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For some, there is nothing more satisfying
than tucking in to a plate of food from your very own garden.
You've got your chickens clucking around in the backyard,
fresh eggs every morning
and veggies at your disposal whenever you want them.
I think there's no other word for it than the good life. You intrigued?
Well, keep watching for a very special Escape To The Country.
In today's show, we'll be taking a look back at the cream of the crop,
as we revisit some of our favourite farmhouses from previous series,
where a dream farmhouse kitchen hits the spot.
A couple from Woking find their cosy country corner.
-Love the fireplace.
-What a fireplace.
Got my woodburning stove I asked for.
That's ticked that box, hasn't it?
A smallholding in Wales brings out the inner child.
What would you do in here?
-We'd play about.
'And I end up getting on someone else's goat.'
No, no, no, no!
You have to be quicker to stop it going in the bucket!
There's many a weary urbanite
who often dreams of owning their own farmhouse with a smallholding,
so they can raise chickens and pigs
and grow their own veggies
and of course, cook up a feast in that beloved country kitchen.
So today's show is all about the traditional farmhouse
and the people who want to live in them.
Built for purpose and functionality,
farmhouses are the most prolific structures in the countryside.
Over the ages, a variety of different styles have dressed the landscape.
One of the more common builds are the two-up, two-down,
where farmer and animal slept under the same roof.
As wars and threats of invasion swept the country,
farmhouses became fortified,
defending not only the farmer but his biggest asset, the animals.
Amazing examples of these can still be seen today,
from the Devonshire Long House to the Northumbrian Bastille.
As time passed, animals have been moved to sheds and stables
and the quintessential farmhouse was born,
firing up images of woodburning stoves,
tiled flooring and of course, the hearty range oven.
With such a great variety of farmhouses
that we featured on the show over the years,
it's been really tricky just choosing a few select favourites,
but to get us going, we're off to Devon
where I was showing Aldo and Amanda some £1 million farmhouses.
Now, at 6'4", ceiling height was definitely a concern for Aldo,
and for Amanda, it was all about finding the perfect country kitchen.
They both agreed, however, that land was essential
because they wanted to raise chickens and pigs.
So I took them to the outskirts of the village of Warkleigh,
where I showed them a 17-century dairy farmhouse.
And while the ceiling height wasn't an issue,
the kitchen definitely was.
Warkleigh sits just 12 miles from Barnstaple
in the lush green landscape of Devon.
Four miles away, the village of Umberleigh has a tearoom
which is always a great place for meeting new friends.
And the train station gives access to the Tarka Line,
a scenic journey through North Devon's unspoilt countryside.
The farm also came with holiday lets,
which was ideal for Aldo and Amanda,
who wanted to start a business from home.
-Oh, wow. That's nice.
Well, this is property number one,
and one of the things you said you wanted was a period property.
I think we've done pretty well.
It was originally built in about the 1620s,
so it's featured in the Domesday Book.
I don't think you can get much older.
I'm pretty good on the history.
It was a working dairy farm up until about the 1950s.
It's been well modernised.
Two cottages brought together.
Inside, has kept the character, but it's modern and fresh.
And you've got a couple of holiday lets either side. Let's go inside,
take a look.
So, from the outside, is this kind of what you were expecting?
I don't know what we were expecting, but yes, it's the countryside we're looking for.
In we come...to room number one.
-As long as you can fit underneath.
Original features. Come through. Can you fit through there, Aldo?
-Yeah. Just about.
Nice short haircut. Pretty good.
-Such wonderful character.
-It's really cosy.
-Just about habitable.
-It's a lovely cosy room.
Good. That's what I wanted to hear.
Let's hope it continues.
-So, we have the living area.
Love the fireplace. It's got my woodburning stove.
-That's ticked that box, hasn't it?
-I love the wooden flooring. Beautiful.
They've laid all of this pine flooring throughout.
It's right the way through the property.
-How are you doing with the ceilings?
You don't really notice it.
-So the Aldo factor's not becoming a factor.
-Not at the moment.
Not at the moment. He's fine. He can fit under those.
So far so good. Is this a good space for entertaining?
It is. It is a nice-sized room.
Yeah. We'd fit our furniture in here cos we've got a couple of sofas and things.
-Shall we keep wandering?
This house is full of surprises. Let's see what's round the corner.
This is the dining area.
-Love the flooring.
-Again, really good flooring.
-We've got the beams. We're starting to increase the height now.
They are going up, aren't they? Yep.
