more than a week and you're just dying to come back again.
Because we just like the surrounding area.
We always say, "Why do we want to go abroad and sit by a pool when we've
"got our own pond here, and we can sit and have a picnic
"by the pond and watch the ducks, and we're happy?"
I mean, do you spend hours in your garden?
He's spent hours training that robin!
Our couple really are all about the countryside these days.
And surrounded as they are by rolling hills and beautiful views,
it's easy to see why.
Before I leave, I'm joining them on one of their favourite walks.
This is such a beautiful spot.
And this is your normal hike, is it, into Ledbury?
This is our walk into Ledbury.
It takes about 30 minutes, and Ledbury's just over there
-behind you over there, in the valley.
It's a lovely walk for the guests, and then they can go and have
a coffee or something to eat in Ledbury.
And we can walk into the deer park from our house as well.
Again, that's about 30 minutes.
And that's important, isn't it, when you've got guests?
It is. And if they want a really long walk,
-they can actually get up on to the Malvern Hills...
The countryside has been good to the two of you, hasn't it?
-Wouldn't change it for the world?
Not now. I certainly wouldn't go back.
Does it make you re-evaluate your lives?
I mean, obviously you've had a life-changing experience,
anyway, Danny, but, you know, living here
and looking at this view, which, as we know,
changes not every day, it's every hour, isn't it?
That's what we like about the countryside though, isn't it,
-And the changes.
It doesn't matter, it's all part of the countryside.
It's what you get.
-We love it.
If I offered you £1 million to give all this up,
-would you be tempted?
-No, you wouldn't move.
-No, I wouldn't, no.
I think, no, money isn't everything.
I think we've found out that you have to make ends meet,
and we love being in the country
because it's what we wanted in the first place.
You really are the most delightful couple
-in the most beautiful home with all of this...
-..on your doorstep.
It's been lovely to see you again and to show you what we've done.
I'm so pleased we've played a small part in all this happiness.
-Thank you. BOTH:
For Suzanne and Danny,
their move to Herefordshire represented so much more
than just swapping one house for another.
That was just the starting point.
And it's been so inspiring meeting up with them again and seeing how
together they are now reaping the rewards of all that hard work.
And as we've heard, sometimes it's been really tough.
So I'm delighted they can finally enjoy their new lives
in the country.
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Nicki Chapman returns to Herefordshire to catch up with her house-hunters, discovering how their plans of running holiday let business have come to fruition and how they've also become a firm port of call for the local wildlife. Whilst in the area, Nicki visits Ledbury Country Market and meets the committed food producers who are behind its ongoing success.