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Countless English historical dramas have been filmed in today's counties.
Film crews and set designers have clapped their hands in joy
when they've seen medieval manor houses like this one.
Find out which county I'm in very soon.
In today's show I'll be helping a couple head north to find a dream country home,
and there's soon a feeling of deja vu.
I wouldn't change a thing.
-Yes, it's beautiful.
-I really do feel like I've lived here before.
We'll be touring a selection of top rural retreats.
-Just buy it for me...
-It's very good.
-It's a very reasonable price.
And there's a mystery house, but will any of our choices have them packing their boxes?
Today, we're lucky enough to be in Derbyshire, and this is Haddon Hall,
a 12th-century masterpiece which has been the backdrop of many a day's filming.
Keira Knightley was here for a scene in Pride And Prejudice, there were two versions of Jane Eyre,
the Zeffirelli one and the BBC, and Cate Blanchett strutted her stuff as Elizabeth.
So, if it's good enough for Cate and Keira I think it's good enough for us. Now, where's the nearest lake?
I want to go for a swim in my riding breeches!
Derbyshire lies in the East Midlands hugged by a multitude of counties.
The north is dominated by the Peak District National Park.
It's 555 square miles take in some breathtaking landscape.
And of course the park is also home to Haddon Hall,
a fortified medieval manor house considered to be one of the finest examples to survive from its era.
Moving away from the impressive medieval homes,
the countryside is scattered with pretty sand and limestone cottages
originally built for farmers, quarrymen and local tradesmen.
Today they're immensely desirable, with buyers looking for a picture perfect dream home.
But enough Hollywood soft focus, let's get down to brass tacks.
How much does it cost to live inside this Derbyshire film set?
If you look at statistics, not as much as you might think.
The average house price for a detached property is £201,000,
which is 14% below the national average, but who'd believe statistics?
Because where people really want to live, inside the Peak District National Park, is very expensive.
Bakewell, right in the centre, is almost double the price of Buxton, which is outside,
and there are only 38,000 people living inside the park
which makes property very exclusive, but very beautiful. Take a look.
With £1,450,000 to burn, you could be the lucky owner
of this six-bedroom former farmhouse near Ashbourne.
It's believed to date back to 1740
and has been sympathetically renovated to accommodate the traditional features.
It comes with a range of outbuildings and sits in the national park.
Staying with farmhouses, this six-bedroom property in Pikehall is less pricey
at £50 short of £700,000.
It's a true mix of old and new with cosy features
and ultramodern renovations and it all sits in just over four acres.
Or for something a little bit different,
this three-bedroom barn conversion in Bradbourne is up for grabs at £295,000.
The Grade II listed property has been skilfully renovated
to provide luxury modern accommodation
and it's just waiting for an owner to put their stamp on it.
See what I mean? Budgets high and low can get beautiful bricks and mortar here in Derbyshire
and fantastic views, but is it going to please our buyers today? Let's meet them.
And they are teacher Ashley and trainee priest Lesley who live in Buntingford, Hertfordshire.
This is a five-bedroom detached house and when we first came here in 1983 we paid £45,000 for it.
-It was a bargain.
-It really was.
And now we're hoping to get at least 440,000.
With the children grown up, the house is too large
and the time is now right for that long-dreamt-of move to the country.
The pace and tranquillity of the country is something we both love.
We really love the energy that hills and water give.
I think as you get older that peace that you find when you're out walking
gives you much more energy than taking any pills and potions can do.
We've been looking to move for five years
but you were quite ill a little while ago, about three years ago...
-With cancer and it put the whole journey off a bit.
That focused us as well, in terms of... I'm fine now, it was three years ago and I've been clear,
but at that time we were thinking, let's go and live life, let's go out and do something different,
so that was one of the reasons for us looking elsewhere.
Yeah. It really focuses your mind, actually.
-It makes you realise that you just want to be together.
Lesley and Ashley's home has been ideal for bringing up the family,
but now they want to downsize and have drawn up a list of desires.
The kitchen from me is the hub of the home, so with the new property I'd love a big kitchen,
somewhere to put a table, people can sit there while I'm cooking, I can chat to them.
I love to feed people. It's my ambition to be Ma Larkin.
I like gadgets. I'm very into computing side
and in the new property we're hoping we can have a study.
OK, we've got two dogs and six hens and wherever we go it's got to be
a secure garden so that with these six hens they're not going to go and annoy the neighbours.
And it doesn't end there. A range cooker and an acre of land for growing vegetables
are also on the list, along with the ability to make the house as energy efficient as possible.
So, what would be the perfect property?
Rural, three bedroom, definitely detached.
Don't really worry about the area as long as we've got some land.
The property market is going through turbulent times,
but Lesley and Ashley are hoping for a reasonable valuation from a local estate agent.
This is an ideal family home.
It offers well proportioned accommodation throughout
in a popular residential location and for that reason I'd value the property at 420,000.
We were hoping for £440,000 and...
But he's sort of saying 420,
so it is around the same sort of ballpark figure.
With that news, how much are they looking to spend?
For the perfect property, something that ticks all of our boxes,
wants and needs, we're willing to pay a maximum of £340,000.
It seems that Ashley and Lesley really do want to downsize.
They want a small two or three bedroom cottage in the countryside
and what's really exciting is they want to go as green as possible
with a low carbon footprint and they want some land to become self-sufficient.
The bad thing is that land is very expensive in Derbyshire.
Lesley and Ashley are flexible regarding location
so we are focusing our search to the south and east of Buxton.
Ashley craves rural isolation while Lesley would like to be in a village
so compromises may have to be made.
Over two days, I'll be showing them some beautiful properties,
but I'll be keeping them in the dark regarding the prices until after the viewings.
The last of the three is the mystery house which always has the potential to shake things up.
-Welcome to your new home, Derbyshire.
-Thank you very much.
