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Welcome to Escape To The Country.
These beautiful Victorian gardens behind me,
were once described by Thomas Hardy
as "quite the prettiest sight I ever saw in my life".
Where are we? Stick around and I'll show you.
'In today's show I'll be helping a couple of self-confessed urbanites
'make a break for a new life with their young family in the country.'
-Come in, Scott.
Goodness me. That's fantastic.
'I'll be showing them an array of attractive rural properties.'
Well, I don't think you need to bother showing us the rest!
'And, of course, there's the Mystery House,
'which might just brew up a storm.'
Today we're on the historic border between Dorset and Wiltshire
at the glorious Llama Tree Gardens.
They're set within the enormous Camborne Chase estate
and they were created back in 1880 by the estate's then owner,
General Pitt-Rivers, as a place for enlightenment and entertainment.
The perfect place to start any Escape To The Country.
In the heart of the South Coast, Dorset covers 1,000 square miles.
The Cranborne Chase dominates the northeast corner of the county,
offering a spectacular landscape
designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Fighting it out for breathtaking scenery
is the county's Jurassic Coast -
95 miles of heritage coastline headlining with landmarks such as Durdle Door.
Lying at the eastern end, Sandbanks is still topping the charts.
Constantly undergoing stylish redevelopment,
it's now a densely-packed playground for the privileged few,
with land prices amongst the fourth-most expensive in the world.
The rest of Dorset couldn't be more different.
With 50% of the population living in the southwest corner,
vast swathes of countryside are sparsely populated,
making it a wonderful place to live.
When it comes to property-hunting in Dorset,
the pocket that is the Camborne Chase area
is one of the more undiscovered parts.
And that's simply because around 40% of it is covered with landed estates
and when you couple that to the fact
that it's also one of the most depopulated parts of the Southwest,
you get the idea that finding your ideal rural retreat
can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
But, as ever, if you know how to look and where to look, there's plenty on offer.
Hiding in 15 acres of land in Tarrant Launceston
is this four-bedroom equestrian property,
on the market for £1.5 million.
The former farmhouse has been refurbished to a high standard,
yet hasn't lost sight of its period charm.
And the horses are well taken care of
with the stables, paddock and menage.
If that's a bit of a stretch but you still need an equestrian property,
then how about this thatched house in Woodlands?
At £545,000, the three-bedroom home has just over two acres of gardens and paddock.
And from the stable block, it's just a short ride out to the bridleways and forest.
Or finally, how about this three-bedroom cottage in Winfrith?
On the market for 395.
The rooms are large and light and the brick fireplaces and timber beams are a feature of the property,
as is the well-maintained mature garden,
which is packed with trees and shrubs.
As you can see,
there are plenty of very pretty properties on offer here in Dorset,
which, to my mind, is as good a reason as any
as to why today's buyers would want to move here.
And they are Scott and Lorraine,
who live in a three-bedroom semi-detached bungalow in Surrey
with their two children, Lewis and Amy, and their collection of pets.
Sadly for the children, they don't have the run of the back garden
as Scott has turned his hobby into a business.
This is our microbrewery.
This is a family business that we started two years ago.
It's very quickly taken off and now I need more space.
It's not just the brewery that's making them so eager to hotfoot it to Dorset.
We're fed up with the rat race.
It's too busy and too built-up around here now.
We think we could have a much better way of life in the countryside.
We've talked about looking to move for the last seven years, really.
When we used to go on holiday a lot down in the West Country,
we used to think, "Wouldn't it be great to live in places like this?"
The time was never right. Now the time is right for us.
The children are at the right age
and we've got a business that we can move and relocate.
Scott and Lorraine have spent hours looking at houses on the Internet
but as yet they haven't seen any in the flesh.
We're both apprehensive about moving.
We've been here a long time. All our lives we've lived in a suburban area. So it's big step.
But it's also a challenge and we both quite excited about it as well.
-It'd be like starting an adventure.
So what sort of property will match their dream?
We'd like a four-bedroomed detached house with spacious rooms.
We'd like a property that's got character.
A nice farmhouse kitchen with low beams and a nice view out on the countryside.
Also, in the property, we would be looking for
a suitable amount of land around the property
for us to run the business from. And ideally with outbuildings.
But we would consider a property that didn't have outbuildings
if there was suitable space, in future, for us to put our own up.
The land will be put to good use with a vegetable patch for the children
and will hopefully accommodate a few extra family members, too.'
This is Fluffy, my daughter's rabbit.
The one thing we're really looking forward to, when we move, is to have more pets.
Ideally, we'd like chickens as well.
We're keen to crack on with the search but first Scott and Lorraine need to get a current valuation
for the house they bought 11 years ago for 110,000.
This is a lovely bungalow.
Beautifully maintained and improved by the owners,
in a very popular residential area.
I believe the current valuation to be
in the region of £350,000, although due to the unique nature
of the business at the end of the garden, perhaps up to around £400,000.
Personally, I'm very pleased with that.
I just hope we can achieve it.
So what's in the coffers for us to go house-hunting with?
