Property series. Aled Jones helps a couple with their family of 14 dogs and cats go in search of rural isolation in Cornwall after decades of urban living.
Browse content similar to Cornwall. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Today I'm in a county whose temperate climate makes it possible
to grow produce as diverse as chillies and tea.
Nine years ago, this was a barren landscape -
no level ground, no vegetation, no plants.
Today it attracts more than a million visitors a year.
Where am I? Find out as we Escape To The Country.
Today we'll be helping a couple go in search of rural isolation
for their family of 14 dogs and cats.
And it's definitely the animals that are top priority.
That is doggy Nirvana.
We have hand-picked a selection of gorgeous properties.
-Shall we talk money?
-You are going to break our hearts now.
And, as ever, there's the mystery house. But will any of the properties
succeed in matching their dream?
Today I'm in Cornwall, at the Eden Project,
which is famous for this, the largest greenhouse in the world.
They are actually called biomes, and they house a million plants,
8,000 species from all over the world.
Since opening back in March 2001,
11 million visitors have come through the gates.
The outside space alone is larger than 30 football pitches,
and it boasts its own tea plantation,
which is a good thing, because I fancy a cuppa.
With more than 400 miles of glorious coastline,
Cornwall lies at the south-westerly tip of Britain.
It's a county with its own distinctive identity,
history, culture and language, and regularly experiences
temperatures higher than the rest of the mainland.
With its economic history rooted in fishing and mining,
Cornwall today relies heavily on tourism,
which brings in five million visitors a year,
contributing £1.6 billion annually to the economy.
They are drawn in by the spectacular landscape and dramatic coastal scenery,
which inspired resident and internationally acclaimed author Daphne du Maurier,
who penned the novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn here.
With its natural beauty, it has long been a popular place to live.
But recent attention has been drawn to Saltash,
which in August 2009 was identified as Britain's most desirable postcode
due to its stable house prices and good schools.
Cornwall's popularity just goes from strength to strength.
The price of seaside property in coastal hotspots such as Padstow
has risen by an incredible 493 percent over the last ten years.
But if you are not after that sea view, don't panic.
A detached property will set you back about 8.5 percent
above national average.
But whatever the budget, there are some lovely properties out there. Just take a look.
If you must have a coastal location,
and you can stretch to £1.5 million, then this four-bedroom house
overlooking the Fowey Estuary has to be top of your list.
Forget about the interior. This is all about position.
If you are wondering how it sits in the landscape, it is right here.
Or how about this three-bedroom thatched cottage near Perranporth,
on the market for £595,000?
Unusually for a property of this style, there are vaulted ceilings,
but the best selling point has to be the incredible view.
Or finally, for £395,000,
you could be the lucky owner of this pretty Cornish cottage.
It has the stone walls, flagstone floor
and beams you might expect from a property like this,
and it comes with two acres of land, including a paddock.
So, with plenty of Cornish delights on offer,
let's hope there is something to whet the appetite of today's buyers. Let's meet them.
Mike and Sarah from Wilmington in Kent are looking forward to
early retirement from the police force.
They are making a move with their six dogs
and eight cats to the Cornish countryside.
They met 12 years ago, and have been living in Sarah's property,
convenient for the commute to work.
This house is a 1950s four-bed two-bath detached bungalow.
The location is great, but we are still surrounded
by other houses and suburbia,
and I really just want to get completely away from all of that.
I am looking for something truly in the middle of nowhere.
I have thought about this for a long, long time, over the years
when I have been doing night duties in London,
and I have always had this dream about relocating one day.
-And one day is here.
-We are willing to compromise on the house itself.
The location is paramount. If it had some land, great,
because I've always had a self-sufficiency thing.
And a lake, a river or even a beach within 20 minutes' drive,
that we could basically load the dogs in the morning and go down and swim with them.
It must be right. This is our forever house.
No pressure for us, then!
In a nutshell, what are we searching for?
We want a minimum of two but preferably three bedrooms,
because obviously people will be coming to see us.
And hopefully a decent sized kitchen where we can do some entertaining,
because we live in the kitchen. Other than that, we are flexible.
One of the most important things about the new place
is it has got to have an area, something like this for the dogs.
We really do need something with a tiled floor and some space for their toys, beds, water,
and somewhere when they come back from being muddy, after we have rinsed them down,
they can stay and get dry before we let them into the rest of the house.
I think I would like our next place to have some land.
Really for these dogs. We are restricted here.
They can't run free. I have to walk them on leads.
And I think our next place is as much about their needs
as it is about our own.
So, the dogs rule. But before we can head off to Cornwall,
we need to get a handle on money, so we have arranged for
a local estate agent to provide a current valuation.
The property is a four-bedroom detached bungalow.
It's on the most desirable road in the area.
We would expect to achieve in the region of £500,000.
The estate agent's valuation is, to be honest,
about where I thought it was going to be.
There are people out there that have lost thousands in the current recession,
so to get back virtually what I paid for it, that's fine.
I'd like to keep the budget for the next property on a par with what this sells for.
Then hopefully within a very short time of moving,
we would be mortgage-free.
So the budget for our next house will be £500,000.
So, Mike and Sarah are after solitude,
and this move is all about location. The more remote the better.
No neighbours, no busy roads, and no more dogs on leashes.
The dogs - they are the key to this move.
Make the dogs happy, and Mike and Sarah will follow suit.
They are pretty flexible regarding location,
as long as the property is remote, so Cornwall is our oyster.
Over two days, we will be showing them houses
that could turn their Cornish dream into reality.
But as ever, I won't be revealing the price tags straight away.
Our final stop will be the mystery house,
which will push their idea of a good life to the limit.