This is more like it.
-Have a look over there.
-The Aga over there.
-Got your Aga.
-And then through here to the kitchen.
-So is that the only cooker?
-You're seeing one of the quirks with this property.
They've got the separate kitchen
-and what they're using as a preparation area.
So the family will do all the preparation here
and they go through to the dining area. That's where they cook.
-That's where they do the cooking.
And they say it's great cos it's straight from cooker to table -
nice hot, hearty meals.
-So, that's the idea of it.
-Different to how you...
I think we're used to a much bigger open space, aren't we?
We've got the kitchen, the breakfast area, sort of a family area.
That's one of the challenges of this property -
to be a bit different.
Let's move on and maybe take a look upstairs.
The kitchen may not be the best set-up, but they could knock through
and make one big kitchen-diner.
Upstairs, there are three good-sized bedrooms for friends and family,
and also a charming country-style family bathroom.
But it's the master that I want Amanda and Aldo to see.
It's a nice-sized room.
-It's not a bad-sized room.
-It's big enough. Yeah.
-Yeah. I think so.
-And an en suite.
-A nice-sized shower.
-Important to you.
-It's nice. Nice upstairs, isn't it?
-Some boxes being ticked!
-Oh, yeah. Ticking some boxes. Yeah.
Good. Good. Let's hope the outside matches up.
All this sits in nine acres of Devon and if that's not enough,
I have something else up my sleeve.
A lake. It's fairly new.
-It's only been going a year and a bit.
There are lots of trees planted. It will develop.
-You'll see it blossom over the next couple of years.
-You've given us your budget, starting between 800 and up to possibly 1.2 million.
And then you gave us that lovely checklist.
I think we haven't done too badly.
How much do you think that's all worth?
I'd guess 1,050,000.
I'd have said a little bit under. Say 980.
You two are pretty good guessers.
Congratulations. This one is on the market for 995,000.
-No. That's good. Very good start.
I think this is a really great house, but what are their thoughts?
It's a beautiful property.
I love all the quirky features of it and things like the bread ovens
and the little doors and shutters.
Think the biggest problem for me is the kitchen.
If we actually took this out by about six foot,
it would make a lovely kitchen-breakfast area.
The house itself was beautiful.
It's ticked most of the boxes.
The only downside house was the kitchen where the cooking facilities
are actually in the dining area.
Now, another couple who were looking for a similar change
are Mandy and Gary, from Balsall Common in the West Midlands.
With their two children, they were looking for a farmhouse in East Devon
and they enlisted the help of Jules Hudson.
They had a budget of about £600,000,
and for that, they wanted a three-bedroom character property,
close to a village, with plenty of space so they could keep donkeys.
So Jules took them to Upottery,
a ten-minute drive north of Honiton.
Lying in the Otter Valley in the Blackdown Hills,
the village consists of a collection of pretty thatched and painted cottages,
with the River Otter running through its heart.
Gary and Mandy were chomping at the bit when Jules showed them a five-bedroom Victorian farmhouse.
Wow. That's lovely.
-Isn't that special?
Absolutely. Like your Devonshire farmhouse, isn't it?
It absolutely is a Devonshire farmhouse.
There's a plaque up there that says 1902. That's when it was built.
-Do you like it?
-Good start. Wait till you see inside.
Right. Let's start in here.
Oh, I say. Lovely.
Open fireplace, so big logs in there. Very cosy in here.
Remember I mentioned that extension. What it does, it pushes out that way,
-and that's the new bit, and it goes up another storey.
-So that could make an office.
-Great place to work, wouldn't it?
Come with me.
'The lounge has gone down well, but there's plenty more to see.'
-I've been dying to show you this room, above all others,
-cos I think this is what you're after.
-Nail on the head.
-And it goes on.
There's a bit more down here.
Come down here to this area, which is kind of a snug, really.
You've got a lovely great big open fire there, again.
-It's just really good family space.
OK. So, we like this so far.
Good. I thought you would. OK.
Let's go upstairs, cos there's loads of accommodation.
Come with me through here.
This I think you'll really like.
'The kitchen is clearly a winner, but upstairs there are five bedrooms.'
Now, I know Mandy and Gary only asked for three,
but the first two are fairly compact
and could be knocked through if they wished.
The third bedroom is slightly bigger
and great for occasional visits from daughter Hayley.
And then there's a fourth.
Now then, there are so many rooms to choose from up here,
I'm thinking one could be a study.