Our budget is going to be £400,000.
We're willing to pay that if the property ticks all the right boxes.
It's clear that the driving force behind this move is Scott's need to expand his brewing business,
but of course they do need a family home to go with it.
Specifically, they want somewhere with at least three bedrooms,
lots of character, an area outside for a veg patch
and maybe some chickens and, of course,
some all-important outbuildings for the business of brewing beer.
Given that the Cranborne Chase postcode
is, arguably, one of the most exclusive and expensive in this part of the world,
my guess is their budget of £400,000 or so could be a bit stretched.
Scott and Lorraine will still need to make beer deliveries
to their existing customers in Surrey
until they build up a new client base in Dorset.
Therefore, we're concentrating the search
around the north of the county,
where the travel time back to Surrey should be less than two hours.
Over the course of two days, I'll be taking them on a whistle-stop tour of terrific properties,
as ever, I'll leave them in the dark regarding the prices until they've had a good look around.
And, finally, there's the Mystery House, which I'm sure will cause a bit of a stir.
Welcome to North Dorset. Is this the sort of thing you had in mind?
The heart of Cranborne Chase?
-It's perfect, really ideal.
Well, it is superb for a very good reason, which also makes it very popular and very expensive.
Your budget of 400 grand or so, can that be pushed at all?
-It's creeping up a little bit?
We're going to need all of that, I suspect, because there's quite a lot to fit in, isn't there?
You two, your two kids, Amy and Lewis, and a growing menagerie of animals.
Yeah, we've got cats, rabbits, fish.
-Hopefully chickens in the future.
-Hopefully chickens in the future.
So this really is a lifestyle change
because you can take the brewery with you and have it all at home?
-That's the plan initially, yes.
We've got an awful lot for you to look at.
Dorset beckons, as you can see.
-Here it is. Let's go see what we can find.
Scott and Lorraine have a budget of up to £430,000
and for that they're looking for a detached house
with character features, a farmhouse kitchen,
four bedrooms, an outbuilding for the business
and enough land for a vegetable patch and a few animals.
We always assume that it's a big move for buyers
but what about the children? How do they feel about it?
Well, that was a big concern, obviously.
We've discussed it at length for both of them.
They're both very excited about it, which is encouraging.
It's very difficult to fit in again sometimes.
If friends have got their established groups.
But I think they're young enough to overcome that and if we don't do it now, I don't think we'll ever to it.
And we'll spend the rest of our lives wondering what might have been.
Yes, we don't want to regret not having done it.
The first house on our viewing list,
and indeed the first house ever in Dorset for Scott and Lorraine,
is in East Stour,
four miles west of Shaftesbury
and two hours from clients in Surrey.
This small village sits amongst the tranquillity of the Blackmore Vale.
Much of the land here is given over to dairy farming and with this countryside on their doorstep,
there'll be plenty for the family to explore.
The house we've lined up dates back to 1600, at its core,
and if its character they're looking for, we're in for a real treat.
Right, then, house number one.
-On our grand tour of Dorset.
-What do you think of that?
-It's very nice.
Wow. I can't wait to see it. I like the look of it, it's really good.
I like the stonework on the front. It looks really, really nice.
I suppose the other obvious thing to point out is THAT structure.
-It definitely feels like a medieval brewery to me.
It's certainly got character to it, which is exactly what is needed for a small brewery.
It won't take long to have it up and running in there.
Let's get into the main event - the house.
'Terrific. That's the brewery sorted
'and I'm really excited to show them the house.'
Right, then. Come in Lorraine.
-Come in, Scott.
-What do you think?
-It's really nice.
-Look at that staircase.
-We've got a little office area for you in here.
As you can see, there's the old outside wall of the property
and the oldest-surviving window here, too.
But come through here cos this is quite exciting.
I love these doors.
-And of course the rest of the building, that's your 16th century.
Wow. Look at that fireplace.
-It's got bags of character.
-It's just stunning.
Come through here because you've got another original, beautiful fireplace.
Wow! That is a fireplace, isn't it?
-Yeah. Well, I don't think you need to bother showing us the rest!
THEY ALL LAUGH
It gets better, trust me. I think this is a gorgeous room.
This beam over the fireplace is, in itself, original to the house.
But if you look at this beam, you can see some graffiti on there and some marks.
See that circle? With the leaves on?
-These are witches' marks.
Put on to ward off evil witches.
What's quite curious is that there are several of them so there was obviously a bit of a witch issue!
-Presumably they're all gone now!
'It's so rewarding to find such history in old properties
'and it's easy to see why this house is grabbing them.
'But will the kitchen be the picture of Lorraine's dreams?'
-Through to the kitchen. Downstairs loo, which is always nice.
-And then this is it.
-Wow! This is good.
There's a little dining area, too.
It ticks all the right boxes here. This is just too perfect.
Could you say that again?
"This is too perfect!" OK.
-We're very happy, so far.
-So far, yes.
Let's go and explore the staircase. Go upstairs and have a look.
I absolutely love this.
It's so original.
-It's fun, isn't it?
-Now, we've got Amy and Lewis?
