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Welcome to Escape To The Country.
Today I'm in a county that is blessed, as you can see, with some glorious landscapes,
but which also has some pretty impressive coastline.
In fact, the coastline here was designated as Britain's first natural World Heritage site,
and on top of that it's one of my favourite places to go house-hunting.
Today we're helping a young family swap their urban estate for a rural outlook.
That's pretty amazing, actually.
-Yeah, really nice.
-But will our houses have the right ingredients?
Now this is what I call a kitchen.
And can we get the mix right with today's mystery house?
-I could fall in love with that view but...
-Yeah, some work.
It would take some time to fall in love with the property.
Well, today we're in Devon. Or more specifically, East Devon.
And as a county it's also famous for possessing some of the country's
most impressive and extensive landed estates and country houses.
Like this one, Escot Park.
When the grounds around here were laid out, back in the 18th century,
it was a favoured haunt for the local nobility,
and on occasion royalty.
It's said that poor old mad King George and Queen Charlotte dropped
in for a cup of tea on their way to Plymouth back in 1789.
But the good news is that today, it's open to everyone.
We'll be visiting Escot later in the show.
But there's more to East Devon than country estates.
Sandwiched between Somerset and Dorset to the east, and Exeter to the west.
At just 314 square miles East Devon isn't huge.
But within its borders you'll find some of the UK's
greenest and loveliest countryside.
And don't just take my word for it.
There are two separate areas of outstanding natural beauty,
which between them cover over 60% of the landscapes.
Both are shaped by centuries of farming activity.
The south is home to a myriad of market towns and villages.
Not to mention 30 miles of the World Heritage coast
charting 185 million years of the Earth's history.
In the north are the Blackdown Hills - a truly unspoilt pastoral region,
where you're more likely to come across four-legged residents than people.
Its hills and valleys are dotted with isolated farms, hedgerow lanes and countless villages and hamlets.
With not one single town,
it really is a country escape.
And if thatch is your thing, this is the place to come.
Devon accounts for 17% of the UK's total.
And there are over 4,000 thatch properties here which come in every shape and size.
Now, there is a potentially endless list of reasons as to why you might want to move to Devon.
But here are just three for you to think about.
The first is that nowhere in this county is further than 25 miles from the sea.
The second is that is has a warmer than average climate.
And the third is that house prices have dropped here a lot less than they have in other parts of the UK.
So, not only is it a good place to move to, it's also quite a good place to invest in.
And as ever there is plenty on the market to tempt you.
For £1.3m you could be the proud owner of this five-bedroom
16th century farm house near Axminster.
It's crammed to its thatched rafters with character and comes with spacious rooms.
The price also includes a separate three bedroom cottage.
And a very large pond in nearly five-and-a-half acres of land.
If you're looking for something with potential, then check out
this four-bedroom thatch, also near Axminster.
For the price tag of £625,000, you'll get a traditional Devon long house,
but with planning permission in place to build three holiday cottages in an acre plot,
it could also prove to be a real money spinner.
Or if you want to downsize on price but not on period features,
how about this three bedroom barn conversion in the hamlet of Weston.
For £385,000 you'll get a couple of reception rooms complete with inglenooks and beams.
And a contemporary farm house kitchen.
There's a small pretty garden, but at just a mile from the coast, who needs a lawn?
Well, with a selection like that, it's no surprise that East Devon
is one of my favourite areas to come house hunting.
No surprise either that it's where today's buyers want to move to.
Pharmaceutical execs Alison and Greg met at work ten years ago.
They tied the knot in 2006 and have been living on a modern estate
in Hatfield, Hertfordshire for the last six years.
They share their four-bedroom detached house with their dog Murphy and their gorgeous son, Jake,
whose recent arrival has prompted this rural escape.
I was brought up pretty much in the countryside.
And, you know, I loved every minute of it. I loved the environment, being outside.
And as Jake gets older,
we really want to give him the opportunity that I had really as a child.
For Greg this move really will be a return to his rural roots.
As they've decided to relocate to the county where he spent his formative years.
The area of the country we want to move to is Devon.
Mainly East Devon, because we would still be working in Hertfordshire.
And we want to be fairly near the M5.
-So, we can whip up into work.
But in a location that's rural enough so we can, you know, walk out our front door.
And walk along the fields and take Jake and Murphy out.