-Sarah, Mike. Welcome to Cornwall.
-How are you?
-We are well, thank you.
-Looking forward to it?
-And I suppose you're looking forward to escaping the rat race.
It is definitely time to leave London, leave all the clamour and the bustle.
So you move to the country to put your feet up?
Or are you going to embrace the lifestyle, grow your own veg?
-That's his department.
Yeah, the plans are I can go as self-sufficient as possible.
Which is why we are looking for something with land.
I do dabble in growing vegetables at home,
but I am hoping to pretty much provide our needs here if we can.
You know you have chosen a massively expensive area?
It is in the top 20 most expensive areas in Britain to live.
But we have got some lovely properties to show you, including the mystery property.
-It could be our get out of jail free card.
There's going to be loads of those gags. Get used to it now.
Come on, let's go.
So, after decades of urban living, Mike and Sarah are ready
to embrace Cornwall with a generous £500,000 in their pocket.
For these two passionate animal lovers,
it is all about location, location and location again.
Remoteness is key.
Ideally, the house will have two to three bedrooms,
a dedicated room for the dogs
and plenty of land for them to bounce around in,
and of course for Mike to realise his green dream.
Well, guys, I don't want you to think that I am buttering you up,
but you both look far too young to be retiring.
-Of course we do.
-Why are you, then?
-Because it will be a better life.
No more work, just enjoy ourselves.
-And so far, are you loving Cornwall?
-Oh, I love it.
We came down here for years for family holidays, Mum, Dad,
sisters and everything.
And I have always loved it down here.
But you have only ever been once, haven't you?
Once, when I was about 17. And it is a beautiful place.
Well, there's no disputing that.
And we'd love to see them settled here, so for our first house,
we are heading over to Trebell Green, ten miles from St Austell.
The small hamlet is no more than a handful of houses,
and will offer Mike and Sarah the tranquility they seek.
Traffic comes in the form of walkers, as the Saints Way runs through it,
on its way from Padstow to Fowey.
Local amenities are just two miles away in Lanivet, which was
the subject of a Thomas Hardy poem after he visited here in 1872.
Over in Trebell Green, our house sits in a fantastic position.
Even on a gloomy day, it still has superb views.
What you have is what was originally two farm workers' cottages
that have been knocked into one. It's 300 years old. What do you think?
First impressions, it is really pretty, isn't it?
Even down to roses round the door.
-It is what you'd expect.
-It is, it's cute.
-Shall we get in?
Because it is horrible. You can take your hood off then.
'Great. We are on the right track, but cute cottages come with cute doors,
'which might be a bit of a squeeze for six-foot Sarah.'
Come on in, guys. Mind your head.
It's good to take your coat off, isn't it? What do you think?
-I like it.
-I do, I like it.
-The locals call this house Hug House.
-Yes, I can see why.
It's got that feeling that it hugs you when you walk in.
-It's a feelgood house.
-Very low ceilings.
Yeah, you just about clear it. So, this is a little breakfast room.
-Too small for you?
-Yes. It is, yes. But let's see the rest of it.
You're quite positive, though?
Yes, I thought it had a really nice feel as you came in.
I'm not as tall as Sarah, so it doesn't quite have the...
I suppose, once you relax into the fact that you ain't
going to bang your head even in your high heels...
The doorways would be a challenge.
First impressions, it's really, really nice.
Come on, I'll show you the rest. Do mind your head.
So, a sitting room with a fireplace.
-That is really nice, isn't it?
-Isn't it just?
That's the original lintel, so they'd cook over that fire.
-Good grief. That is really nice.
-You mentioned the beams.
It is slightly higher here.
These are original beams that have been painted over. It's bright.
-It's not dark.
-It is a good idea to paint those,
because otherwise it would be too dark. That is nicely done.
-It is a very light room, yeah.
-'Well, that has lifted their spirits.
'But what about the dining room?'
-Again, it is not lacking in space, is it?
-No, it is a good-sized room.
It is a beautiful room.
It feels bigger than the other room next door.
'It's certainly spacious, but there's no covering up
'that the kitchen is a tad on the economical side.'
-It's, um...quite small, isn't it?
-It's the smallest room you've been in so far, isn't it?
-Your face has changed!
-Things have taken a downturn, I'm afraid.
-It's really nicely done.
It's really cute. But it's far too small for us.
Shall I show you the room that could be the room for the dogs?
-Yes, do. There is one positive in this room.
-You don't have to mind your head.
'Oh, dear, we've hit a snag.
'But if the dogs come first, I have a couple of options.
'Firstly, a wet room next to the kitchen.'
-What do you think?
-It's really nicely done.
-I love the wet room.
Great for the dogs.
To come in and be able to rinse them off and all the rest of it, that's great.
'It is, however, clearly too small for six dogs to hang out in here.
'So my other option is the sunny conservatory with a dog-friendly stone floor.
'I think this property is a great place,
'and house number one is always a toe in the water.'
-So, this is the main bathroom.
It's a good size.
-Again, size is great.
-Honestly, I would put a new suite in.
But there is nothing wrong with the size.
'Well, at least that hit the mark, but what about the master bedroom?'
-The floor slopes a bit.
-If does, doesn't it? A definite tilt.
-It naturally propels you to the bed.
-It is quite cute.
-It is, yeah.
-Presumably that's the only storage.
-Yes. Do you have lots of clothes?
Every woman does. No, no. So, it is a good-sized room,
but unless we use one of the other bedrooms for a dressing room or something...
I spoke to the owner, and basically, she has partitioned these rooms off herself, more or less,
so actually there is a possibility to have two bedrooms,
to have three bedrooms, to have two bedrooms, two bathrooms.
-You can do what you want with the upstairs.