Would this work for Lewis?
I believe it would. It might be a bit tight for his toys.
-He'll have to get rid of some!
-Yeah. Moving is always a good, cathartic process.
-We'll have a good sort out.
His sister might be next door. Let's have a look at where Amy might go. Have a look in there.
Wow! This is a good size.
It is a good size. Amy would love this bedroom.
-It's so pretty.
-I think it could cause a few arguments, actually!
They'd be fighting over this bedroom.
All right, well, what about you two?
-Come and have a look.
Last but not least.
To be fair, it's not the most enormous of bedrooms.
But this is currently set up as the master,
probably because it has this really stunning fireplace feature in it.
Nice view of the garden and so forth.
'It's a real cracker of a property
'and I think they can see themselves at home here.
'Even the bathroom is full of character.
'So, with the brewing business taken care of in the barn,
'it's time to see if the garden offers them what they're looking for.'
OK. What have we got out here for you?
It's very pretty.
-It's very pretty. It's not acres, to be honest with you.
But it does have all the components.
You have a bit of mature garden for the kids to play in.
Nice, very well looked after vegetable patch, as you can see.
-That's ideal, isn't it?
-Greenhouse, as you can see.
-It's a pretty country garden.
I don't know where the chickens would go.
I think we could maybe get a few in round here.
-We don't necessarily need a greenhouse.
-You get another view of this really pretty period house.
It is very picturesque.
But, of course, the acid test is going to be how much it is.
Oh, yes! I hate to think.
Well, let's have a think because it is our first one.
It's a chance for you to really gauge the market here.
Actually, genuinely looking round somewhere for the first time.
Scott? Go on.
It's got to be at the top end, hasn't it? I would have thought.
-It's going to be a stab in the dark but I'd say it's got to be around 420.
-I'd say our max, 430.
-You're quite good, you two.
Actually, you've just straddled it.
-It's on the market for 425.
The good news is you've got a pretty realistic eye for what things are going to cost you here.
The other thing, of course, is it is technically under budget.
The top end of your budget, but without an awful lot to do.
The only thing, I suppose, is to put a bit of money into the barn at the front. How does that feel?
Optimistic, definitely, about it.
Good. It hasn't frightened you off?
-Certainly wouldn't rule it out.
All right, well, we've got plenty of time.
-Go and have a look around and I'll catch up with you later.
-OK, let's go.
Brilliant. Well, I have to say, I am absolutely delighted.
The nice thing about them is that they haven't looked at any properties in this area at all,
so showing them the first one is always going to be something of a challenge.
The good news is, it's under budget and they love it.
At £430,000, this house does offer
Scott and Lorraine the vast majority of what they're looking for.
It's packed to the rafters with character.
It has three bedrooms, a ready-made vegetable patch for the children
and an outbuilding that can easily house their microbrewery.
Well, this property has got bags of character, what with the beams and the fireplaces.
It's just gorgeous. It's ideal for us.
Someone's clearly put a lot of love into this property.
The exposed woodwork is beautiful.
So much detail here and so many features that are quite overwhelming.
My only concern, really, would be the size of the garden.
But, saying that, it is very pretty, and maybe that's the sacrifice we would take.
It definitely gets the thumbs-up from me.
-What do you think of this?
-Yes, there's good storage space up there, which is very useful.
I think it should just about manage, with some adapting, yeah.
-Boom-boom! Haha! Good.
I'm feeling thirsty myself. Come on.
Scott and Lorraine's move to this part of the country
is all about discovering new territory,
and one of the wonderful gems in this county is the market town of Shaftesbury.
To make the most of their visit to this medieval town in the Blackmore Vale,
they're meeting up with Anna McDowell,
a local resident who is chairman of the Shaftesbury Abbey Museum
and very knowledgeable about the area.
-It's a wonderful view from here, isn't it?
-Absolutely amazing, yeah.
We are actually one of the highest towns in the country.
Founded by Alfred the Great in 880,
Shaftesbury became an important staging point
on the London-to-West-Country route and prosperity grew.
Today, tourism is a major industry,
with visitors flocking to take in Gold Hill,
the cobbled street made famous by a well-known 1970s bread advert.
And all these tourists will need refreshment,
which is good news for Scott's brewing business.
The gardens of Shaftesbury Abbey, a short walk away,
are also a hot tourist ticket.
The abbey, built in 888, lies in ruins,
but it was once a wealthy Benedictine nunnery.
Dissolved in 1539, much of the stone was used to build local houses.
Well, here we in the actual gardens of Shaftesbury Abbey.
It's estimated about 350 people
actually lived within the precinct wall
-and, amongst them, the people who actually brewed the beer.
Surprisingly, they actually drank an average of 1,500 pints a day.
Well, don't forget the water was unsafe, it had to be purified
-and the way they did that was through beer.
That's a lot of beer that would have made Scott a rich man,
but for now, he'll have to look forward to building his own business near this scenic town.
Look at the views.
When we saw the views from Shaftesbury Abbey,
we were effectively looking straight down into Dorset.