Not yet because we haven't found you a house, but we'll try and get you one.
-Which would be great.
-That would be lovely.
Clearly there are no houses in this bit of Derbyshire, but there is lovely spring wind.
-There is. It's very energising.
-Yeah, it's gorgeous.
-That's why you wanted to come here, to get a bit of energy.
-Energy and a green lifestyle.
You want energy efficient, don't you? You want low carbon, high vegetable output.
-Absolutely. If we can get it, that would be wonderful.
Now, you did mention an acre of land, which is a nice idea, but you also mentioned £340,000.
-We can dream.
-You can dream. Any leeway on the budget?
Yeah, we'd like to look at extending I think, really to about 375, somewhere in the region of.
What about half a million?
-Wouldn't that be lovely?
-We'd love that.
Because land is really a premium.
Although there's lots of it, it's all protected because it's in the national park.
-Everybody wants land.
So, that's a bit of a headache.
-But you're very understanding, I can see these beaming smiles.
-We'll go for it.
-You're energised. The wind is going to lift us!
-We're going to find a house for you, so let's go.
So, Lesley and Ashley have upped their budget to £375,000,
and for that they'd like a kitchen/diner, a study, three bedrooms
and one acre of land
for keeping chickens and growing vegetables.
Do you know this part of the country quite well?
I certainly know the Matlock area quite well.
Working for the Youth Service, we used to bring young people up here for Duke of Edinburgh award schemes,
so Matlock we used to stay in quite regularly, at a residential unit at Matlock Baths, didn't we?
-So you know it fairly well, as well.
-Yes, and it's lovely.
-It's looking very lovely today.
-It's gorgeous, isn't it?
I think this area looks lovely no matter what the season is.
The first house on our viewing list is in Wensley,
tucked just inside the Peak District National Park.
The vast majority of the housing stock is built from the locally quarried limestone and gritstone
which provide the village with uniformity.
In the mid-1700s, lead mining was a boom industry here and many of the properties,
including the one we are viewing, would have been miners' cottages.
-Take a look at this.
It's such a lovely frontage.
-But also take a look at this.
-Look at all of that!
-The view over that way.
Absolutely, well, it's glorious.
-What do you think?
-It's a beautiful location, it really is.
-I really like it.
-I really do.
It looks like the pictures I've always drawn since I was a child.
-It's making us both smile.
-That's a good point.
-Smiling is always good.
-Just wait until you get inside.
-Let's go and have a look.
Well, I couldn't ask for more than that.
First up is the hall. Come on in.
And it's almost a reception room in itself.
-It smells just like our house.
-Well, that's a good sign.
-Yes, it is.
-Well, I hope it's a good sign!
-No, it is, it is. It's lovely.
-It feels like home already.
It's a cottage. It's an old cottage from the 1800s, so it's not massive.
-No, but we don't need massive.
-Yeah. I wouldn't change a thing about this room.
I just felt very joyful as I walked through and I can't believe that,
you know, the first property we've looked at has made me feel like this.
The books look gorgeous.
I can see Lesley using this as a study area, definitely.
There's another sitting room through here.
Let's go through. That's a wood burner.
Here you've got a real fire.
Oh, I've lived here before.
Oh! Are you having flashbacks?
-I'm having flashbacks.
-A former life.
This is so... This is so me. Us.
-It's such a cosy room, isn't it? It's beautiful.
-This is lovely.
-It's a lovely, again, local stone. That's a modern fireplace.
-I love that.
Well, this is the place to be cosy.
-This is the place to be cosy, but this, this is the room to be warm in.
-Look at those views! Absolutely amazing.
-This is lovely.
-Isn't it great?
Yeah, you could imagine... You'd feel really healthy in here.
You'd come in here, have your breakfast.
-Breakfast would be gorgeous in this room.
-Watch the sunrise, if you're up in time.
I'm speechless, because the first property we've seen has so far ticked every dream box that I had.
Let's look at the kitchen, that could be a deal breaker.
-Yeah, very important.
-Let's walk through.
I hope it's not, but it might be.
So, we're going to go through here.
-OK, it's a split level kitchen/dining room.
-Oh, I like the split level.
-Oh, this will not be a deal breaker.
-Ah, thank goodness.
-This is lovely.
I was thinking it may be a bit small, that was my concern.
But you have this... This area here and I could be cooking up there.
-Yeah, it's quite good.
-You could do some display cooking.
-Throw things around.
-Now, this is all actually in addition, so the cottage itself ends there.
This was put on at the same time as the conservatory, so in the 1990s.
When they put the extension in they were going with the lay of the land.
They went up, put it split level and they put down all this nice Yorkshire flagstone.
I love the flooring. It's gorgeous.
This is what we were looking at for our place.
-It was, it's strange.
-But it's not a vast kitchen.
Well, no. I can imagine myself pottering around because of the...
the other level, there's an illusion of much more space
and I can imagine myself pottering and washing up at the kitchen.
I'd probably put in a butler sink, that's the only thing I'd change.
-And you've got lovely views over Matlock Moor.
Well, I'm relieved the kitchen scored so highly.
From here there's also access to a small utility room and there's also
a door through to an extra pocket of space that leads to a cloakroom.
Let's hope the upstairs with its three bedrooms get the thumbs up.
First off, the master.
This is so cosy.
I wouldn't change a thing.
-Yeah, it's beautiful.
-I really do feel like I've lived here before.
-Maybe you have.
-It's... It's unusual in a worker's cottage to have such high ceilings upstairs.
Very typically, they're much lower.
-I think they may have taken out a bit of head space to give that effect.
-Definitely worth it.
I think we can safely say this room is a big hit.
Next door is another double that's being used as a study.
Oh, my goodness! This is a good size, as well.
-It's another nice room, isn't it? And loft space.
-A bit of loft space, too.
-But you could get a double bed in here if you wanted or...