A lot of my friends from school still live down there.
So, it would be great to be in, you know, short driving distance from them as well.
So, Greg and Alison have a very clear idea about their location.
But what about their dream house?
Our perfect house would be a lovely character cottage.
In a lovely village with a pub down the road.
A roaring fire in the living area.
A lovely large kitchen area for entertaining.
Yeah, really nice views as well.
I love to go out in the garden and just look out over the countryside.
Big established garden.
Whilst Alison is a self-confessed shopaholic, Greg is a bit of a petrol head.
But once they've made the move to East Devon, they're hoping to spend more time as a family outdoors.
The lifestyle we dream of is long country walks at weekends.
Then pop into the local pub for a roast.
I do a lot of running and triathlons.
So, I'd just like to, just to run in the fields for a change. You know, instead of running round the block.
I used to try a bit of surfing.
I'd like to continue to do that.
Get that in. I'm sure Jake would like that.
-I might have a go as well.
Before Greg and Alison can realise their dream, they need to know
exactly how much money they'll have to play with.
So, we've invited around a local estate agent to value their current property.
The property's six years old. It's in quite a sought-after family location.
Offering good size living accommodation.
Therefore we'd be looking to market the property at around £350,000.
350 is pretty much what we were expecting.
-We would like to, you know, to sell it for that amount.
But that's, as I said, that's pretty much what we wanted to spend in the country.
So, for their £350,000,
Greg and Alison are after, I think, quite a lot.
They want a nice characterful detached property with a minimum of three bedrooms.
A nice big farmhouse kitchen... well, let's face it, who doesn't?
And enough of a garden so that son Jake and dog Murphy have got some room to play in.
But on top of that they also need some office space.
So the pair of them can work from home to pay for this big adventure.
Not much to ask, is it?
As Greg will need to commute to Hertfordshire for work a couple of times a month,
we're focusing today's search just to the north of Ottery St Mary.
We've lined up three stunning homes to view.
But as always, I won't be revealing the price tags until they've had a good look around.
The last of the three will be the mystery house,
which should give our house hunters a bit of a challenge.
-Well, guys, here we are back in Devon. Greg, this is where it all started for you.
-Yeah, it did.
Yeah, when I was a little boy.
So, time for a new chapter.
-You're doing this really for Jake, aren't you?
We want him to be able to grow up somewhere in the country.
You know, enjoy the fresh air and very close to the coast as well.
-So, we don't have that back home at the moment.
-Well, your budget now.
What's the very, very top end?
Well, we were looking round about 350.
-£350,000 and... But I mean, if the perfect property came up, we may be able to stretch a little bit.
-Maybe 360, maybe 370.
-But that would be top end.
-OK. Well, let's see if we can find you a house.
So, Alison and Greg have a top budget of £370,000.
They want a character cottage in a central village location.
And their must-haves include three bedrooms, office space, a big kitchen diner,
and an equally big garden with countryside views.
Whilst it's by no means a totally unachievable wish list, their budget
isn't huge for this highly sought after neck of the woods.
So, they may need to make compromises in one or two areas.
But I'm confident we'll find them something special.
How much effort are you prepared to put into your new home?
To really make it your own.
We're flexible. I mean, it really depends on what sort of property we see.
I mean, we wanted a character property.
-And we understand that not all character properties are going to be completely done up for us.
And ready made as such. So, you know, if there's a little bit of work to do then, then fine.
Well, our first house needs no work whatsoever.
And for that we're heading to the village of Monkton,
which is situated just ten miles from the coast and a 20 minute drive to the M5.
So, easy access for travelling back to Hertfordshire for work.
But it's Monkton's rural setting, on the edge of the Blackdown Hills,
that I think will really appeal to Alison and Greg.
It's a small community village with a church. And one hotel with a pub and restaurant.
So, they shouldn't have any problems getting to know potential new neighbours.
And if it's a taste of East Devon life Greg and Alison want,
they could do worse than drop in at the nearby village winery.
One of a handful of vineyards that have cropped up in East Devon in recent years.
Our first property is near the centre of the village in a tucked away position.
And I have to say when it comes to character this cottage will take some beating.
-Come on in.
-It's really, really cute.
-Yeah, I like that.
I think it's a real kind of classic Devon picture, actually.