-Here, You're looking straight over into Wiltshire.
-Shaftesbury is virtually on the border of both counties.
And with views like this, there's no wonder
Scott and Lorraine want to make it their home.
We're heading further southeast for our next house,
which is in Pimperne, two miles north of Blandford Forum,
and again two hours from clients in Surrey.
Sitting on the Cranborne Chase, the village is believed to date back to Anglo-Saxon times.
Today, it's a desirable place to live, with a thriving community.
The property we are viewing is the old headmaster's house, and sits next to the primary school.
-Come and have a look in here. Look - chickens!
-Oh, yes. Wow.
-You wanted chickens, there are some.
-We have got chickens. Excellent.
-Whether they come with the property...
This is what I want you to have a look at.
Big, substantial Victorian family house.
Looks impressive. Certainly looks big.
-Very, very spacious.
-That sounds good to me.
-All right, let's go inside and have a look.
See what you think.
Leaving the chickens behind.
-Grab the door, Scott. Let's start in here, shall we.
-It's a nice size.
-Nice and light as well.
-Picture rail's very nice.
-Working fire place, which is nice.
-Yeah, it's a bonus.
The nice thing about this is that there is a room
similar to this over there. So, grown-up area, kid's area.
Come and have a look through here.
-Now here you've got what would technically be a dining room.
-They've got it set up as a play room.
-And they get their own working fireplace!
-That fireplace is beautiful, isn't it?
Let's have a look at the kitchen. Through here.
-All right, then. There we are.
-Ah, a good size kitchen.
-What do you think?
-It's got a nice feel about it.
-I know, it's good.
Is this growing on you, Scott?
I get the sense, so far, as a building, it's struggling a little.
I'm finding my way as I go.
Being careful how I say it - I like to think things over a little first.
-But yet, this room is very much more to my taste.
-Imagine having a big farmhouse table here.
And access out of the kitchen as well,
which is something we miss having.
In size and space, it does go on a bit.
There's this huge range and fitted units
and that really does make it.
Oh, definitely. Yes.
And the tiles are very much in keeping with the Victorian style.
-Through there, you have a utility room.
Downstairs cloak room. All right.
I can see I'll have to work quite hard on this one.
Let's go upstairs and see what you make of that because I think,
in terms of space, that's where you really gain in a building like this.
OK. Let's have a look.
Scott and Lorraine don't seem to be getting on with this lovely house.
It's much larger than the last but will they be swayed
by space over character?
-Through the baby gate.
In terms of bedrooms, let's start with this.
-Something of a guest room at the moment.
-Yeah, it's nice. Good size.
-I like the windows.
-Big, sash windows.
-It's a good size room.
-Come on, there's a but lurking in your mind.
-Only cosmetic buts.
I personally wouldn't paint the floor white -
you'd be forever touching it up.
I'd leave it stripped. It is fairly cosmetic.
-In fairness, it's not the very cosy cottage that we've seen before.
No. And I think that's it. We were spoilt before!
The mood has definitely dropped after the last house.
Nevertheless, this is a beautiful property
and the next two bedrooms are just as immaculately decorated.
What's more, the bathroom doesn't need attention either,
so, last stop, the master.
-OK, this is currently the master.
-Airy, light. Original features.
-It's a room, with four walls.
-What more can you really say?
That's one of the things about this style of architecture.
Maybe the question is whether Victorian is the style for you.
Mmm, something to consider.
It's very sameish from room to room.
A lot of the features have been painted over in white.
It's quite difficult to get that Victorian feel from it.
-But after we've seen the last property, it is quite a contrast.
-A stark contrast.
So, that's the house inside. Pretty much.
But the garden has one or two interesting features,
-not least, this, Scott. Double garage.
So again, thinking about this brewery, it could all happen,
for a while at least, in there.
The other thing is that there are some industrial units
in the village, so you could have it separate.
-It might be another option.
-Might well be.
And you've got the playing field attached to the school,
-which you get the use of at weekends.
-Great for the children.
This property has lots going for it
but I get the feeling it's not exciting them.
But what will they make of the garden?
-A nice little sun trap here.
-A rambling Victorian garden. Pretty, isn't it?
Well, let's think about the price, Lorraine.
-Maybe that will have a bearing on things.
-I'd say about 380.
-Actually, I was thinking a little less.
-I may be miles out but I was thinking more like 365.
I feel there's a little bit of money could be spent here.
And compared to the last property... That's what does it.
I think we're biased towards the last one.
I suspect that's entirely what's going on because you do,
I think, yard for yard, probably get more house here.
The village location here is a highly sought-after place.
That is good, yeah.
This is on the market for...
-You were far closer than I.
-Still a bit out!
Well, still both out.
In fairness, a lot of work has been done, the kitchen, a lot
of the reception rooms downstairs, they've had a lot of attention.
OK. Go and have another look around.
Have a good think and I'll catch up later.
This Victorian house might not have the cosy cottage features but
it is a large family home, next to a school and in a desirable location.
At a shade under £400,000, it has a kitchen diner, four bedrooms,
a garage that could accommodate the brewery
and a garden large enough to take small animals and a vegetable patch.