-Now, that I like.
-That works for us.
So the fact that that is the only storage at the moment,
you know, is neither here nor there, really.
-No, that is a good naughty cupboard.
-What, if the dogs have been bad?
-No, more for me.
'I don't know how much time you spend in the naughty cupboard, Mike,
'but one of the other bedrooms might be more comfortable.
'There are two doubles or a single. Take your pick.
'Well, that's all the evidence that this is a lovely cottage
'in a great location.
'It is crammed with character features.
'It's just a shame the kitchen's too small.
'We did, however, have the half-acre garden with its idyllic
'view of Helman Tor well in mind when choosing this property,
'and there's one more bonus that drew us to this house also.'
This was a substantial vegetable plot.
You could be totally self-sufficient.
-It's a massive plot.
-It's a lovely garden. It's manageable as well.
And it ticks all the boxes. It's a great location.
OK, you've seen the house, seen the garden
with the potential vegetable plot, it's big enough for the dogs.
-We're all happy on that front.
What do you think it's worth?
It's really pretty, it's in a good location.
480,000, you reckon. OK. What about you?
-No, I think it's a little less.
I think it's a little less, I'm going to pitch in at 445.
-I think you're being quite optimistic there.
-Well, we'll see.
-Yeah, you're wrong.
-It's on the market for £450,000.
I honestly thought with the location and the like that that would
probably put a premium on it, just exactly where it is.
-It's encouraging, it's encouraging.
-It's £50,000 under budget.
That in itself gives me great hope.
-Go and have another look around, because it's raining cats and dogs out here.
-You see what I did there?
-Very good, very good.
-I'll come and find you.
At £450,000, this property sits in a wonderful rural location.
It has three reception rooms
offering plenty of space to spread out.
Downstairs wet room which we thought would be great for showering down the dogs.
And a large garden with a potential vegetable plot
to satisfy their self-sufficiency dreams.
I can't fault the location. There's no traffic down here at all.
Downstairs, a couple of great rooms, the dining room and sitting room.
The upstairs of the house was a lot more interesting.
There were partition walls so there's a good chance to put an extra bathroom in.
A blank canvas that we could play with.
Very nice view up to the top of the hill.
I don't think you can fault the gardens.
The views are spectacular,
the gardens are everything that we asked for.
The location's good, I do like the location.
Most of the house would work for us, but the most important rooms don't.
The kitchen is far too small for me. It's not a big enough sociable space
and the most important thing for us is the dogs
and that space is just nowhere near big enough.
-Yes, thank you.
-Right, hood on.
-Plenty more to see.
Mike and Sarah are looking for rural seclusion for their dream home
but their move to Cornwall will place them close to some beautiful tourist hotspots.
Padstow, sitting on the west side of the Camel Estuary,
ranks pretty highly on the tourist must-see list.
-I agree. As a day visit, a wonderful place.
So earlier in the week they made the most of the glorious sunshine
and met up with local tourism manager Tina Evans
to hear a little more about Padstow's history.
In the 1900s Padstow was a really thriving bustling port, with
trading vessels, fishing vessels, all sorts of things going on,
and it was reflected in the businesses around the quay -
grain stores, coal merchants, boat builders.
Of course the tourism industry now is massively important to Padstow.
From Easter certainly until the end of October most of the time
Padstow is busy, which is great for visitors because now,
the restaurants, shops, everything stays open all year round.
Many tourists are drawn to Padstow because it has the reputation
for being the foodie capital of Cornwall.
Celebrity chef Rick Stein opened his first restaurant here back in 1975
and it subsequently spawned a growth of quality competitors.
Local businesses cater well for the tourist pound.
The attractive streets are lined with pastel-washed shops
selling everything from souvenirs to the much-celebrated Cornish pasty.
Today, with a much diminished fishing industry,
the harbour is largely taken over by the sailing fraternity,
who use it as a base for exploring the dramatic coastline
of the rock outcrops and fine sandy bays.
The tourist crowds will be too much here for Mike and Sarah,
so our journey continues.
House number two is in Wendron,
nine miles from Helston
at the northern edge of the Lizard Peninsula.
It's a secluded location, well off the beaten track,
and is perfect dog-walking country for our couple's canine family.
Hundreds of years ago, nearby Helston was a thriving port,
but during medieval times, the mouth of the Cober River began to silt up,
creating the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall.
-It's amazing, isn't it?
One minute it's raining, next minute the sun's out for us.
-I know, the sun. Hurrah!
-Now, this is a site of an old tin mine.
-And this is where the miners used to live.
Built in the 1800s. It was extended by the previous owners,
and the current owners converted the garage.
-What do you think?
-I think it looks great. I really do.
-Shall we get in?
-I hope you like it!
'Yeah, wait till they COP a load of this.
'I think it might just top the BILL. See what I did there?'
-Come on in, you two.
Well, boss, what do you think?
Yes, I like this. It's nice.
-How did you know I was talking to you?
-Obviously you were!
-Of course I was.
-I've a good feeling about this place.
-Yeah, I like this.
-OK. Let's go see the kitchen.
-It's a good size, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
No, I like this - yeah, I do. I like the size of it.
I like the stone walls, again.
-The flooring's ideal for dogs.
-No problem at all.
-Onward to the sitting room, I think.
This is going very well, isn't it?
-Do mind your head.
-So this is the original part of the house.
-That's nice, isn't it?
-Pretty majestic, isn't it?
-Hmm, yeah - I like that.
-That's a focal point.
-And what about the exposed beams? Fan of?
They're not really for me, but they're OK.
-It gives this room some real character, doesn't it?
-Big enough for you?
I know it's not open-plan, but it has that feeling of it.
-It flows through.