It is, yeah. Very quaint. And it's got the thatch roof as well.
Which we weren't, you know, we were kind of 50-50.
-But it looks really, really nice.
-Yeah, no. It's really... I like it.
-It's really pretty.
-It is pretty. The only big drawback...
-and you can probably hear it...
-Yeah, is the road.
-Is the road.
-Is the road.
-The upside to that is that it takes you to Honiton.
-In about five minutes.
-Which is great shopping, restaurants, etc.
-It is a bit noisy. And we've got cats as well.
-You can hear the lorries.
-So, that could be a problem.
Well, I do want Greg and Alison to keep an open mind.
Because this Grade II listed cottage is definitely worth seeing.
Originally built around 1600, it's recently been refurbished,
with what I think are great results.
-Come on in.
-What do you think of this?
-Very, very nice.
-It's exactly what...
-We kind of stipulated on... The beams...
Dining-room-wise, this is it.
-Yeah, that's fine. I mean.
-That's perfect, yeah.
-Our table will fit in there quite nicely.
-Because we like open plan, anyway. So...
I'd say kitchen diner sort of thing. But this, it leads onto the lounge anyway. So, it's...
it's not an isolated room as such.
But this I love. I mean, the fireplace is what really, really makes it.
Yeah. Without a doubt. I can see our sofas are going to fit quite nicely.
That is... Absolutely. It's a nice big area, actually.
-Well, let's have a look at the kitchen.
-Because remember... I know you wanted kitchen-diner.
-That's the diner bit.
-Come and have a look at the kitchen.
It is separate through here.
-So, this is the reverse of the dining room wall.
Lovely mixture of plaster and wood and so forth.
-No, I like it.
-And then this is the kitchen.
Yeah, not a bad size.
-Yeah. Not too bad actually, yeah.
-It's not the kitchen diner.
-But bearing in mind, you've got the dining room just there anyway.
-In an ideal world, we're looking for something a little bit larger.
But the fact that the dining room goes onto the lounge. You know, if this was just the kitchen then...
It's still, still a good size.
Yeah. It's kind of a modern kitchen. But it doesn't look too modern.
-If you see what I mean.
-No, exactly. It's not out of place at all.
Well, I think that's the tale of this place. It's that nice mix of all the original features.
With a kind of modern twist.
-Shall we have a look upstairs?
-Let's talk about bedrooms.
-Yeah, why not.
-We have got you three.
-Let's go have a look at that.
I'd say we're off to a good start. And I think upstairs should get a positive reaction too.
-And this is two of three. And I think this really is your sort of guest room, effectively.
OK. It's perfect size, actually.
-Little bit of storage.
-Yeah, double room. Get a double bed in fine.
But let's go out through here and see what we can find you.
On this level, there's also a single room. Which probably has Jake's name on it,
and a pretty bathroom complete with a rolltop bath.
Now on the way to the master is this little space. Which they've currently got set up as an office.
-Yeah, could be useful, actually.
Or, given that it is next door to the master bedroom, it could be...
Just an idea... A dressing room.
I think I like that idea.
I think I like that idea.
-Oh, let me gamble on that one.
-Oh, yeah. Dressing room, office...
Is it going to be full of computers and books, or clothes and shoes?
-I think the bet's on clothes, actually.
-To be honest.
-I would say so.
-But let's have a look at the master. Because I think you'll like this.
-There we are.
-Interesting feature there.
-Do you know what that is?
Exactly. It's the top of the inglenook.
-And that's a very traditional feature in a cottage of this period.
-You can't take it out.
-No, no, no. True.
-And especially not as it's listed either.
But I think it's really lovely. You get a lot of space.
-Really quite lovely and light in here.
-It is beautiful, yeah.
It's beams again. This, you know, this is what we're looking for.
Good. So, you know, inside, I think this is...
-this is getting there, isn't it?
-Definitely. Yeah, it's 99% there.
Well, let's see if we can make it 100% outside.
The whole plot comes in at just under a quarter of an acre,
and enjoys a fantastic rural outlook.
Although the lawn is in need of some TLC.
So, you've got this very nice little conservatory
that draws you out into the garden.
And what you see is famously what you get.
Yeah. No, that's...
-It's not a bad size.
-It's not bad.
I mean, the lawn could do with a bit of attention. But apart from that...