This house would be great for the children but will it get them
thinking about moving the business?
This is definitely my favourite room in the place.
Oh, it's lovely, isn't it. With the range cooker.
You wouldn't need to do anything in here. It's ready to go.
-It's a good size.
-Yeah, very nice indeed.
It's different to what I was expecting.
It's clearly a lovely family house. It's spacious.
This property is in a lovely location,
right next to the school, it would be perfect for the children.
It's got a lovely kitchen, with a range cooker,
-which I would really like.
-The rooms are quite boxy.
Personally, I'd prefer a lounge with more room to spread out.
Also, it's very close to a school and
if I were potentially working here all day, the noise might get to me.
-Hello! Well, there we are.
-We're halfway through our house search.
-There's plenty more to show you. Come on.
Scott and Lorraine will be looking for plenty of ideas for family days out when they move.
Top of my list would be the Llama Tree Gardens,
created by one of my great archaeological heroes from the past, Augustus Henry Lane Fox.
As an archaeologist and keen gardener, I couldn't resist a visit to this wonderful venue.
Lane Fox, an army general, inherited the Rushmore Estate
on the Cranbourne Chase in 1880
on the proviso he changed his name to Pitt-Rivers.
It was here that he embarked
on pursuing his passion for archaeology and education.
And he's regarded by many as the father of English archaeology.
Adrian Green from the Salisbury Museum knows more about
this remarkable man and I'm meeting him in front of the singing theatre which is still in use today.
Now for any of us interested in history, the name Pitt-Rivers is unrivalled, in some respects,
but I had no idea he was such a keen gardener.
Nor did I until I came and worked here two years ago.
We've all heard that he was a very famous archaeologist,
but not that he'd set up gardens in Cranborne Chase.
This is a place that, I suspect, is all about fun and less about formal gardening.
Absolutely. A way of drawing people in.
In the 19th century, all this area was covered in private estates
and working people would not have had access to places like this.
He created something here that would lure people in, because what he also had here was some serious learning.
There was the fun here, but in Farnham,
there was a museum which was full of all his archaeological discoveries from the local area.
He thought, if I've got the museum, why not have gardens and make a day of it.
It's an extraordinary thought that this man created these gardens
-just to get people interested in history.
'By 1899, the gardens, with their ornate buildings, wonderful shrub borders and water features,
'were an enormously popular theme park, attracting 44,000 visitors a year.
'But, unfortunately, they later fell into disrepair.
'With the help of English Heritage,
'they've been restored to their former glory to be enjoyed once again.'
What is it for you that really sets Pitt-Rivers apart as an archaeologist?
His attention to detail.
He recorded the sites, where the objects were found. He produced detailed plans of them.
He even published what he did, which was pretty ahead of his time.
There were four volumes like this one full of all his archaeological finds.
It's an invaluable resource for modern archaeologists.
The fact that it ended up in his hands
really has left us something for the future that we all still enjoy.
He said that it was like some unforeseen hand
had passed the estate to him so he could follow his passions.
We can come here still, come to the Llama Tree gardens
and also walk in his footsteps across the estate, exploring the landscape that's here today.
'It is, without doubt, a stunning and peaceful place and I'm sure it will be high up on anyone's list
'of family days out. But as the last of the sun fades over Dorset,
'Scott and Lorraine have a recap on the house hunt so far.'
What are your thoughts on the Grade II listed property we viewed?
Well, that was fantastic. It blew me away when I saw it.
Bags of character. The fireplaces were fantastic.
-All that exposed wood.
-I can just see us living there.
-The garden was beautiful.
-And what about the brewery? Would that fit in there?
It would be fairly easy to fit that in, certainly initially.
I could run it from there for some time, I would think.
-It would take a lot to beat it, wouldn't it?
-It would, definitely.
What did you think of the Victorian house?
I didn't really know what to make of it. It's a lovely family home.
I felt the bedrooms and the living room downstairs were a bit boxy.
I'd have liked a lounge I could spread out in a bit more.
Having said that, I loved the kitchen.
-That was a good size.
-Very nice. And the utility room.
What about the brewery? Nowhere to put that.
I didn't think it was ideally located,
right next to a school playground.
-It was a lovely spot for the children.
-But not the brewery.
They've both been very interesting.
-Two more to view tomorrow.
-Yeah, it's early days.
I can't wait to see what else they have in store for us.
'Scott and Lorraine from Addlestone in Surrey want to relocate their family and brewing business
'to North Dorset and have a budget of up to £430,000 that they hope will make their dream come true.
'So far, they've viewed one house which got them excited, but coming up, we leave Lorraine speechless.'
What about this for a kitchen?
My goodness. Wow, I don't know what to say.
'But will they be raising their glasses or crying into their beers by the end of the day?'
-You're confusing us now.
Well, it's the Mystery House, haha!
Here we are. Our final day's house hunt here in Dorset
and there it is, stretching away behind me,
this absolutely glorious county.
It's perfectly clear that Scott and Lorraine have fallen in love with this place and they've also,
it seems, fallen in love with one of our properties.