Or a couple of twins. Oh, it's...
-It's a delight.
-I'm pleased, I thought it would be too small for you, to be honest.
-I quite like it as a study, too.
Yeah. I still feel in this house that there's room to move, room to express oneself.
-And to get away from each other... I mean that in the nicest possible way.
When you've been married 30 years, you sometimes need separate rooms.
And a big part of your move to the countryside
-was the outside space, do you fancy looking at that?
-Down we go.
We seem to be doing quite well here.
Next door is the final double room which will be great when the family visits.
And next to that is the main bathroom.
The last leg of our tour takes us to the garden.
It's not quite the size they were hoping for, but this place is all about the views.
-Words don't even do it justice.
We've even got the pond for the newts and the frogs to keep the slugs away.
I'm not sure whether it would really work for a veggie patch.
Well, I could probably do something quite easily for the veggie patch.
-We don't need a lot of lawn, but the thing that I'm considering is room for the hens...
-And the two dogs.
-One of the ways round it is that Matlock...
-..which is nearby, has a very good scheme of allotments.
-Oh, right, right.
-They've 40 plus allotments.
-It's £21 a year...
-That's amazing, isn't it?
-To rent them.
And although they're not vast, you might be able to do your veggie growing there.
-The one salient point I haven't told you is how much it's going to cost.
Do you have an idea what it might be?
-Bearing in mind it's in the national park.
-It's in the national park.
I think it must be at least 390, 400, possibly.
-I was going for around 380, I think. Around 380.
-Or even more.
Well, you'll be pleased to know that actually it's on the market for £325,000.
Oh, my goodness!
-That is very good.
-Oh, you've got to just buy it for me...
-That's a very reasonable price.
-It's put you into a quandary.
-I'm actually quite... Yeah.
-Quite shocked, aren't you?
That's just... That is amazing!
It's a great price for what it is and where it is, most particularly.
-Being in the park, yeah.
-But that's the question of the land.
-Why don't you look around inside,
then we can have another look around outside and explore down there.
-That would be nice.
-Then we'd better get moving.
-OK. Are you all right?
-You're shocked by the price, aren't you?
-I'm totally shocked!
-A hot flush!
-Let's go and have a look inside.
Fantastic! It's an amazing bargain, largely because of that.
The surroundings are amazing.
And, you know, if they could think about the land, because,
to be honest, to get that much land for their budget is going to be a struggle,
so it might be a compromise that they'll have to make. We'll see.
This cosy cottage was a superb surprise at £325,000.
It has the kitchen/diner they're looking for,
three bedrooms, conservatory that they loved
and it looks out over those panoramic views.
And there's plenty of money left
to consider improving the energy efficiency of the property.
This bit's absolutely amazing, isn't it?
-It's definitely going to be your favourite room, I can see you staying in here.
-It will be.
I absolutely love the house. I've fallen in love with it. It's ticked every box inside.
Unfortunately, outside I think I'm going to have to rethink, it's a big challenge.
Ashley loved the house. Moving around the house has been a real breath of fresh air
and it is very homely and comfortable.
-What a beautiful room.
-It is so lovely. The natural light in here.
-I love the skylight.
I think I'd have this as our room.
We have one fairly old, but one fairly active dog. The road's quite busy.
I mean, it's beautiful, really picturesque,
but you do get quite large vehicles going through, so that would be my only concern.
My dream, I can't believe you've found it!
-Come on, guys, we've got more of the peaks to explore.
The beautiful spa town of Buxton sits just west of our search area,
so Lesley and Ashley are taking the opportunity to explore.
Romans were attracted here in 80 AD by the warm springs
which rise at a constant temperature of 28 degrees Celsius.
St Anne's Well still offers free water today.
-So, what does it taste like?
-It's fairly warm.
Mary Queen of Scots drew attention to the area by taking the water during the 16th century.
Later, in 1789, the Fifth Duke of Devonshire built the Crescent
for the benefit of wealthy visitors the springs were drawing in.
You can imagine the carriages just sweeping round here
with all the grand ladies in as they came to take the waters.
But long before that time, water played a notable role in the area, creating rock formations.
Just a 20 minute walk away is Poole's Cavern, a cave system
created over two million years ago by rainwater dripping through cracks in the carboniferous limestone.
Wow, that's unbelievable!
-Some of the structures are just incredible.
-See that bit...
-That bit at the top.
-It's just splashing away up there.
I think this bit's called the Frozen Waterfall. You can see why.
Neolithic tribes used the caves for shelter
and today they're regarded as one of the finest show caves in Britain.
Back above ground, the best place to take full advantage of the spectacular scenery
is from Solomon's Temple, a folly built in 1895 to provide jobs for the unemployed.
The structure sits in a former limestone quarry
that has been transformed into a beautiful nature reserve.
The tower's high position makes a superb vantage point.
On a good day you can see up to 15 miles.
What a climb, but it was definitely worth it. Isn't it beautiful?
-It is absolutely amazing. It makes your heart sing.
Our next house lies in a rural position,
two miles to the west of Belper.
The town has a long history with the cotton industry, and today, the east mill still remains.
The River Derwent played an integral role in the development of the industry,
providing the power for all the mills.
The house we are viewing sits on the Devonshire Estate
and is thought to be an old dairy worker's cottage.
It enjoys splendid views, but they do come at a cost. But I am undeterred.
I have a confession to make. We were "um-ing" and "ah-ing"
about whether we should show you this property at all
because of one major compromise that you'll have to make...
-..which is the rather large A road.
There is quite a lot going for it.
-It's very pretty.
-I think you've done really well.
And the garage is a real bonus for us.
The land is a bit more contained.
There is a fence so you are dog safe.
-Yeah, and the views are incredible once again.
-Another chocolate-box one.
-It really is.
-And it's bigger inside. Shall we have a look?
You've got a working water pump there.
-Brilliant. So there's a well?