-Kitchen through to here, through to the conservatory.
It flows really well.
-The natural progression is, let's go have a look at that conservatory.
-This was put in by the current owners.
It's fairly new.
It's a very nice room
-and it opens out onto...
-..what is probably perfection in terms of us.
In all honesty.
I could not ask for anything more.
-Couldn't ask for anything better.
-That is doggy nirvana.
-Shall we go upstairs?
-Please, lead on.
-I hope you like it.
'Doggy nirvana? Wow, it doesn't get better than that for the pooches!
'No doubt the upstairs is sure to set our buyers' tails wagging too
'as the spacious feeling continues.
'And I'm sure they'll agree this next room has
'one of the best appointed seats in the house.'
Again, a stunning view.
-It is, isn't it? Look at that.
-Isn't it just?!
You can be in the bath looking at the view.
-Yeah, it's lovely.
'There's plenty of space up here.
'The first room is a double and the owners have made best use of
'the landing space by creating a study area,
'next to which is the second double
'with an en suite and views of the ruins of Wheal and the tin mine.
'Last for us is the third double room.'
Actually, you see, I would prefer this as the master bedroom, I think.
I thought you'd say that.
I really would. I know it hasn't got the shower room,
-but this is just a nicer feel to it.
-It is, absolutely.
-It's more good space.
-If it's space you're after,
-my God, you're in for a surprise!
'I have been a little cunning in leading them to believe
'that that's it for the bedrooms. Oh, no!
'Back downstairs, the owners have skilfully converted the garage.'
-Oh, that's lovely.
-Now, that IS nice.
-That is EXACTLY what you could ever hope for.
-Now you've blown me away.
-That IS a bedroom.
-That is really, really nice.
-Will this do you then?
-Yeah, it would.
-Big enough for you?
It is, it's more than I ever expected to see here.
This room has quite a few wow factors. This is one of them.
Pop your head in there. You're going to like.
That's enough room for clothes! That's fantastic.
-It is fantastic, absolutely.
-This is one stunning set-up.
-Isn't it just?
Who'd have thought that a garage could be so well done?
-This is a serious en suite.
-It is, isn't it?
This part of the house is just...amazing.
-You have the outside space to see too.
-Let's have a look.
-Come on, let's go.
'This surprise master en suite is the cherry on top of the icing on this wonderful cake.
'I don't think the outdoor space is going to let it down.'
-Nice, isn't it?
-So you've got about two acres here.
It's... It's got the wow factor inside and outside.
-That's certainly enough, isn't it?
-Yeah, more than enough.
It's Cornish stone boundary. You've got a little fish pond down there,
an orchard. You have a vine where you can pick your own grapes,
some decking. The garden shed as well, double garage.
-Yeah, I love it.
-You like it, you love it?
What would make you love it?
See, that's the problem.
Because I really like it, now I know it'll be too expensive.
-Do you think?
What do you think it's on for?
This can not be anywhere near our budget,
I think it's probably nearer £600,000. Maybe 590?
I actually think less than that.
I think it's probably around the 550-560,
which is still too much, but I think it's around the 550-560.
£600,000...is what it was on the market for.
It's now on the market for £545,000.
-It's dropped quite a bit.
545 is a very reasonable price for what you're getting.
-It's a lot house for the money.
-Listen, you've got so much to take in.
-Go and do it.
-I'll catch up with you by the front door.
-Take your time.
This house is perfect for Mike and Sarah in so many ways.
But it is over-budget, at £545,000,
and will incur a higher rate of stamp duty.
Yet it delivers pretty much everything they asked for,
and that's why we thought it was worth taking them here.
As always, perhaps a reasonable offer will get a reasonable answer.
Its four bedrooms include a fabulous master en suite.
I'm blown away by this property. It's a big place.
It's got a big, solid feel to it.
The outside is fantastic for our animals.
The icing on the cake and the real wow factor
is when I walked in that garage -
I just didn't expect to see what I saw.
It kind of took my breath away, actually.
-This is unusual.
-I didn't realise you could grow grapes in Cornwall.
No. It's obviously mild enough.
It would be quite nice to sit out in the evenings - peel me a grape!
This has given me a lot to think about. It's got the wow factor.
I now need to try and reconcile with myself about the money.
I know Mike is very taken with it - one of us has got to be sensible.
Cor, blimey - could you two have taken any longer?!
-It's nice, I wanted to have a good look.
-There's a lot to see.
-You're still smiling.
-You can't not, can you?
You're saying all the right things. Plenty more to see, though.
Mike and Sarah are keen to grow their own fruit and vegetables,
and couldn't have picked a better county for it.
Benefiting from the Gulf Stream, the Cornish climate
is the closest we have to that of the Mediterranean,
enjoying over 1,500 hours of sunshine a year.
To find out what grows well in these parts,
they're visiting the Eden Project, near St Austell,
to meet up with horticulturalist Gill Cartwright,
who looks after the ornamental vegetable garden.
-How are you?
The Eden Project is widely known for its huge, iconic biomes,
which house plants from all over the world.
Gill is quite rightly proud of her achievements.
How long has this taken you to cultivate?
Well, I have been here, looking after this particular plot,
for the last eight years.
What you can see now is our midsummer display.
-Which has got everything in it.
-You've got tomatoes, you've got, what, chard...?
Lovely red cabbage over there, which is nearly ready to go
And also lots of flowers, for pollination.
-Can you grow all these in a normal house in Cornwall?
Yes, if you've got the space - and even if you haven't got the space,
because a lot of these things will grow in containers.
What I'd be interested to know is, for the two of us,
how big a plot would I need
-to pretty much go self-sufficient on veg?
-Just on veg.