The question is, can we better it today?
Two more to come including the Mystery House.
Let's see how we go.
Well, we've had you in Dorset for a little while now.
It's not an area that you've known that well.
Now you've seen a bit more of it, are you sure you want to move?
Very much so. It's not as flat as I was expecting.
The scenery is far more hilly and you can see it, as well, because the hedges aren't too high.
It definitely feels like home to me already. It's great.
-That's a good sign.
I know that you have kind of fallen in love with a property already.
-So we've got to see if we can better that.
-I think that's quite a tall order, isn't it?
'We're heading east this morning to the village of Holwell.
'At two-and-a-half hours, it is furthest from Surrey,
'but it's such a cracking property, we couldn't overlook it.'
Hazelbury Bryan, just three miles away,
is a tidy and attractive village with a popular pub and a village store.
The house we've come to see dates back to the early 19th century
and has all the character Scott and Lorraine crave.
-There we are.
-Wow, that looks great.
-Our first offering on our final day's house hunt.
-That looks really good.
-I like the look of that.
-It's got a sort of farmhouse feel to it.
-Plenty of character.
-Yeah, looks very pretty.
-Scott, a big double garage for you there.
-You may even want to make that bigger over time.
But you could get going in there with the brewery.
Yes, it'd certainly be a start.
-I can't wait to see the rest of it.
-Let's not hang around!
If Scott is having doubts about the size of the garage
he could rent an industrial unit and enjoy the benefit of the brewery not being on their doorstep.
-Right, in we go.
As you can see, utility room and boot room etc. You've got two doors to this place.
This is the back door and it leads on to the kitchen through here.
-There we are, Lorraine.
Wow, now that's what I call a farmhouse kitchen. Brilliant.
-With a range cooker.
I thought this was kind of what you had in mind, Lorraine.
Yeah, rustic feel to it, brilliant. Really like it.
Through there, we've got you a study area too.
What are you thinking, Scott?
I'm lost for words, really. It's got a lovely feel.
-It has a warm feel as soon as you come through the door.
-Yeah, yeah, cosy cottage.
It's looking good.
It's looking good? Well, let's see if it keeps looking good.
Come with me. We're going into the older bit. Have a look at this.
Oh, my word, that's spectacular.
That is very nice.
-That's really good.
-Full of character.
-Full of character. The inglenook there has a flue in it.
-There's no wood burner...
-It could be put back into use?
Do you do a lot of dining?
-Yeah, we do like to sit around the table to eat.
-There you go.
Great for Sunday roasts.
-You're painting the picture, Scott.
This is all good. I can see it, I'll be around for lunch with you! Good.
All right. Come through here, here's the living room,
-full of lots more lovely features as well.
Look at that fireplace. Looks good.
-And nicely out the way, too.
-When you've had dinner, you can tuck yourselves away down here.
-Relax here. Brilliant.
-It's cosy without being too small as well.
-There's enough room to spread out.
-It's nice and light as well.
This house exudes character and warmth, everything that I think Scott and Lorraine are looking for,
and the conservatory off the lounge is a real bonus.
But next for us, let's go upstairs.
-You've got a bath and shower room in there.
-A little boxroom in here.
-Right. That's a good size, yeah.
-Cosy little room.
And this is really the main guest room...
-..which I'd be very happy with if I was staying here.
-Definitely, that's perfect.
-Lots of space and lots of character. And a place that you can really grow into.
I can see that.
Yeah, I can too.
OK, good. Right, well, there's two more bedrooms to see.
Let's continue. Off you go, down there.
So of the four bedrooms, number three is in here.
A little boxroom, currently a nursery.
But of the two bathrooms, this one, I think, is really the family bathroom.
-Wow, that is a good size.
-Goodness me, that's a much better size, isn't it?
Interestingly, it's right next door to the master bedroom,
so you could punch through that wall, potentially, and give yourselves an en suite.
-That's worth thinking about.
-I like the sound of that.
A bit more work for you, Scott. Oh, well!
-So, finally, the master bedroom.
-Wow. That is good.
-That's more like it, isn't it? That's a good size, really good.
-Windows on three sides.
-Really love it.
Excellent. Right. Let's have a look outside in the garden because I know that is important to you.
-Let's see what you make of it.
'There's bags of room in this house for the whole family
'and I think the children are going to love the garden.'
Hooray. As we start to go through the garden, you'll get the idea that it's in sort of zones, as it were.
A little formal area here, box hedging and so forth.
But the lawn is great. This, I think the kids would have a lot of fun in.
-Yes, nice size.
-Some very mature fruit trees. Yeah, lovely.
-I think this is a garden you could have a lot of fun in.
-It's lovely. A great size.
-Now then, chickens.
-Yes, plenty of room for them.
-Chickens, I think you've got bags of room for that if you need it.
Plus, also, vegetables. Come and have a look at this.
This all went in about five years ago, the structure and the hedge and so forth. Potatoes there.
-It's all ready to go, isn't it?
-Some parsley over there.