-There is a well.
Just be warned, there is a bit of work that needs doing inside.
-We don't mind.
The is an interesting little room.
It's got beams. I know you are not mad keen on beams.
-It is in keeping.
-It is in keeping with the building. It is nice.
Let's take you to the kitchen as I think this is the area where you could probably do most imagining.
It is quite a big area.
I can imagine having our big table, lots of people in visiting.
It's a bit more as I imagined you'd want a kitchen-diner country sort of...
It's got a nice big space.
-It's got lots of potential...
-Modernise a bit, yeah.
Are you big improvers?
I enjoy DIY. I'd like to rip out the kitchen and start again to be fair.
-I like watching.
-Watch the improvements.
You can go on holiday while I'm doing it.
And the natural light. Again for an old stone cottage, I was not expecting so much light coming in.
There are beams but you could easily paint those if you don't like them.
-They are growing on me.
It is a fantastic view from the kitchen sink.
You have a little boot room downstairs. Cloakroom out the back.
-Let's take a look at the two reception rooms.
-Another good-sized room.
-They are good-sized rooms.
-And the fire, it's lovely.
-Yeah, it is.
Gas-effect fire. And this is much more higgledy-piggledy stylistically
than the previous house.
Which was more sort of straight lines.
We have beams. You've got a bit of '70s stuff.
So, again, you probably want to strip it back to bare bones.
Bit of a mixture, isn't it? But it is nice. And a lot of potential.
Next door is a proper dining room. Lovely views.
Also not a bad size, really.
Not a bad size at all.
I actually really like the way the beams are in the rooms.
-There's ten of them.
-Yes, it does.
-Shall we look upstairs?
-Let's do that.
I am glad Lesley and Ashley are seeing the potential with this cottage.
And they won't be short of bedrooms as this place has four.
The largest is set up as a guest room with twin beds and built-in wardrobes.
And just across the landing is a small double with dual-aspect windows.
The family bathroom is small, functional and tidy.
But I want to show them a room for them.
Actually, it is bigger than I thought it was going to be.
Again, I think dairy workers must have been quite high up in the ranks
as this is more spacious than the lead miner's cottage.
Little cupboard in the corner.
Great hiding places for grandchildren.
Some good games of sardines to be played here. I want to show you one
right at the back of the house which is interesting.
Go straight ahead.
What a lovely little room.
The little attic room going through, Jake and Layla and Emily would love that.
-You could make it into a playroom, couldn't you?
-It is good, isn't it?
-This is a perfect grandchildren's house.
-It certainly is.
There are beams in here as well. As a project, it's good.
Is it something you feel you would like to take on?
Or are you more keen on moving straight in some where?
I've always wanted somewhere I could do some work on.
-So this appeals to me, definitely.
That's very heartening.
Unfortunately, we have to go back outside...
-..with that probably insurmountable problem, but let's have a look at the grounds.
I'm delighted this house is proving to be a bit of a success.
I have to reveal that the outdoor space isn't as much as they'd like.
And I can't move that road.
Let's see what they make of it.
-It's a well sealed dog-proof garden. They've got two dogs themselves.
-But it's not massive.
As you said, our budget doesn't really stretch to that.
I did talk to the Devonshire Estate actually. There is a chance...
The farmer who rents is from the Devonshire Estate would be happy to rent you more land.
-But it would be land alongside the road.
-Still be interesting though.
-Fenced in hens. And veggies don't go anywhere.
Tell me honestly, is the road really a doubt for you?
When I first came I was not too sure about the road.
-Now I have seen the house and walked round, I could live with it to be fair.
-I could live with it.
If we could rent some of the land, I think the views actually counteract the road noise.
-It is a bit of a doer-upper.
You'll need some money in your budget so how much do you think it's worth?
I don't think we'll have anything left over.
You don't? So you'd go for what?
I would say top end about 370-375.
I am thinking more around 350, I think.
You are on the money. £350,000.
-Another lovely surprise.
-You'd have to budget in quite a lot of money to bring it up to scratch.
That's nice to hear.
-But it gives us 25,000.
-Yeah, it does.
And I can see you ticking over, "What can I do here?"
-What can I do?
-I'll let you walk around and think some more about it.
-I'll meet you out the front.
-Lovely. Thank you.
You see. You never can tell on this show.
What you think will be an insurmountable problem vanishes like mist in the morning sunlight.
So, Ashley's estimate for this cottage was spot on at £350,000.
It has the kitchen-diner they hanker for.
Two receptions rooms.
Four bedrooms, one of which could be used as a study.
And those splendid views.
With £25,000 left in the pot,
Lesley and Ashley could look into energy-saving alterations.
When I first saw the outside of the house, I thought, "Oh, lovely, another chocolate box house."
And first coming in I thought, "Yep, I can go with that. Ashley is excited about doing projects."
-This is lovely and big.
-It's a big room.
-I can imagine having people to come and stay.
-I like the bay window.
I actually love the house. I like the idea there is some project work needs to be doing.
And certainly bringing it up to a more modern standard.
-It's a lovely little room, this.
It reminds me of where I go on retreat in the convents.
It's like a little monk's cell.
Yeah, it is. It is almost like a retreat room.
Although Ashley is very excited about the project, I'm not as enthralled with it.
I am still a little bit concerned about the road and I have to say after walking round,
I am beginning to learn live with it and I could live with it quite easily.
-Ah, still sunny.
-Still ready to keep going?
-Let's do it.
It's little wonder that this county, with its spectacular scenery,
has had no trouble attracting film crews for period dramas.
Red House Stables Working Carriage Museum
has one of the finest collections of horse-drawn vehicles in Britain
and played a crucial role in the making of numerous films.
We're meeting Caroline Dale Leech to find out more about this elegant method of travel.
Caroline, that is a beautiful thing to behold.
-Did you do Pride And Prejudice?