-Instead of downstairs. That's a good option.
-You've got so many choices.
-That's three choices.
-Right. Let's continue. There's plenty more.
-Wow. Didn't expect this.
-How sweet. It's beautiful.
Really charming. A bit of a surprise, isn't it?
-It is, actually.
-Nice big size and quite different, really.
You've got an airing cupboard, with the immersion tank.
And a lovely view.
'They seem to love this property, but the piece de resistance has to be the master bedroom.'
Ah, this is beautiful. Lovely size.
-Perfect size. Yeah.
-Very pretty. Yeah.
I think this is really terrific.
Is that a drinks cupboard there?
Kind of. It's certainly got running water in it. How about that?
-That's a bonus.
-Very similar style to the family bathroom in the way it's been fitted out.
Beautifully done en suite, isn't it, Gary?
Ideal. Absolutely perfect.
Now, you've seen pretty much all of the inside of this property.
How's it faring, do you think?
This is, by far, my favourite.
-Yeah. So far.
'I certainly get the feeling that Mandy is mentally moving in
'and as we head outside, there's plenty more to impress her.'
-Now, what you get is that enormous barn, as well.
-The whole thing?
-So, next question...
-How much land, do you think?
Well, I'd settle for none, just for the house.
That's a good start. But it does come with a bit of land.
Come through here.
This is all with the property?
It's all with the property. That's what I want you to look at.
-Can you see that paddock up there?
You get that paddock, the bit beyond the posting rail and the gate,
-up to the tree line.
-In all, the whole thing is about two acres.
-It's not bad.
Great. Well, OK, let's go and see how much it's all going to cost you.
'I think both of them are suitably impressed with this place
'and it certainly has everything they've asked for and more.
'So let's see what they think of the price.'
So, we're back where we started, in the more formal garden,
looking at the back of the property.
So, the million dollar question.
You've got 600 grand or so. How much would you want to spend on this?
This property's just got so much going for it,
I think it is going to be 595, 600, if not more.
-Top end of the budget. Gary?
If I saw it on the market for 650, I wouldn't be surprised.
However, I would be delighted if it was on the market for 595.
Yeah. A lot to think about, Gary.
Go and have a good look around. I can see this place has really, really grabbed you.
-It has got it all, hasn't it?
-It definitely has.
-Go on, then.
-Go and have a look.
These barns have got so much potential for whatever you want.
I love the way there's a little community here...
Oh, I like that, too. Wouldn't feel alone, would you?
No. You've always got neighbours around, so I think it's just superb.
Though it's in the heart of the country,
you're only two minutes away from civilisation,
whereas other houses we've looked at, I felt a little bit cut off.
My favourite room is the kitchen.
It's just a wow factor to it.
Exactly what we wanted in a country kitchen.
This room's so special, isn't it?
I think it's set off by this splendid fireplace, do you?
I love it. Absolutely love it.
It has everything that we were looking for. And more, really.
It's something we've really got to consider.
When setting up a smallholding,
the most common animals to start with
are chickens, pigs, sheep and goats.
Did you know that the goat is believed to be
amongst one of the earliest domesticated animals,
dating back around 10,000 years.
So today I'm here to meet Tiff and Judith Hall,
and they've got over 30 goats on their smallholding.
I'm going to find out a little bit more
about what it takes to raise the herd.
The farm can be found
in the heart of the Fens near Wisbech,
and makes the perfect home for Tiff, Judith and their handsome herd.
Good morning. Hello, Tiff.
-How are you? All right?
-Fine, thanks. Hi, Judith.
-You've got an impressive herd here, haven't you?
-We certainly have.
Of all the animals you could keep, why go for goats?
I just became interested in them when I went to agricultural shows.
I thought they were just interesting animals
and they have turned out to be extremely interesting to keep.
And you've got a nice bit of land here for them.
Yeah. Five acres in total.
Five acres. And the farmhouse.
-And the farmhouse.
They've been building their stock for 13 years
and supply the local community with everything from organic goat burgers
to dairy products, all milked in the traditional way -
Is it easy to master?
Relatively. Yeah. Do you want a go?
-Shall we have a look?
-Let's have a go.
'With half the herd as milkers, this is no hobby farm.'
They're all in here. Hello.
The goats need regular attention and milking twice a day, 365 days a year.
Oh, that was very quick.
She's not giving me a lot, this one.
How much milk would you expect to get out of them?
-Daisy's giving me about half a gallon a day.
-Half a gallon.