You would need about a quarter of this plot, I would say.
-Gosh, right, quite small, then.
The soil here is man-made,
due to the fact that this site is an old clay pit.
But with well-maintained soil, you can expect to grow everything
Gill grows in your own garden.
With Cornish weather,
Gill can grow crops which are more common in southern climates.
One thing she is adamant about is no use of fertilisers.
Her produce is entirely organic.
To ensure tip-top conditions, she mixes home-made compost with the soil
to provide the most nutrient-rich environment.
Put your back into it now, please.
-Listen, we start gently.
-With energy, with energy!
-Have you got any seeds to plant?!
-We might have.
We might later, you know!
'While Mike and I get stuck in, Sarah is sowing salad leaf seeds,
'which, when harvested,
'will put a crunch into winter salads.'
-Had a good time?
-Had a great time, thanks.
-Gill, it's been fantastic.
-You're very welcome.
-Good luck with it all.
-Come back and see your seedlings.
-The produce of our work!
Thank you, we had a great time, thank you.
As the day draws to a close in Cornwall,
our couple get a chance to relax and compare notes.
-OK, cards on table time.
-What about the two converted cottages?
-I liked the sitting room
and that fireplace - magnificent.
And I liked the dining room.
The kitchen is an absolute no-no for me.
-It's just far too small.
-No, I'd go along with you.
-The space downstairs was just too small...
-..for our animals - although it was a nice location.
-Yeah, it was.
-A pretty place.
-So, what did you think of the tin workers' cottage?
-I think you know what I thought.
-It was lovely.
-I was blown away by that place.
-The space was fantastic.
The master bedroom was just absolutely stunning.
I haven't seen anything better for our...
No, I'd agree with you.
-But it is over-budget.
-..tribe of animals.
And we really need to sit down
and have a conversation and do some facts and figures.
-I know it's already been reduced...
-No, I know.
..but we really do need to sort out the money.
The properties are obviously out there,
and I'm looking forward to what they'll show us tomorrow.
-I'm quite excited by it, to be honest.
I really didn't think that we could get close to our dream
-for the budget that we had.
-But it's out there, I'm sure it is.
-Tomorrow should be really good.
Mike and Sarah, from Kent, are looking for total isolation
in Cornwall for their family of six dogs and eight cats.
They have a budget of up to £500,000
and so far we've shown them two houses. And coming up -
a tempting property that comes with a twist.
Good grief, what a fantastic space!
So, it's a new day, and money seems to have divided our couple.
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall
last night in Mike and Sarah's bedroom... Stay with me!
Mike says, "I loved that property with the two acres!
"Just perfect for you, me, the cats and dogs."
Sarah stamps her authority - "Mike, we can't afford it."
Will time and a heated discussion have diminished Mike's passions?
Or will Sarah realise that by spending a little bit over budget,
she gets the house of her dreams? It could be a small price to pay.
I can't wait to show them the mystery property.
I hope it will sufficiently delight.
There's a clue there. It's going to be exciting!
'We're starting our house-search this morning just near Gorran,
'12 miles from the popular town of St Austell.'
The house sits next to Caerhays Estate,
which is dominated by Caerhays Castle,
designed by John Nash at the beginning of the 19th century.
Together with Porthluney Cove, half a mile down the road,
it's easy to see why it's been designated as an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The beach would be perfect for walking the dogs,
and the village of Gorran with its amenities is within two miles.
'This next property is off the beaten track,
'but close to a country lane - will that be the deal breaker?'
A nice rural setting for you.
-It's very pretty.
-It's a pretty stunning location.
Not what I was expecting at all.
It's the first time you've both gone relatively quiet on me.
I can hear the cars.
That is a real big downer for me.
But this is a massively rural location.
-Your nearest neighbours are about half a mile away.
You really are off the beaten track.
It's the first modern build that we've shown you.
-30 years old, it is. It was originally a bungalow.
-Built by a local farmer.
-And it's been extended. Shall we get in?
'Well, keen-eared Sarah has picked up the slight traffic noise
'from that nearby country lane,
'but this house has so much to offer inside,
'so I'm hoping it will win her over.'
-Straight into the very bright dining room.
-Very light, isn't it?
You've got a lovely, galleried walkway up there.
A wood burner...
-I like the idea that the chimney goes straight through.
-So you get the warmth upstairs.
-Yeah, good idea.
You've got a music room there, but it could be a bedroom or...
You probably wouldn't want a bedroom off a dining room.
No. Nice for an office, with the view over the garden.
-Let's go through to the sitting room.
Oh, this is a nice space, it's a lot squarer,
lends itself to different permutations with the furniture.
-Again, you've got a lovely view.
Three sets of windows, so it lets a lot of light in.
'Mike has gone quiet, and although Sarah is trying to be positive,
'I'm finding it tricky to read her true thoughts.'
-This is quite a nice kitchen.
-Yeah, it is. It's...
-I like the colour of the units.
You wouldn't have to do anything to this room.
No, you wouldn't, no.
-This is just a move-in kitchen, isn't it?
There's also the bonus of a small utility room for hiding things away.
Finally downstairs, there's one of the four bedrooms,
which the owners are using as another music room.
-Excellent, somewhere to put my piano.
-You've got a piano?
Fantastic. Didn't know that.
-See? Full of surprises.
-You wouldn't change this into a bedroom, then?
No, I'd keep this for the piano, and double up as an office,
an office and music room would be really good.
-So, it didn't start very well, on the outside of the house.
-But the inside is working for you quite well.
The inside is really growing on me.
'It just goes to show you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
'So let's hope the story gets better upstairs.'
-So this is your galleried walkway.
-Look at this for a view.
-It is lovely, isn't it?