-Jane Eyre. I've ticked them off.
-The Duchess as well?!
All of the DH Lawrence ones, Women In Love, that's going back to the '70s of course.
-Can we go out in a single turnout?
-Where are we going?
-We'll take up the reins.
-Beautiful, beautiful horses.
This unique collection of over 30 carriages was started by Caroline's father.
We're going on the single turnout carriage which is reserved for beginners.
Making sure the carriage is fitted correctly is key.
It is quite a complicated contraption so the whole horse is comfortable and...
Yes. That is to come first.
The breast collar is what the horse leans in to pull.
The tracer is what is actually pulling the vehicle.
The britching here fits around the back which is holding the vehicle back
which is really effectively your brakes.
The reins here steer it, this is your steering wheel.
-Just to try to put it in terms for you.
Once Caroline has ensured that the carriage has been fitted for maximum comfort for our horse, Bobby,
it is time for me to take the reins.
It might look easy, but it isn't.
It takes at least 20 hours of lessons to get a licence
and only then are you legally allowed to drive on a road.
How much would Bobby and this trap cost?
You always get what you pay for, don't you?
Bobby, you pay for his reliability.
And so he would be about £2,000.
And the vehicle is about £1,800-£2,000 new.
But you can pick them up if you look in auctions for £800.
A good deal would be about £3,000?
-Yes, a starter pack.
-When you think how much a car costs, that's great.
After a quick outing, it's time to change drivers.
-You have ridden, you've said?
-A nice rounded hand which is different to riding.
And this hand here is coming in front.
The little finger in the bottom and that finger into there.
-OK, so laced?
And then finding the balance there.
-Just give him with the hands to allow him to walk on.
Walk on, Bobby.
It may not be easy, but Bobby is patient, and it is without doubt a genteel way to travel.
It's been a productive day's search in Derbyshire.
And now Lesley and Ashley can refuel and take stock of events.
-What did you think to the house with the conservatory?
-I absolutely fell in love with it.
-It smelled like us.
-It looked like us.
-It was perfect...
..in every way apart from the fact you couldn't secure the garden.
Was the house big enough for you?
The house was big enough. And actually the land was enough.
-It was just the way it sloped off.
What did you think about the house outside Belper?
First glance, really loved it.
It looked great, had a garage.
The more I looked at it, there was quite a lot of work to do there.
I didn't mind updating the kitchen, that was fine.
The road noise for me was again a no.
Main road. Very much a main road.
-We've looked at two very different houses today.
-We've had fun doing it too.
I wonder what tomorrow is going to bring?
We'll wait and see. Looking forward to it.
Lesley and Ashley from Buntingford in Hertfordshire want to downsize
from their family home and make a new start in Derbyshire.
They have a budget of £375,000 and ideally want an acre of land,
which is proving tricky on their budget.
So far they've viewed two houses, and coming up Lesley has great expectations.
Oh, my goodness! Can we have it all?
I was just about to say, you're not getting it all, unfortunately.
-And there's a mystery house.
-I feel like I'm in a little Hansel and Gretel place.
But will there be a fairytale ending?
Day two has dawned on our property search. We're still looking in the Matlock area,
but the weather has turned grey, but that's all right
because I think it's quite important to tease out some not negative, but constructive criticism
of the properties we're showing Lesley and Ashley,
because they've been so nice and I think when you're spending
that much money, you have to be able to say what you don't like,
and the properties today are probably going to elicit at least different opinions.
We're kicking off our property search this morning in Sturston,
a quiet hamlet just to the east of Ashbourne.
This small market town is famed for its annual Royal Shrovetide football match,
which has been played for centuries.
The two local teams use the town as its pitch and the goals are a massive three miles apart.
The property we've lined up is away from the action
and it's part of a development of old barns next to a working farm.
It's semi-detached but, nevertheless,
I'm hoping we'll get this one in the back of the net.
Oh, my goodness! Can we have it all?
-Well, I was just about to say, you're not getting it all, unfortunately.
-We're looking at that portion.
-It's a lovely property. I like it from the outside.
-I like the look of it.
-And how do you feel about living on a farm?
-I was brought up partly on a farm.
So, I feel quite at home with the noise and the smells. It just makes me feel very peaceful.
Ah, that's good. What about you, Ashley?
Home for me was a fairly rural community, so I love the smells.
That could probably put some people off, but I adore the farm smells.
-It's been great going in.
-Let's look inside the property.
-Yeah, let's go.
Great, we're on to a winner straightaway.
We're entering into the generous hall, which the current owners are using as a study.
-Yes, again beams.
-They're not huge and they're not overpowering.
This is the smallest room, what they're using as the study,
-it could be a dining room.
-But they've used it as a study,
-which might be nice for you.
-Yes, it's a lovely study area.
-Nice light coming in both ways.
In many ways, people come into the kitchen
-because that is the heart of the home.
-Shall we waltz through?
-Oh, wow! Oh, this is...
-Wow, that's beautiful.
-This is delightful. I would not...
-Oh! I've just spied the Aga.
-Ah, the range.
-I would not change a thing.
-I really would not change a thing.
I don't think I would, it's beautifully laid out.
I always said that in a new house I'd need the kitchen to be the hub of the home
and I couldn't express what I wanted, but I'd feel it.
-Yeah. And you can feel it.
-This is the feel. It's lovely.
Let's take a look at the range. It's an object of desire for you.
-Beautiful, isn't it?
I was interested you wanted a range. They're very un-environmental.
They are very un-green.
-They're red, in fact.
-They're very red!
But I think with me it's kind of the human want
rather than the green in my head, but as this one is oil-fired,
really, that's something we would need to look at, because oil isn't going to be around to be using.
It's probably something...
A dream that I might have to let go.
The range looks the part, but it sounds like Lesley may have to reconsider her eco ideas.
This is the last room downstairs.