In terms of outbuildings now, that's what I want to talk about.
-You may have noticed on the way in, there's the garage.
-OK, wooden garage. Which you could use for the bike?
Now, out here we've got two doors.
-That one on the right is a tool shed.
-But you see that little door on the left?
-You would think that it would go into a very small space.
-It actually goes into an enormous room.
I think, relatively speaking, in terms of it being an office.
-Now, it does need a bit of renovation.
-But you've got to have something to do.
-You know, we said we wouldn't mind doing a bit. So...
Well, that's what you can do as and when.
I think it's a really interesting project. And there are additional costs to consider.
Thatched roofs require maintenance, which does come at a price.
Many may need completely replacing every 20 or 30 years.
But of course, during that time they also need regular maintenance.
And the costs of that can vary considerably.
-There we are.
-It's fantastic, yeah.
-That's pretty amazing, actually.
-Nice, isn't it?
-And actually in terms of Jake playing around it's quite nice.
-It's quite enclosed, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is actually. It's not bad.
Yeah, it's safe. And you know we'd spend a lot of time in the garden.
-So, this is ready-made.
Entertaining. It's perfect, isn't it really?
Good. So, there are the views.
There's the house. That's what it's all about.
That's what we've brought you here to actually have a look at. Well, let's have a think about the price.
Go on, Alison, you start.
I reckon this is probably top end.
-I'm not sure.
-I'd take into consideration the road.
But I'll say 359,950 or something.
Oh, ha! OK. So, 360?
-Yeah, go on then.
-Thereabouts. You said 360. You said three...
-Not bad, guys.
Yeah. Not bad at all. This is on the market now for 365.
-All right, yeah. Midway then.
-Yeah, OK, OK.
So, I get the feeling that you wouldn't be too disappointed at 365?
No. And the size of the house and what you actually get is, is
-I think, pretty good for that price.
-Well, look, go have a good old explore.
Check out the potential office space and some of the rooms upstairs.
-I'll catch up with you a bit later.
-OK, great. Thanks. Thanks very much.
-Enjoy. Off you go.
At £365,000 this listed character cottage is 5,000 under budget,
and has period features and space a plenty.
There are three bedrooms. It already has one office with the potential to create another.
And the rural outlook is truly impressive.
In fact the only disadvantage I can see with this house
is its proximity to the road.
So, will they be able to live with it?
This house is absolutely gorgeous. It looks quite quaint on the outside but it is quite spacious.
We love beams and that's really what we wanted.
Cor, this is deceptive, isn't it?
-Yeah, deceptively big.
-It's huge, yeah.
-That would make a fantastic office, for both of us. It's got the window there, hasn't it?
So maybe you could set the computer up there and look out over the field.
-Nice view while you're working. Fab.
I thought the inside was, was really nice. You know, I love the beams.
I love the fireplace. The only drawback is the road.
And that's a big, you know, a big issue for me. Apart from that, yeah, great start.
It's got potential for us to move here.
-Enjoying the sunshine obviously.
-I certainly am.
-This is all very lovely, isn't it?
-Am I enjoying your garden, I wonder?
-Well, yeah. Well, maybe.
-So, it's a contender?
-Brilliant. Well, there's plenty more to come.
As Alison and Greg are looking forward to lots of family days out with Jake,
once they're settled in East Devon, we're scouting out some fun locations for them.
A must-visit is Escot Park, where I've returned for a guided tour with owner John-Michael Kennaway.
Tell me a little bit more about the house and the estate itself. Your family came here in 1794?
Well, we bought it in 1794 from Sir George Young,
who was a Conservative MP who bankrupted himself bribing his electorates. So...
Over 200 years on and the family is in charge of a huge estate.
1,200 acres in all.
The gardens were laid out by the famous landscape architect Capability Brown in the 18th century
and are home to an array of native and exotic flowers,
and vast oak and beech woodlands.
Back in the 1700s they were called The Pleasure Grounds
and John-Michael is very much keeping the tradition of fun alive today.
This is our fallen tree.
It was one of the casualties of the early 90s hurricane that we had in Devon.
We lost 5,000 trees. But this one's happily growing and we left
it there as a climbing tree.
-And as a monument to the storm really.
-But what have you done here?
-You've framed it...
-Well, this is an idea we pinched from New Zealand.
And this is a picture frame and here we go.