And she was kidded two years ago, so they're what they call run through.
-Yeah. Does it hurt her?
-No. Not if you do it properly.
-If you go too high, then you'll pinch the udder.
-She'll kick the bucket over or put a foot in the bucket.
Sounds tricky, but to make life easier for me,
Judith brought out one of her best milkers, Ray.
Sharp squeeze, run your finger down.
Sharp squeeze. Oh, milk came out!
-There was a trickle.
There we go.
I'm doing it.
-Now get your other hand working on the other one.
It's a two-handed job. Be here all day if you wait for me.
That requires another level of skill.
Oh, she's a good milker, isn't she?
She is. She's excellent.
I usually teach people on Ray.
Can you drink this milk from the bucket?
You can if you want to drink it with a few hairs in it.
And when would you pasteurise it?
I'd pasteurise it for the children, the grandchildren. They drink it.
Oh, no, no, no, no!
You have to be quicker to stop it going in the bucket.
I can't believe it.
-A bucket of good...
-You were doing so well.
I'm OK with it, Ray.
But could you move your foot, please?
'Well, I think before Ray gets my goat,
'I'll leave this to the professionals.
'A clean bucket and an experienced pair of hands
'should ensure we have enough milk for our tea.
'But first, it needs to be pasteurised.'
You said you drink the milk without pasteurising, necessarily.
But why is it important for the younger ones?
Because of the bacteria that could be in the milk
-that it could have picked up from a bucket, or anywhere, really. This is a home pasteuriser.
It's nothing like the commercial people would use,
but it works for me.
OK. Well, let's put this together,
-cos we've got a fair amount of milk here.
-Like a big funnel.
Holey bit goes in. Filter paper.
And then another holey bit.
And a spring to hold it all together.
-And then you can just pour it through.
-I pour in.
It should take all of that, quite easily.
-Here we go.
-That's as much as my grandchildren need.
And that's the milk from lovely Ray.
-And Daisy, as well.
minus the little bit that was spilt.
Yeah. Of course. Minus the bit with a hoof in it.
So we take that off.
Then I need to connect this up to the outlet.
Just run the hot water, so it doesn't take quite so long to heat up.
It seems like a lot of effort just to get some milk. Is it rewarding?
Well, it is, but yes, I mean, I've got the goats,
I like keeping the goats.
It's a hobby that's progressed into something a bit more.
And I don't like the goats not to be useful.
If they're producing milk and meat for us, then they're useful.
Just switch the electric on and that's it.
We leave it until it buzzes.
In rural areas during the war, many infants were brought up on goats' milk,
as due to rationing, powdered milk was often the only alternative.
So how does it compare in a cup of tea?
That's a lovely cup of tea.
And I can't taste the difference.
I was thinking I'd taste it and there would be a very strong taste
of something that would say, "There's goat's milk in there."
-But there's nothing. It's just a good cup of tea.
'I'm not kidding. This really is lovely.
'And do you know, much like their stubborn goats,
'I can see how Judith and Tiff are really set in to this farming life.'
I can't see us moving, at all. Nothing, I don't think, can make us move.
At this rate, I can't see me moving, either.
So I'll leave you lot to move on while I sit back for a lovely cup of tea with some goat's milk.
-You have got a spare room, haven't you?
And so we come to our final farmhouse
and I have to admit, it really is something quite special.
This house was in Powys, in mid-Wales,
and looking around the property with Jules Hudson were Hugh and Lyriss,
a retired couple from Reigate in Surrey.
Now, they had a fantastic budget of £750,000
and for that they were looking for a four-bedroom detached property
with a large kitchen and enough land to raise some sheep and chickens.
So when Jules showed them their dream farmhouse in Pengenffordd
there were smiles all round.
The hamlet of Pengenffordd is a fairly remote area
two miles north of Cwmdu.
One of the most attractive villages in the Brecknock Valley,
Cwmdu is popular with hikers and tourists
and is only 20 minutes' drive
from the Brecon Beacons.
This beautiful village is full of rustic charm,
but did it have enough to seduce Hugh and Lyriss
into moving nearby?
-..what about that?
-That's a real farmhouse.
It's a real farmhouse. Cos I think,
-at heart, you want to be real farmers.
-Your brother says we want to be hobby farmers.
Plenty of hobbies you can undertake here.
It's absolutely enormous. It has loads of scope
and has that real farmhouse feel to it because...
-it is a real farmhouse.
Now... Come in here.
What do you think?