-And lots of little fruit bushes here, too, which is quite interesting.
Little greenhouse there.
So all the kind of messy business of hardcore organic gardening
-happens out the way in a very organised little space.
Wow, it all looks very good, it all sounds very good, but, Jules, can we afford it?
Well, that's the million-dollar question.
Let's have a little stroll back onto the lawn, shall we, and think about it?
I wonder what figures have been running through your minds as we've walked through this property.
All right, well let's get it over and done with.
Let's talk about the difficult bit.
You've got 430 maximum.
-Well, I think 440.
Little bit over budget. Yeah, OK.
I think it's definitely got to be towards the top end of our budget.
So I think I'm going to go with 430.
430. What if it was 440, just 10 grand over?
I'd be disappointed.
Well, don't be disappointed, Lorraine, because it's not 440 and it's not 430, Scott.
This can be yours for £425,000.
-That's good news.
-I'd say that was very good news.
It's got so much of what we're looking for.
-It really will be a serious contender for us.
Right, well, go and have a look around this serious contender and I'll catch up with you later.
Brilliant. £425,000 for a property that really is a viable proposition for Lorraine and for Scott.
Not only does it offer all the accommodation they're after but it has a wonderfully warm feel.
And that's one of the things about looking around houses.
Sometimes they do just scream out, and this is one of them. It's a real winner.
At £425,000, this characterful home is tucked just under their budget.
It's clear they love the house and if size is an issue in the garage,
will they consider other options for the business?
So what do you think about this for the brewery?
It's not really ideal.
The roof height's not here, there's not enough floor space.
But we could temporarily or permanently put it in a local trading estate,
which is something we could seriously look at.
I really like this house. It's a great place, a lovely garden, plenty of space,
the rooms have all got character.
I can see there's quite a bit of work here for me to do
but I'm not particularly put off by that because there would be no rush to get that done.
It's just perfect. I love the farmhouse feel to it.
It has four bedrooms, a large kitchen,
it's got a large garden which I can see the children, the cats and the chickens running around in.
So, yes, it definitely ticks all the right boxes.
I don't think the business would work here. There isn't the space for the brewery.
Having said that, the division between home life and work life has been blurred for a long time,
so I will be quite happy to put it elsewhere, locally maybe, in an industrial unit or something.
-Hello, how are you?
Enjoying what might be your garden, who knows? Definite contender?
-Brilliant. It's not over yet, though, plenty more to see.
Meet the latest celebrity pet.
From Jamie Oliver to the Duchess of Richmond,
it seems keeping chickens is now all the rage.
So it's not surprising Scott and Lorraine want to do the same.
Over the last year, the number of battery hens that have been rehomed
by the Battery Hen Welfare Trust has hit a staggering 61,000.
But if you're looking for something fancier,
there are a huge number of different breeds to choose from.
Helen Crapnell, a local chicken breeder,
is ready to give them the lowdown on these feathered friends.
-Would you like to come and see what we do?
-We would. Great.
-Come this way.
People often choose the ones they like the look of.
However, each one of them has its own characteristics.
All the breeds are different.
The Partridge Wyandottes, they're quite docile birds.
They're nice to have around, and they look absolutely beautiful.
When they're fully grown, the partridge markings are very, very pretty.
-Are they expensive to keep?
-They're not expensive.
I mean, if you're keeping them at home,
you can feed them not only on poultry food,
but you can also give them scraps as well, leftover vegetables.
You can supplement their diet, which obviously keeps the costs down.
Hens cost anything from £25 upwards, depending on the breed,
but cost as little as 40p a week to feed.
They are relatively easy to keep,
but there are essentials you need to adhere to.
These are our Silver Partridge Pekins.
Once a month, we like to have a look at our birds
and just give them a check-over to make sure everything's OK.
So we would get them out and feel the weight of them,
just have a general look at them, have a look in their feathers
and see there's any sign of lice or anything.
We give a preventative covering of powder once a month,
because they do get lice. You do need to, unfortunately, now,
watch out for people stealing your chickens.
-With the popularity of keeping chickens,
the incidence of poultry theft has increased dramatically.
And, obviously, they need to be protected from the fox.
So you'll need to be shutting them up every night.
And look out for dogs, as well.
But she's very friendly and she would quickly tame.
-Would you like to hold her?
-Ooh, yes, please!
-There we go.
Ahh. Isn't she lovely?
Do you think the children would like her?
-Oh, I would think so!
-There's no question about it.
-They're so cute!
I don't know about the children - I think Lorraine looks quite comfortable!
All we need to do now is find the family a home.
Well, at long last, it is Mystery House time.
To be honest, I would love to offer Scott and Lorraine something like this.
But, clearly, that would challenge their budget but so, too,
will the Mystery House but if I'm honest, I think it is a challenge worth taking on.
It is time to reveal that our mystery house is in Stalbridge,
11 miles south-west of Shaftesbury and about a 2.25 hour journey
back to valued clients in Surrey.
With under 3,000 residents,
Stalbridge is Dorset's smallest town.