So, have you ever seen a bottle tree before?
-A bottle tree? No, I haven't.
-Well, look up and you'll see your first.
It's yet more madness, John-Michael.
I love it. You've bedecked it with bottles and corks.
-That's because it's a cork tree.
-Oh, it is. It's cork, yeah. Look at that.
Do you ever get the sense that your forebears are wandering around here?
I hope they're watching us and hope they approve.
Well, I certainly think they'd approve of your sense of humour. I absolutely love it.
But it's not all about fun. The name of the game for John-Michael is really conservation and education,
which isn't confined to flora. In conjunction with The Tale Valley Trust
he's reintroducing animals that back in the day would have roamed the estate freely.
But are now largely endangered.
Species like wild boar, birds of prey, beavers and otters.
-They're really quite cheeky things, aren't they?
They're integrated and they're part of our education programme.
Showing people, you know, about the real wild otters that we have on the rivers and around the estate.
-Well, they're a great welcome to the garden.
And, of course, no country estate would be complete without a maze.
The classic hedgerow version is thought to date back 600 years.
Although this one is slightly more recent.
Made from beech trees, it's just five years old.
-John-Michael, thank you very much.
-You're very welcome.
-If I don't come out by sunset, come and get me.
-Cheers! Here we go.
Well, I think I could lose myself in this place for hours.
As the sun sets over the East Devon countryside, our first day of property hunting is at an end.
The arrival of baby Jake has prompted Alison and Greg to swap
Hatfield for a healthy lifestyle in East Devon.
They have up to £370,000 to spend on a character home with a big garden.
So, can we get the balance just right with our next property?
I didn't expect that at all.
-Or will today's mystery house come up smelling of roses?
Well, it's the beginning of our final day's house hunt here in East Devon.
Now, yesterday, I think it was pretty successful.
We certainly found lots of period charm. But in trying to find a house within a village location,
we did of course come up against the issue of road noise.
So, I think the message for today is simple
Keep up with the character and charm.
But just a bit more peace and quiet.
For our first viewing of the day we're heading to Smeatharpe
in the Blackdown Hills.
Location-wise it's just nine miles to the M5 and 17 miles to the coast.
And I think this is the typical Devonshire village that Alison and Greg have in mind.
It's positively tiny and its church and pub are very much the home of the community.
Close by is a decommissioned airfield that played an important part in World War II.
Our property sits between that and the village.
And I think it has a real wow factor.
And the kind of garden they have in mind.
Let's start today with this one.
-It looks lovely from the outside.
-Gorgeous on the inside as well, I can tell you.
In it's more recent past it was a pub.
-We're right on the edge as well of the airfield.
-Which during the Second World War was a real hub for the D-Day operations.
And this would have been the local for many a serviceman way back when.
Now it's a lot more peaceful here, as you can probably tell.
-Yeah, it's lovely and quiet.
-The road that way goes nowhere.
-Just to the old airfield.
So, the peace and quiet you are experiencing now should be yours forever more.
There's no denying this property has an interesting past.
But will it feature in Alison and Greg's future?
Well, I have very high hopes for this one.
Grab the door, Greg.
-Not a problem.
-Come on in, Alison.
-Come on in.
-Now, this is...
this is what I call a kitchen.
-It's lovely, yeah. Got the island. I like the island.
Now all of these movements are free standing. They all move.
-Oh, right, OK.
-With the exception of the sink.
-For obvious reasons.
But yeah, if you want to reconfigure it, you just got to pick them up.
-Yeah, do you want to have it over here today, shall we?
-But through here, look at this, your kitchen diner.
-Oh, right. Fantastic!
-Hey! Great little space there.
Our table would fit in there quite nicely.
-I like that.
-And through that door
at the end, that takes you out to a lovely little, sort of, gravelled courtyard.
-So, if you want a bit of outdoor eating, etc, that's immediate to the kitchen.
-Oh, OK. Yeah.
-You've got that there.
The entire house was renovated in 2006.
And I think decoratively, it will be exactly to Greg and Alison's taste.
There are plenty of character features but they're set within a very light contemporary finish.
OK, come through.
Ha, ha! What do you think?
-I like this.
-Yeah, I love it.
-Now, the kitchen was the heart of the pub.
As it was, all right? And this was a little snug attached to the pub.