-That is a great view, yes.
-That is really, really nice.
Three bedrooms off here and a bathroom.
-I'll take you to the master bedroom first.
-This is the master bedroom.
-Triple aspect again.
-Very big size, yeah. Love the views. Fantastic.
That's the neighbours' farm. You've got an en suite, so...
-Ah, Michael's en suite.
-That works well.
-It does, doesn't it?
'Excellent stuff. That gets a tick from Mike.
'The other bedrooms are doubles, one overlooking the wonderful lake.
'And finally, next door is the family bathroom
'which is small but functional.'
-Plenty of space for you, really.
-There is, yeah.
-Yeah, more than enough space for us.
'So there's no problem fitting them and their 14 animals into this quirky house.
'This property, just 15 minutes' walk from the beach,
'could suit them well. And without small children,
'the main feature outdoors shouldn't be an issue.'
So, we're back to the lake.
-Isn't it just?
-Lovely to look at.
-You've got about just under an acre here.
I thought it was a good-sized plot.
-You could manage this, couldn't you?
-It's a nice garden. It's very pretty.
-It's quite high on the maintenance, I would've thought.
-Well, let's talk money, shall we?
That's a tricky one. It's a great location.
And I think the proximity of the beach will affect the valuation,
so I'm going to say I think this is pretty much on budget.
-I would say 500.
I understand what you're saying about the beach location and everything.
But, no, I'm going to go around the 465, 470.
-It's on the market for £475,000.
-Right, OK. Surprises me.
-It's under budget.
-It is, yeah.
-Does that change anything?
If you could just dig up the road and divert it,
then I'd think about it.
-You need to divert it in your mind!
-No, I can't.
-You can't, can you?
-It's a real block, isn't it?
-It is, yeah.
Go and have a look around. Go and look at the grounds.
-I'll catch up with you.
I know what you're thinking.
It's an amazingly idyllic spot
and in so many respects, it's perfect for Mike and Sarah.
It's just that road. I can't hear it.
'At £475,000, this house is £25,000 under budget.
'And it's spacious and light,
'has four bedrooms, including the en suite Mike always wanted,
'it sits in almost one acre with a beautiful lake,
'but will the nearby road prove to be a dead end for our buyers?'
House itself, very unusual.
There's a lot of glass in there and it really lets the light in beautifully.
I think the lake creates a few problems for us.
I've got seven dogs that adore water.
I'd probably have to fence the lake off.
But it is a nice space, I've got to say.
-It's a nice greenhouse, isn't it?
-Yeah, there's vines at the end here.
-Tomatoes are doing really well.
-I'd love a greenhouse like this.
As a house, yeah, we could make it work for us.
I like the spaces, I like the proportions of the room,
I like that they're all nice and bright.
But I was disappointed because I expected us to be
a lot further away from the road than we are.
Ah, there you are.
-Ready to go?
-That road you've been mentioning constantly, it's time to hit it.
'Mike and Sarah's move to Cornwall
'is driven by a passion for their dogs.
'With retirement looming, they'll have plenty of free time,
'and one way of keeping busy and to get to know like-minded people
'would be to volunteer at the local animal rescue centre.
'They're meeting up with manager Louise Barker,
'who also made a life-changing move to the country.'
Myself and my husband,
we moved here a couple of years ago to Cornwall from Leicestershire,
-and we've got no regrets whatsoever.
We find it absolutely fantastic.
'The centre provides a temporary home for dogs and cats
'that are strays or, for various reasons, can no longer stay with their owners.
'They rely heavily on volunteers,
'who keep the dogs exercised and entertained till they can be re-homed.
'Today it's a full house, with 24 dogs and 20 cats,
'all looking for new owners.
'Louise is keen to introduce two of them to their visitors.'
-This is Shady and Phoebe.
Shady is a six-year-old greyhound
who came to the centre with a lot of problems.
He was very frightened and timid,
so we've had to give him lots of confidence training.
What kind of training have you done with him?
Shady's actually noise-phobic,
so it's training where we would divert his attention
to the noises that he's frightened of.
I have a golden retriever, Sam, at home, and he's a beautiful dog,
but he's terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks.
Do you have any tips for me?
When you know something's going to happen,
you need to get something that he's going to really focus on,
whether it be food or toys.
-I imagine a retriever is quite food-oriented...
So get something like fresh chicken, that you can focus on,
and if you know it's Bonfire Night or going to be a thunderstorm,
get it ready so he can focus on that and it would take his mind off it quite a bit.
That's a good idea, thank you.
And who have we got down here?
This is Phoebe. She's a nine-year-old beagle.
She's had several homes before she came to the centre.
She's quite a misunderstood beagle, really.
-What kind of home would suit Phoebe?
-Hopefully we'll find her a home where there aren't many other pets
so she could be an only one where she could be totally spoiled. That would be really nice.
-She's safe from us, then.
-Oh! That means we can't take her home!
But she's a very sociable girl and she's still very active
so she loves to have a lark about and a play.
Thanks for showing us round the centre today...
-..and for introducing us to these guys. It's been an absolute pleasure.
For our mystery property, we've found an interesting option
which would give Mike and Sarah more land than they would ever have dreamed of.
But there is a catch. Course there is! It's the mystery property.
It requires a radical lifestyle rethink.
I think they may well embrace it.
Let's talk a little bit about Mike the vegetable-grower, shall we?
You know, how realistic is this green dream?
I'm confident that if we find a little bit of land,
I should be able to be sufficient, certainly in vegetables, anyway.
But I really want to extend it beyond just vegetable-growing.
I'd like to think that we could do something with a wind turbine
or possibly even solar power, and see just how sufficient we could be.