-Oh, this is a nice room. Cosy.
-But it has a...
-A wood burning stove.
-The wood burner.
Dual fuel, so you can put coal on there as well.
-Beams again but, you know, I'm beginning to like beams!
-It's not that low either, is it?
These are obviously not original,
this would have been open in the barn.
Very snug and cosy. I think, as the daylight went with the day,
you could, you know, you could just end up in here quite comfortably.
-You could imagine yourself here on a winter's night, couldn't you?
Let's look upstairs, you've got three bedrooms.
This house seems to be giving Lesley and Ashley all the right vibes.
I only hope it continues upstairs.
The family bathroom is a good size and houses the airing cupboard.
Next door, the owners are making the best of the smallest bedroom
with bunk beds, and there's a beautiful feature beam.
Bedroom two is bigger and has the bonus of built-in wardrobes.
And then there's the master suite.
-Oh, my goodness!
-Oh, I like that. I like the shape of the roof.
Well, it's...it's... I wouldn't say huge, but it's big.
-It is big, isn't it?
-It's quite surprising, because you really do think it's going to be small upstairs.
Yeah. And the light, I thought it would be quite dark, but there's a lot of light coming in.
I like the light over the bed, you could look up at night, it would be gorgeous.
You have an en-suite here.
-That's good to know.
-Oh, that's a lovely surprise.
-Look at that. A walk-in shower.
-Which would be great.
-A walk-in shower would be lovely.
-When we're in our dotage...
-You wouldn't be able to get up the stairs, unfortunately.
-This is true.
-I can just stay in bed.
-Who would want to?
-Let's go and look at that precious outside space.
Yeah, that's important.
So, the bedroom with its en-suite is a winner, too, and outside
I have a bit of a surprise up my sleeve in the garden department.
Ah, Derbyshire rain, very good!
This is your land.
Land sounds a bit grand, doesn't it? But this is your garden.
-Well, at least it's closed in.
-It is closed in.
-This little area here gets lovely afternoon sunshine.
And you've got some great trees planted here - the apples trees,
a plum tree. Lots of berries.
And there's more than enough room for growing veggies, actually.
-Well, actually, this is not all your land.
-It's parcelled out.
You've got lots of bits and, Ashley, you'll be very glad to know
-you've got a big garage.
-I saw that on the way in.
-That's a wonderful garage. Yeah.
-So lots of space for...
-Big smiles there.
-Let's take a look at your other land.
Beyond the garden block lies the additional green turf.
-This is your land.
Oh, a little parcel of England.
It is a little - little being the operative word -
-but it is definitely a parcel of farmland.
Which would be great for vegetables.
-Perfect vegetable... Maybe a chicken run, as well.
I can imagine building the chicken run down there.
And the good news is the farmer is very open to offers.
-He offered originally the land all the way down to the dry-stone wall, the fence.
-So, it would include that lovely oak.
What are you thinking it's going to cost to buy this?
Unlike the other houses where I was very surprised at how low it was,
I think this could go 420.
I think I'm going to go to the upper end of our budget and say between 375 and 380. It's a nice property.
-Yeah, it is lovely.
-You're very pessimistic, because it's actually on at 390, just a shade under 390.
It's been on for a few months and they haven't dropped the price yet, so there is the possibility...
-That you could get it for the top end of your budget.
-There's nothing that needs doing, so we wouldn't have to spend much more money.
-No, we wouldn't.
-So, it's a thumbs up?
-I think that's a thumbs up.
You have to negotiate the fact you're not isolated.
That's the only thing. I'd like to find out how loud we can have the music.
Let's try it. When I come back I'll find you listening to La Traviata at top volume.
-All right, we're going in.
This barn conversion sitting next to a working farm
has been a hit at £389,950.
It has the perfect characterful kitchen for Lesley,
two reception rooms, three bedrooms, including a master en-suite
and a range of gardens
offering enough space to grow vegetables, and wonderful views.
It is over budget, but in this market it's worth putting in an offer they can afford.
This is wonderful.
-It's a fantastic kitchen. I love it.
-It really is. And there's a range...
-Which is fantastic.
I've been really impressed.
I like the way the conversion has blended the old with the new.
It ticks every box that I wanted ticked.
The study, kitchen, snug, the bedrooms are lovely.
-Drum kit! This must mean we can turn the music up loud.
-We can go round the corner too. A big bonus
-is there's an extra piece of land we could actually grow vegetables on.
-This house is a contender,
and, listen... There's no cars going past. Really good.
-Hi. You all done?
-Yes, we are.
-Closed behind you?
Very good. Let's head on.
Lesley and Ashley love restoring old furniture and appreciate the beauty of period pieces,
-so we've arranged for them to visit Colin Hall, who has a passion for reclaimed furniture.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
Colin and his team scour houses and auction rooms for interesting
artefacts and Colin is keen to show Lesley and Ashley an item of great age that has led a mysterious life.
-OK, so here we have a sea-going chest...
From, we think, about 1640.
-That's so lovely.
It's a seagoing chest and it's got the drama pictures on it.
-Do you think, you know, it could have had some actors taking it on ship somewhere?
-It certainly could have.
Actors were still moving around in those days, so it could have.
And the key. Look at the size of that key!
-If you can pick it up, you can have it!
-Shall we try.
-Give it a try.
Oh! No, I think you're keeping it.
-You're not going to move it.
-Is there something else you can show us?
Yeah, I can show you something quite different to this.
This place embraces the idea of recycling and not throwing anything away.
Our next stop is the door emporium.
These reclaimed doors are hugely popular with those restoring homes to their former glory.
OK, here's a door we only got in recently, actually.
Oh, it looks lovely. How old is it?
-Well, it's not as old as it looks.
This has been made in the last century, because some of these parts are machined
so it's been made to look older, but it certainly comes from a very grand house.
-I can imagine. What kind of wood is that?