-So, many a good night would have been had in here.
-I can imagine.
-Clearly. I love it.
I think the finish is fantastic.
Yeah, I love... I love the finish.
-It's clean, it's not cluttered.
-Yeah, it's very nicely done actually.
This is, this is exactly what I want my house to look like.
But of course the owners of the pub lived here too.
And their bit of the property was originally in this half, OK?
So, imagine a wall here where this beam is now. But it does now give you this interesting space here.
-Oh, it's looks gorgeous.
-Gorgeous. I do like this.
-That stunning fireplace.
Yeah, I can't fault it at the moment.
-To be honest.
-No, not at all.
Well, I think I can safely say that's a thumbs-up for the downstairs.
I hope upstairs won't be a let down.
OK. Well, let's start up here with the bathroom. What do you think?
-It's a good size.
-Still got that lovely cottagey feel, hasn't it?
-Yeah, it has.
Now, in all there are three bedrooms up here.
Not the biggest in the world. But certainly big enough for Jake.
I think he'd be happy in there.
-OK. And then moving on we've got...
again it's a very similarly sized room.
These aren't in fairness doubles.
That's a... yeah, that's more a single.
But the master is plenty big enough for you.
Have a look at this.
I think this is very sweet.
Oh, yeah. That's absolutely fine, isn't it?
Now, you haven't got an en suite.
-Bathroom is that one down there.
-Yeah. Well, it's not too far.
Well, it's only you and Jake, isn't it really?
-At the moment. So...
That's perfect. We wouldn't need to do anything, would we?
-You've just got to pay for it, Greg.
Whilst Alison and Greg obviously love this house,
I think they could potentially outgrow it in just a few years.
But there may be a solution outside.
Let's start out here, shall we?
So, there's the back of it.
There are plans and planning permission to extend this...
-So, the new footprint of the building would effectively come out toward the edge of the grass.
And then it goes up two storeys.
-That's, yeah, interesting.
Because I was concerned about the smaller...
-two single rooms.
-At the moment, I don't think you need to.
-But if you felt like it, effectively you would get a nice big new chunk of building right there.
The extension could incorporate office space, almost certainly.
But if you wanted to do something more immediate, how about in the garden?
Yeah, that's what our initial thoughts were.
-A separate free-standing nice timber build. Do it really pretty.
You know, nice little country... little cottage of its own.
Something of a work room out here in the garden.
You've got loads of space. Let's have an explore.
All in all about half an acre.
-You could achieve something really beautiful here.
Nice free-standing garden office.
-And of course views out over the old historic airfield.
Let's have a think about the money, shall we? What do you think?
-OK. It's pretty perfect, I think.
-It's pretty much there.
Yeah. I would say it was probably very top end. 370 then.
If it was 370,
would you do it?
-Potentially. We'd have to have a discussion.
-We'd have to sit down and look at...
-Check our finances.
But, you know, it's pretty much there on our spec, so...
So, if it was £350,000, you'd probably really do it?
-Pretty good, hey?
-That's very good.
-Are you a bit stunned?
-I am, yeah. I didn't expect that at all.
-That gives us a bit of cash to build the outbuilding, then.
I think it's exceptionally good value.
-Go and look around, I'll catch you later.
Well, you can't ask for better reactions than that.
At £350,000, this old pub comes in £20,000 under budget.
So, money in the pot for extensions or outbuildings.
It has Alison's dream kitchen/diner, three bedrooms.
And with half an acre of garden,
I think we've got the outside space right too.
So, can I hear the sound of popping champagne corks?
I absolutely loved this house. It was pretty perfect to say the least.
The lounge area was huge. We could get all our furniture in.
Fireplace, gorgeous. And the garden area is just, you know, brilliant.
I couldn't believe that it was 350.
So, I'm pleasantly, pleasantly surprised at that.
Ah, this is gorgeous.
I do like this.
-It's like a little secret garden.
-Out here with a glass of wine.
-I was just about to say that.
It's beautifully done out and it's got that country feel to it.
The upstairs space was a little bit less than I wanted.
But the fact that there is permission to, you know, build on the existing property,
at a later date, if we wanted to extend, then we could.
-Ah, never thought I'd get you out of there.
I'm just considering this extension.
-I think it's well worth thinking about.
-Yeah, I agree.