Yep. Pretty authentic looking.
-Pretty authentic, isn't it?
-This is a nice size, too, isn't it?
Yeah. You're smiling a lot, which suggests this is all rather good.
-Yes, it is.
-There's a traditional fireplace.
-It's a large room.
Now, this is not the only reception room here.
-There is another one.
They call it a snug.
It's quite a big snug, though.
-Come and have a look at this one.
Not exactly a small snug.
-As snugs go...
-It's quite big.
I think it's great.
It's a mixture of dining room, I suppose,
and cosy fire, etc.
Yeah. What would you do in here?
We'd play about.
-Well, it's suited to having...
it being a sort of an everyday sitting room, isn't it?
So that you've got the settees and the fire.
I love that fireplace.
Yes, that is. That must be an original.
Now, does this work for you, Lyriss?
-Oh, yes. Yes. This is pretty farmhousey, isn't it?
Yeah. Nice oil-fired range for you.
Well, but that does your hot water, as well.
-Yes. So it has to be kept in.
-I would suggest so.
'It's all good, so far.
'Upstairs, there are only three bedrooms, which might be a stumbling block,
'but I'm hoping that the cottage feel will win them over.'
Oh, yes. This is absolutely right for the house, isn't it?
Little windows. Deep sills. Just absolutely as it should be.
I love all the quirky ceilings and wonky doors.
This is exactly authentic, isn't it?
'There's a spacious bathroom, and dressing room with a shower,
but what will they make of the master bedroom?'
-Oh, yes. It's very nice.
-This is the master bedroom.
-This is the master bedroom.
-So we like?
Yes. Yes. It moves us.
It moves us. Good.
The royal we. Great, isn't it?
'Royal palaces have estates, and as ever, it's the grounds here
'that will have to impress Queen Lyriss.'
-Let's start here, shall we?
In the old farmyard,
cos this could all be yours, too.
You've got a lovely old barn here, with a granary above it.
All the stalls are in there. The old cattle stalls, etc.
The really interesting thing is that area at the top
has planning permission to be converted for domestic use.
But this isn't all of it.
This is just the start. There's some land through here.
'This used to be a working farm and more recently a stud
'so all the useful outbuildings are in great condition.
'And with a sizeable 16 acres of land,
'this place could be perfect for when Hugh and Lyriss start up
'their hobby farm.'
You've got what you can see here, running from those trees on my left, up...
-See the telegraph pole?
-Across where those sheep are grazing.
-And the field beyond.
That hedge, as well.
I think it's enough to make your eyes sparkle, isn't it?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Could make me happy.
'It all looks very promising,
'but now it's time to play the trump card.'
Well, we've seen quite a bit of land the other side of the farm,
but there is also plenty of land this side of the road.
-And at the bottom of that is a stream.
A really, really pretty one.
-With access for the stock?
Now, to give you an idea, if you want to look at this plan I've got.
Let's just turn it round. There we are.
There's the farm, there. We're here.
There's the acreage at the top of the farm. The two paddocks.
All the outbuildings. And all of this -
-quite a lot of land and quite a lot of farm, as well.
-And the house.
So £750,000 is in your pocket.
Make me an offer on this place.
Well, with 750 in my pocket, I'd pay 750 for it.
I'm sure you would.
But would you get it, I wonder. Hugh?
I guess it's got to be at least 760.
-760. If it was 750, would you consider it?
-So you would definitely take it for 695?
We'd snap their hands off.
Go and snap them off, then.
Cos that's it. £695,000 gets you this lot.
-Well, that's it, then.
Yes. Yes. No. We'll have that. When we can afford to change the boiler.
Are you telling me that it's over?
-It's a farmer's delight.
-There you go.
-It's a hobby farmer's delight.
-Off you go.
-See you sometime.
Yes. I can see I'm going to have to prise you away.
Yes, you are.
The thought of actually living here just...makes me so happy.
This is a fabulous house, isn't it?
Yes. And this is a lovely room.
All the features that we were looking for are there.
There's the spacious kitchen, a snug, lovely fireplaces.
It would just be so wonderful
to be able to walk around these fields
and say, "These are my animals and this is my land."
Well, I think Hugh and Lyriss absolutely love that farmhouse.
And who could blame them?
It has fantastic views and its very own stream.
Now, unfortunately, that's all we've got time for
in today's Escape To The Country, but do join me again next time.
I'm observing the first country rule and shutting the gate.
And now, I'm off to warm my hands on the range.
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