So policeman could well become farmer?
It's a dream and I'd like to do that, yes, yeah.
'Well, we might just be about to make that dream come true.
'I think we've come up trumps with our mystery house,
'which is about a mile outside St Cleer, and close to Bodmin Moor.
'The village prospered during the mining boom in the second half of the 19th century
'but today it's largely a commuter village for those working further afield.
'They'll be delighted that the property's tucked away in a valley
'with no immediate neighbours.
'This house comes with plenty of land,
'and though they want to grow their own fruit and vegetables,
'they haven't considered becoming farmers.
'And that's the mystery here,
'as they would have to become farmers in order to buy this place.
'Let's see what they make of that. We're starting our tour outside.'
-Now, then, welcome to the mystery property.
Isn't that fantastic!?
-That is different.
-Good grief! What a fantastic space!
They probably have as many hens as we have dogs and cats.
Isn't it lovely!?
-You think this is the mystery property, don't you?
-There's obviously something that goes with it.
-It's the mystery livestock.
-It's a fantastic space, though, isn't it?
-This is the heart of the mystery property...
-This is great!
-There's an agricultural tie attached to this property.
Do you know what that means?
Probably means you must have something to do with agriculture or be working in it.
-Agriculture or horticulture has to be your main employment.
-I've got some bedtime reading for you.
-It's a 12-page document.
-Who wants it?
-I'll take that.
-At the moment, the current owner has a horticulture business.
-You love it here, don't you?
I really like the location. Stood out there, all you can hear are the chickens.
-Let's look at the house.
'I'm sure that's one surprise they weren't expecting.
'An agricultural occupancy condition
'is a restriction to encourage rural housing
'and keep people working on the land.
'It'll mean a massive lifestyle change and they'll have to do their research.
'But I think it's already piqued their interest.
'So now it's all down to the house.'
-We're finally in!
-Isn't it lovely?
-Little seating area here.
Let's go through to the kitchen.
-Great size dining.
-Yes, it is.
This is a really lovely space, isn't it? Yeah, good space.
It's really well used.
The owners have dogs, so they've given it a trial run for you.
-I bet it does.
-Yeah, nice space, I like that.
I like the shape. It's very practical and it's nice to have that going straight outside as well.
-OK, shall we carry on with our tour?
Come on in.
-This is your sitting area.
-Isn't it gorgeous!? Look, the views out.
There's just windows on every side. It's just... It is, it's lovely.
-You're living in the countryside here, aren't you?
You're part of it. It's not just a house in the countryside.
-It surrounds you on all sides, doesn't it?
That's the downstairs space.
-That's it in totality?
-That's it in totality.
Does that change anything?
-No, not really.
-I don't see it that much of a compromise on the house at all. There's two of us.
I'd rather have less rooms but larger, usable rooms.
So that's it. Boxes ticked.
-Let's go upstairs.
'I really do sense a difference in Mike and Sarah since our last house.
'The position of this property is giving them serious food for thought.
'First stop upstairs is the master bedroom.'
-Lovely views out of here, isn't it?
-It's a simple room, isn't it? It's simple in design.
I don't care you can't get any wardrobes in. Don't care.
I told you about the location. As I said,
if I have to put the bed on bricks and put the storage underneath,
I'll do that, but the location's everything here.
And if you want to open the door behind you?
Poke your head round.
-Oh, that's a pretty room.
-Oh, nice, yeah.
-I like that.
An en suite bathroom. Never had one, always wanted one.
'Well, we do like to please, you know.
'Next to the master is a small room which could be used as a dressing room.
'Then there's another double room for guests,
'next to which is the family bathroom.
'Last on our tour is bedroom number four.'
Yes, got those wonderful views again.
-You get all dewy-eyed when you see that view.
-It's just fantastic.
-They're all a similar size, these rooms, all good sizes.
All good, decent sizes, nice and square, easy to put furniture in.
You could move in here tomorrow and it wouldn't be a problem.
-I'm glad that you like the indoor space.
Because you will be living in this space as well.
But I can also tell that you're itching to get out there.
-Sorry, I keep looking out the window!
-Hello, I'm over here!
I'll tell you what...
-Shall we go outside now?
-OK, come on.
'There's no doubt the house has passed the test,
'and the garden is too tempting for Sarah,
'who I can see is bubbling with excitement.
'Out here, there's not a neighbour in sight, and it couldn't be more peaceful.
'The mature grounds extend to almost eight acres and include stables,
'a garage block, and a lake that draws in wildlife.
'Even on a damp day like this, it really is picture-perfect.'
-So, welcome to what could be your garden.
-It's just fantastic.
-From the house, you've loved it.
I mean, look, if you look back, it's just gorgeous.
-The lake's lovely, isn't it?
Just beautiful. That is something else.
We've talked about this before, we've said about the water and how the dogs get wet and smelly
and we'd really hate that, and I don't care any more.
No, no, they can stink away!
There's enough land for them to go and run off.
You've come full circle. You know what I love?
-It's all about the dogs, it's all about the dogs.
But it fits both of us.
-The outside is really, really good.
Can you afford it? Shall we talk money?
I think you're going to break our hearts now.
-We're going to not like you any more.
-I don't see how this could be near our budget.
-You'll come right off my Christmas card list any moment.
I don't think you'd be that cruel to us.
And it's got an agricultural tie on it, which limits its market
and would certainly be something we have to consider carefully.
So I'm going to say 550, 560.
-It's been on the market for three months.
-The owners have definitely said they'll take an offer.
-So take from that what you will.
-On the market at the moment for 550.
-It's on the market at 550 and they'll take an offer?
-Wow. That does surprise me.
I'm staggered by that.