-Well worth thinking about.
-Definitely something we'd look into.
-Just that extra space.
-OK. Don't make your minds up just yet.
Well, our property search is very nearly at an end.
And I have a sneaking feeling we may have found Greg and Alison their ideal dream home.
But of course it's never over until it's over.
And no programme would be complete without the mystery house.
OK, it's mystery house time. The moment you've both been waiting for.
What do you think we've got in store for you?
I think it might be a property in need of a little bit of work, maybe.
Maybe something we can make our own perhaps.
-Yeah, something that needs a little bit of work on it.
-Not too much.
-Ha-ha! But a little bit wouldn't be out of the question?
-I'm not living in a caravan.
-No, it wouldn't be out of the question, no.
Well, I think Alison's been consulting a crystal ball.
As indeed the mystery house will be a little bit of a project.
And for that we're staying in the Blackdown Hills
and heading to the tiny hamlet of Blackborough.
Although there's an active community in this hamlet,
there's little in the way of amenities. For a pint of milk
Alison and Greg will have to head to the pretty village of Kentisbeare, four miles away.
The mystery house itself is set on the outskirts of Blackborough.
And when it comes to the all-important outside space
and rural location they're looking for,
I don't think they'll do much better than this place.
But to turn it into their dream home will take some vision and some work.
So, will they buy into its potential?
So, there we are.
That's the mystery house. What do you think?
-Looks really nice from the outside.
-Looks all right.
-The views are absolutely breathtaking.
-They are amazing.
That is what this property is all about, really.
Blackdown Hills, Somerset over there.
-The Quantocks stretching into the distance.
-You can see literally for miles.
-That is awesome.
-The property does make the best of that.
As you would imagine, in this elevated position.
-But it's all about whether the space is going to work for you guys as a family.
The setting and view obviously works for them.
Now let's see if they have the vision to turn the mystery house into their dream home.
-Right, in you come.
OK. Now, understanding this house does take a bit of doing.
-Geography is kind of interesting.
But let's start in here in the kitchen.
So, what do you think of this?
Yeah, it's not a bad size.
-It's probably less farmhousey than what we have seen.
-In some respects.
-You would a find a kitchen like this almost anywhere.
Arguably. I think the key thing is how it's arranged
and what it gives you in terms of the patio doors out to the garden.
-Yeah, that's a nice feature. It's always nice to have that.
-That is quite nice.
-There is the dining area where you can sit and eat.
-The size is OK.
-Slightly smaller than I wanted.
Let's see if we can improve on a "Hm" on our little tour.
Come on, follow me through here.
Now this, I think, works quite nicely actually.
-Again, you know, it's a good size.
-At its core it's probably 200 years old this building. So we're into the kind of older bit.
And this is kind of interesting.
It's a sort of snug kind of arrangement.
They've got it as a little bit of a study.
Yeah. It's potentially office space as well.
Sat there, I'm not sure I'd get a lot of work done.
Nice view while you're working. I must admit.
This house may not have all the period features of our other properties, but it is 200 years old.
So, character could easily be created with some reclaimed floorboards and doors.
Upstairs is definitely more traditional,
so maybe it'll help them visualise.
OK. So, of your three bedrooms, this is one of the bigger ones, I think.
Again the beams giving away
some of the heritage that goes with this 200-year-old property.
-Yeah. No, I like this room.
Well, the beams are certainly a nice touch.
Next door is a guest room with en suite shower.
And a small but perfectly formed family bathroom.
There we are.
No en suite in here.
So, how's our mystery house doing?
-Not bad, yeah.
At the moment I could fall in love with that view.
But it would take some time to fall in love with the property.
-Some work needed, I think.
-I'm basing it on what I've seen earlier.
This is the mystery house because of not only where it is,
-but because of the view and the gardens in particular.
We haven't yet shown you a big, formal, mature garden.
That's what you get here.
-Let's see how green fingered you are.
-Let's go outside and see what you make of that.
Well, they may not be seeing the possibilities inside,
but I'll be amazed if they don't fall in love with the garden.
They've said the outside space is as important as the interior.
So, maybe this will swing it.
There's well over half an acre to explore.
-Nice bit of decking. That's quite new.
-It looks new.
-Making the best of the views.
-Yeah, that's exactly what I'd...
Let's continue because there's so much of it.