Do you think it would fit into one of our houses?
Let's hope they find us a house that it fits. We'll model the house around the door.
That would be a very grand house if you do.
I'm not sure their budget will stretch to that,
but they will need a bed and Colin has one he's proud of.
-Oh, it's marvellous!
-A fantastic bed.
It's very ornate. It's very big and very grand, isn't it?
This is something we've created ourselves from original materials.
The columns and cornices were not in those original positions
-and we created it into a bed.
I love the colonnades. It's gorgeous.
-This is something you could do yourself.
-Yeah, a quick weekend.
-Keep you busy for a weekend, wouldn't it?
-It really would.
That's certainly something to ponder,
but it's our task to find Lesley and Ashley an idyllic country abode.
In many ways, this whole show has been about finding the limit
of acceptable compromise, because Lesley and Ashley really wanted a lot land-wise,
but they really didn't have enough money to get it here in Derbyshire.
However, the mystery house, it has land, but will it have enough of the other things?
What do you think the mystery house might involve?
Absolutely no idea. It could be anything ranging from a fire tower
to a church. I am really looking forward to seeing it.
We can safely say it's not going to be a windmill.
-Not in Norfolk now.
-No. I have no idea.
I hope it is not something that I absolutely fall in love with and is £200,000 out of our price range.
We'll see. I'm looking forward to it.
We wouldn't be that cruel.
The mystery house is just outside desirable Matlock Bath.
It was the thermal springs that were discovered here in 1698
that brought in high society and gave it an air of elegance.
Today the area, sitting in a deep gorge, still attracts the tourists who marvel at the stunning scenery.
The location of our mystery house should suit Ashley.
It's tucked away in the hillside with staggering views and has recently been renovated.
It also has an asset which will be a surprise.
-This is the mystery.
-This is a kingdom!
-It's an amazing view.
-It's the kingdom, isn't it?
-It certainly is.
-You know this area. This is Matlock Bath.
-This is the Derwent Gorge.
This is the great Masson Cliff that goes along the side
and we found you a property that is right on the edge of it.
-I can't believe you've done that!
-It is amazing.
-I'm stuck for words.
-Which is rare.
-It's rare, yeah.
What are your impressions of the road, for example.
-The road is pretty, the way it winds through. I've no problem with the road.
-It's a bit noisy,
-but for a kingdom like this...
-You have to pay something.
-Mind the steps.
Gosh, these steps are quite steep.
-You want to death slide, don't you, really?
-Come straight down.
-Can we get a lift in?
-Imagine when it's icy.
We'll be staying indoors.
It's a small house.
It's quite small.
But it's all about the views.
Yes, it's... It's small, but it is perfectly done.
I mean, it's very, very stylish.
In terms of the kitchen,
friends sitting around tables, you won't get that necessarily.
-Well, two friends.
-Exactly. It's all about the views, this property.
-And it's a kingdom out there.
-Kingdoms are important.
And this is the rest of the downstairs.
-It's a lovely room, though.
-I have to say they haven't spared a penny in doing this up.
Everything is done to the highest standard.
Solid oak floorboards an inch thick.
-This whole fireplace was put in by them.
They found these half stones in a smithy, there are still bits of lead you can see in it.
I feel like I'm in a little Hansel and Gretel place. It's lovely.
It is lovely, but it is little.
It is very little.
-But it's very pleasing to the eye, I have to say. Yeah, I do like it.
-And this is it?
-This is the extent...
-This is the end of your kingdom.
-Of the house? This is the end of the kingdom inside. My goodness!
I'm just wondering whether it is too small.
But, apart from that, I think I like it.
I really like it.
-I would like it more if there was another room that way...
Because I like my space, I like to be able to zone out and I can't imagine us getting away into our own...
-That's the closest we're going to get you to saying that you don't like something, isn't it?
OK, that's good enough for me. Let's take a look upstairs.
It's not the end of my bag of tricks here. I'm not giving up.
Oh, dear, I think the initial excitement has worn off, but there is more.
Up here there's a small but beautifully finished bathroom,
and down the landing is the master bedroom which takes in the stunning scenery.
You can't deny those views.
-I mean, they are worth a king's ransom, really.
-In both directions.
-The windows in this room are fantastic, the amount of light.
You do have a bit of storage here. I don't know quite how much you need. A chest of drawers.
-Well, Ashley needs a whole wall.
-Really? Are you the hoarder?
I am the hoarder, I'm afraid. Not necessarily clothes, but I hoard a variety of things.
-Ah, that's a turn-up for the books.
There's two more bedrooms.
I wanted to show you the views from the top one.
The first of those two bedrooms is a single with built-in storage and the other room is just next door.
Then there's this little beautiful room. But look at the views!
Oh, the views are wonderful.
-I thought this could be your study.
-It could be.
-They've squeezed quite a lot into a small footprint.
But beautifully formed as this house is, it's not the inside of the house I want to show you, but outside.
-Let's go on, then.
The views from this house really are amazing, but will they be enough to win them over?
-Oh, my goodness! You did promise us a view.
-Wow, what a view.
-Lovely terraced gardens.
And you've got these outhouses here which you could possibly develop.
So, how much land do you think this is, all told? Is this enough to...?
Well, I think vegetables
could go on the slope, because it...
You know, you could work with that.
And the chickens, I don't know.
-We'd have to think about.
This is the first one that I've actually felt quite flummoxed about.
Yes, I can see your enthusiasm is down from its usual stellar heights.
So, you think this is maybe about half an acre?
It's got to be at least half an acre, I think, it sits in.
-If not more.
-Probably the footprint about...
Yeah. Up to half an acre.
-Actually, the plot of land is eight acres.
It encompasses eight acres of this ancient woodland which is yours.
-Oh, my goodness!
-Let's have a look.
-All the way to the top?
I did say I had more in my bag of tricks.