I think it's going to be the agricultural tie
that we're really going to have to look at.
In fact, I'm going to make a phone call tomorrow
and see who I can speak to in the council who can explain to me in layman's terms.
OK, I think you've got a hell of a lot to take in.
-Go and have another look around the house, whatever you fancy.
-Glad you're happy.
-Oh, we're happy.
Oh, they're happy! What a result.
All we need now is for Mike to embrace that farmer within him.
This could be a result.
It is over budget at £550,000,
but I think we would have been fools to have overlooked this property
as it offers them a complete change of lifestyle.
The house has a huge lounge with views to the garden,
four bedrooms, with an en suite for Mike,
and it sits in eight acres with their very own lake.
The big question is, are they prepared to commit
to an agricultural business to satisfy the tie in the contract?
The mystery house has completely taken me by surprise.
This blows everything out the water.
If it can be done, we'd certainly look to put an offer in on the place, I think.
They've obviously got the business going here,
-growing the hedging plants.
-That's the horticultural bit I can see.
We're going to have to look at this agricultural tie and see how on earth we can make it work.
I wonder if there's livestock possibilities,
because they seem to have an awful lot of hens of different varieties.
Yeah, we're really going to have to look into it.
I mean, look at these, they're so cute.
We both absolutely love it,
it's everything that we would ever, ever have hoped for.
I'd move in here tomorrow. This is my house.
-Yeah, very much so.
-Still in love with the property?
Don't need to ask if you're still in love with the grounds.
I'm not going to push you on it now, so have a good think, have a chat.
-I'll catch up with you back at base, how's that?
-OK, drinks on me.
-There's always a first.
We've scoured Cornwall for isolated retreats,
and Mike and Sarah have now seen everything on our shortlist.
The time has come for Mike and Sarah to make a decision.
Which, if any, of our properties will they go for?
I think it's fair to say that they love the area
and they've been very impressed by the variety of properties on offer here.
They're very definite about what they don't like,
and that's noisy roads.
It's when they don't agree, that's when it gets a bit confusing.
We've got two strong characters on our hands here.
We've got the heart, that's Mike, versus the head, that's Sarah.
It's time for them to tell me the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.
-Well, guys, what a journey we've been on.
-Yeah, some journey.
-Have you enjoyed it?
I've had a really, really good time. It's been great.
OK, let's talk about the first property.
It was the farm workers' cottages, two for the price of one.
It was really nice.
Sitting room was really lovely, the dining room was really lovely,
and the kitchen was just far too small,
and the dog space was too small.
-That really did seal it for you, didn't it?
-It did, yeah.
-Let's talk about the tin workers' cottage.
-Oh, that's beautiful.
-Huge smile on both of your faces.
-That was really, really beautiful.
Yeah, I was knocked back by that.
And it was just down a lane, so no passing traffic. That was really good for me.
-Yeah, the garden space was fantastic, it was two acres, wasn't it?
Your faces when you saw that garage conversion.
It was beautifully done, very tasteful, great bathroom as well.
-Could you imagine yourselves living there?
-Well, we actually did some sums around the maths
-to see if we could stretch that far.
-That was the issue, wasn't it?
I still think it's probably a little bit too much. I do.
But we'll certainly have another think about it.
The property was absolutely lovely.
Let's talk about the house close to the beach.
There were more cars going down that road
than the road I currently live in, which is an absolute shame,
because you'd have loved it for the proximity to the beach.
The proximity to the beach, for the animals, was fantastic,
but that being its strength is also its weakness,
because it attracts people and it attracts traffic,
and I couldn't walk down there with six dogs.
All the spaces in there were nice spaces, they were good-sized rooms.
-It had so many plus points, didn't it?
-So much light came in...
-Around the whole place, yeah.
That dining room and the gallery, absolutely fantastic.
But I sense that it ain't going to be the house for you?
-No, unfortunately not.
-We then took you to the mystery property.
-You both absolutely loved it, I think?
-Absolutely adored it.
Great location. The house itself, I love the downstairs.
I was staggered that it was even close to our budget.
The reason it's that price, you were right, is that there's a slight catch.
It requires you to experience a lifestyle change, doesn't it?
It does. The agricultural tie, we've had a look at the paperwork,
and it seems achievable, but I want to be very sure on that.
So there's a bit of research to be done on it,
but for the location, fantastic.
The house was lovely. Couldn't have asked for any more.
No, I think heart and head scream, "This is the place."
It's something that I love that much,
perhaps the heart might overtake the head.
I'm thrilled, I really, really am thrilled.
-All I can say is good luck.
It's been fantastic spending time with you.
We have had the best time, we really have. Really enjoyed it.
It's been long, hard work, but it's been so rewarding.
It's not every day you can say you've enjoyed being collared by the law,
but I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with Mike and Sarah.
They're positive, encouraging people
and their selflessness with regard to their cats and dogs is admirable.
But I must say, it's been tricky finding a house that'll keep them all happy.
Mike and Sarah have realised they'll have to spend more than the budget
if they're going to find their bit of paradise down here in Cornwall.
But, do you know what? I think we may have found them a new home
and a new lifestyle to go with it.
Until next time on Escape To The Country, goodbye.
After carrying out research,
Mike and Sarah are happy with the agricultural tie
and can't wait to put an offer on the mystery house
once they've secured a buyer for their own property.
So if you want to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales,
Northern Ireland or England and need our help, please apply online at:
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Aled Jones helps a couple with their family of 14 dogs and cats go in search of rural isolation. After decades of urban living, they are ready to embrace Cornwall with a generous budget of £500,000 in their pocket. For our two animal lovers, it's all about location - the more remote the better. Their dream is to become self-sufficient, so they are seeking a lot of land.