-It's incredibly mature. Very pretty.
-Yeah, it is, um...
You wouldn't need to do a lot. It's all been grown.
-Well, yeah, it's ready for you.
-There's a lot to discover in it. It's huge.
-I like it.
For a kid growing up, this would be a great garden to play in.
-Yeah, I agree.
So, you can see. It just goes on and on.
I love it. These are terrific.
-These great big huge skunk cabbage.
-Mad sort of prehistoric plants.
-And then you've got this very mature vegetable area here.
-Well, you said you wanted to grow some vegetables.
-It just seems to go on. There's like little secret pockets.
-And no noise.
-None at all.
-I know. It's so quiet.
-Let's have a think about the money.
Given the views...
365, yeah. Alison?
I think, because it needs a little bit of work doing to it, a bit less.
It's on the market at 375.
-But the reason behind it is the peace, the quiet, the views, the space.
-This gives you more of that than any other property.
-I appreciate that.
-Go and explore this wonderful garden.
-And I'll try and find you later.
-If you don't come back I'll send out a search party.
Well, there we are. That was the mystery house.
You get these wonderful views, these extraordinary gardens.
But you do also get a little bit of work to go with it.
Is that work they want to do, I wonder? Who knows.
At £375,000 this is £5,000 over budget
but it comes with bags of potential that could be tackled over time.
It has three bedrooms, a sizeable living room and a garden.
And it's all in a pretty countryside setting.
But will it be a winner for Alison and Greg?
It's not particularly to our taste.
I think a little bit of work would have been required.
Obviously the selling point is the views.
No-one can deny they're absolutely stunning.
The view from here is just spectacular. Look at that.
-It is. You wouldn't tire of that, would you?
I think I'd sit out here when it's raining too, if I'm honest.
The gardens were amazing.
But Greg and I would perhaps struggle a little bit to maintain these gardens.
-There you are. Isn't this just a fantastic place to explore?
-I absolutely love it. But I'm afraid, guys, that's it.
House tours are now over.
We've got to get you somewhere to think about everything you've seen so far.
-Ready to do that?
-Come on then.
Well, that's it for our property tour of East Devon.
I think there's a clear front runner.
But after a good chat, will Alison and Greg have come to a different conclusion? Time to find out.
Now then, you two. That's it.
The question is have we found you a house in which to come back to?
It started with the pretty thatched cottage, albeit by a busy road.
I liked the thatched cottage, I must admit.
Yeah, I agree, it was a very, very pretty house.
But I loved the inside of the property. It was modern in a kind of character property.
Gorgeous inglenook fireplace.
That was the main feature for me, in the lounge.
The views were stunning. But it was too close to the road for my liking.
OK. The final day of our property search began with,
what I have to say I think was, an absolutely gorgeous property.
The old pub on the side of the airfield.
Walking through that door straight into our ideal kitchen/diner,
I couldn't have asked for a better entrance.
And the house just got better, really. It was perfect.
OK, some of the bedrooms upstairs were on the small side. But that garden was just huge.
Yeah, you could probably make a football pitch on that one.
-And you could extend the property.
-Yeah, with that planning permission in place.
-That was something we could certainly...
Maybe not straightaway, But something we could do in the future.
Perhaps we spoilt you a bit there, because we took you to the mystery house,
-which gave you the views you were after.
-Oh, without a doubt.
But probably a little more to take on than you wanted, I suspect.
I mean, those views were breathtaking, absolutely...
But it was top end of our budget.
And for me I think needed some work inside,
which we just wouldn't have had the budget to do.
We'd have had to change the kitchen. Made it more modern to our taste.
-The garden would have been too high maintenance.
-But I can't fault the views.
I mean, they were fantastic.
The best views you can get in Devon, as far as I'm concerned.
OK. Well, I have a fairly good idea of what is going to happen next.
But you tell me, go on.
-I would really like to go back to the pub house.
-Just look at the area around the house, I think. And just take it from there really.
-Let us know how you get on.
Thank you very much for being on the show. Best of luck.
You know, the more I think about it, no house search is ever the same.
They all have their little twists and turns.
But the thing I really like about this one is that in finding a very viable property for Greg and Alison.
We found a home not just for them but importantly for young Jake as well.
So, that he can grow up in Devon just like his dad did.
I'll see you next time.
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