I think the wood is wonderful and it does come with its benefits.
All the fallen trees are for their use, providing free fuel.
-This is wonderful.
-This is an amazing piece of woodland.
-Your own woodland!
But I'm very glad I've got Ashley in front of me to break my slip.
Aw! Yes, I didn't brief you on...
-He's very romantic.
-..woodland walking, did I?
-It is beautiful woodland, though.
-All of this is yours.
-It's amazingly picturesque. And the wildlife.
-Woodland is woody,
and there's not an awful lot you can do with it, in all honesty.
It's lovely to own one,
to say that you own one, but it's not really very practical for us.
-Apart from the free fuel, but that's the only benefit.
So, the free fuel doesn't interest you, but the oil guzzling range does.
Well, what can I say?
A total princess.
How much do you think it would cost?
That's a tricky one. Because it's in Matlock Bath and the location,
I think it's quite expensive, so I'd go for about 420, something like that.
I would go for about just over 550.
-You're going high.
-Do you think I'd show you a property that was so much out of your budget?
-You've shown me one with a kingdom.
-Oh, I did, I did.
Well, the kingdom comes relatively cheap.
It's on the market for just a shade under 400. 395.
-That's a very... That's a very competitive price for its location.
It would be affordable,
but not interested in this one.
-Shall I get a toboggan so I can drag you back up?
-Yes, why not?
That would be great, a ski lift would be fantastic!
The market price was certainly a surprise at £395,000.
It has an immaculate interior, with three bedrooms,
sits on a plot, including eight acres of ancient woodland,
and not forgetting those superb views.
I do love this room.
The beams are absolutely amazing.
I can see why you love it, but it's really, really small.
-But you look round and it's just so well finished.
It is too small for us, I agree, but I'm just amazed at the quality of it.
-The quality... It's perfect.
And I have a problem with perfect.
-Yes, true. But you married me, though.
For a mystery house, it's a really impressive location again.
The views are stunning and I think they've done the house amazingly well.
They have done up here really well.
They've put in everything that they need.
-But it's not us.
-For a small house, they have shaped it very well.
-You are right, it's not us.
-For me, this is a high-end luxury holiday let.
The garden is so picturesque, along with the woodland, but to be fair,
as Lesley and I get older, it's going to be impractical.
The reality of being a 70-year-old in the future and going out to get your own logs isn't a reality.
And if you can hear it,
the road is very loud.
Come on, this is the last time you'll have to climb these steps, by all accounts.
Wow! That's a workout.
-It's a workout. Think of it as a workout.
-Let's go back.
Lesley and Ashley have now seen all the properties and it's time to hear their final thoughts.
Now is the time for you to really spill the beans,
because you can't have liked them all as much as each other, there must have been differences.
What about the first property? It seemed to go down very well.
It was a beautiful house, that one.
It ticked every single box imaginable for me.
I felt I'd lived there before.
It just felt so right.
The road was a problem, though, the amount of traffic that went by,
so for an unsecured garden that would have been a real problem and unfortunately,
if you'd secured it you'd have lost that wonderful view.
-Roads played an issue in the second house as well.
A lot of renovation work to do in there in terms of modernising it, which wasn't too much of a problem.
It was, again, an interesting house.
If we'd been able to acquire the extra land you alluded to,
that's something we might have considered, but the road again was a major problem.
After spending 10 minutes in the house, it's not something I'd have considered at all.
It didn't feel right.
-So you were being polite because you were smiling.
"I love it, it's so beautiful!"
But it did. It was like looking at a pretty painting.
The views seemed to outweigh the road noise.
But the reality of staying there, um,
you know, and it's hopefully going to be the last move we make together.
-Yes, probably will be.
-So, you know, the reality came crashing in.
The barn conversion in the farmyard didn't have any road noise.
-What did that have going for it?
-We loved it.
-Out of all of the properties, that was certainly my favourite.
We just felt really at home there.
-I was a bit worried that it was attached to other properties.
And it would be something that we would need to look into,
but that was a wonderful property and it's left us with a very good feeling
-and that's a big possibility for us.
The mystery house flagged up lots of things you didn't like,
but have they been useful in focusing your mind on what you do love?
The location and beauty of Matlock Bath was breathtaking,
but the practicalities of getting older
-and steps and stairs and woodland, we'd have to consider in reality.
I can't imagine us logging at the age of 70.
I can't imagine me getting up and down those stairs possibly in the next five years!
I have to say, the free logs did appeal to me, but you're right in terms of the workload.
And, overall, what have you taken away?
You seemed to like the barn conversion most. Would you make a move on that?
I'd like to see again the barn conversion and then talk to some of the neighbours,
-talk more to the farmer, because I think that one out of all of them had the most potential for us.
So, within the confines of the fact that there are lots of factors
that make it difficult to find your dream house, can you let that go?
Less of a priority for me now would be the actual kind of prettiness of the house,
but the green sustainability, really, and when I think about it is the way that we should go
and I think both of us want to hold on to that.
It was lovely looking at the range.
You can be green, just possibly not 100%.
I really hope you make it, because, you know, it sounds like
-the move will be the perfect thing for you in your life.
For once, you're a couple that have taken downsizing seriously.
They're not downsizing into a house twice as big.
We did discuss that at one point, didn't we?
So, best of luck. I hope it goes well and see you in Derbyshire soon.
OK. Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.
-It has been a pleasure, it really has. I've really enjoyed it.
Green or not green, landed or not landed, I do think that we'll be seeing Lesley and Ashley
making tracks to live in Derbyshire, and who wouldn't? It's a beautiful place.
And if you've been inspired, then do tune in next time for more Escape To The Country.
Lesley and Ashley did return to the barn conversion for a second and third viewing,
but their hearts are set on a detached house.
They're now considering buying a plot of land and building an energy-efficient property.
If you'd like to escape to the country and would like our help,
please contact us through our website...
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