It has a good selection of independent shops yet retains
a relatively laid-back feel so Scott and Lorraine need not worry about being in the thick of a busy town.
Our Mystery House is believed to date back to the 17th century and is Grade 2 listed.
With a possible business sweetener in store, it is a proposition too good to overlook.
OK. Our final offering on our little tour of the properties of Northern Dorset. The Mystery House.
-Wow, that is different, isn't it?
-It is very different.
It is allowed to be, it is the Mystery House but it's very different in some respects.
We often use that word TARDIS, it is thrown around a lot but this is genuinely something of a TARDIS.
-Although, technically, it is a semi,
which I know you didn't want...
-That's true, yeah.
-Trust us on this one.
When you get inside, you'll see why we brought you here. It is quite extraordinary.
-We trust you.
-We'll keep an open mind.
-Good, let's have a look.
-Right. In you come.
There we are, one of two reception rooms we've got for you.
-What do you think?
-I like it.
It's great, a really good size.
A very striking fireplace.
-A real feature, isn't it?
Not what I was expecting.
What about this for a kitchen?
Oh, my goodness! Wow, it's incredible!
It's completely different to anything I've seen.
-It's contemporary mixed with traditional but it looks like a lot of fun.
Behind us we've got a walk-in pantry and through that door is a downstairs cloakroom.
We started in the 17th century, this is now the 18th century,
giant leap forward through this doorway to the 21st century.
Come and have a look.
-It looks great, a great dining area.
-An all-inclusive space in which to dine, relax, have the kids doing their homework.
-It's nice and light.
-It is a great living area.
-You're confusing us now.
Well, it's the Mystery House!
This house offers plenty of space for Scott and Lorraine's family and back off the hall,
there's a further reception room that could be ideal as a playroom.
It also houses the staircase, which leads up to five bedrooms.
The whole TARDIS thing continues up here.
There are five bedrooms, of course. There is one in there.
That is a good size.
-I'll rattle through them.
-One there overlooking the road.
Again, the kids could have these rooms for the next ten years.
And then we have got three of five again, another great size.
Wow. That is good. I'm just blown away by it all.
There is another one up there, number four.
Let's have a look at the master.
So, there we are.
Last but not least, the master.
-And the view.
That is impressive.
The view is amazing. The room is a little on the small side.
Plenty of storage, though. That is always an issue with us, storage.
How are we doing? On a scale?
Higher than I was expecting. 8.5.
You had no faith in the Mystery House, I am so disappointed.
That is a score I'm happy with and the bathroom next door, although small, is beautifully put together.
But now I'm really looking forward to showing off what lies outside.
Just when you thought you'd seen it all here, there is a lot more out here.
A very useful garage space for you, Scott, and down here we've got
-this range of buildings, which are really interesting.
-There we are.
Wouldn't this make a really pretty...brewhouse?
-It would, it certainly would.
You've done well here, certainly.
But it gets better, because...
-You wanted a big garden.
-How about an acre?
Out you go.
-We've talked a lot about vegetables on our property tours.
-How about that?
-That's very well organised.
A nice little kitchen garden for you. And down there, an orchard.
A great place for the kids to play around in.
All the games and the dens. Look at these apple trees.
What about making cider?
Yeah. Let's give it a go.
OK, let's stop here, shall we?
It does go on a little further but it gives you an idea that
this very long acre offers all sorts of possibilities.
It's fantastic, the children will be blown away with it.
-They'd be overwhelmed.
Let's talk about the money.
Cos this is quite a tricky one here.
You've got 430. I think we all know which side of that this property is going to be.
It's way over our budget, I would have thought. I don't know.
Closer to 500, I would have said.
The only thing is, being semi-detached that might be in our favour slightly on the value.
It's a real difficult call, this one.
I'm going to push my luck and say 450.
450, gosh, I wish it were.
I honestly wish it was.
You are much closer to the truth.
-It was on the market for the best part of £600,000.
It's now on the market for 499.
-Yes, it's 70,000 over budget, let's not pretend that is not a small amount of money
but because this property fits you so well,
we thought it was worth showing it to you.
The other point to make is this area has been recently allocated
quite a substantial sum for investing in new business in the area
that's in support of tourism, the agrarian economy and local employment.
That is a cool pot of £2.85 million in grants that are available.
You as a business coming into the area that's looking to expand
and employ people and so forth,
from our very brief conversations with them,
we're lead to understand that it's the sort of thing that might be of interest.
Which may help you
look ahead through your business plan to find that extra £70,000
with a kind of medium-term view on where you're going to be.
It's certainly worth pursuing.
I think it's certainly worth pursuing. It's a few phone calls, a couple of letters.
There might be an interest free scheme that might allow you to say, "We love this house so much,
"It works for us as a business, as a location and as a family home, let's try and make it."
At a shade under £500,000, this house is an interesting proposition.
It has three reception rooms, the farmhouse-style kitchen they crave,
five bedrooms and an outbuilding to accommodate their business.
It is 70 grand over budget but it has everything they want
and options they can investigate.
It is, without doubt, worthy of consideration.
It is everything that I'm looking for personally.
You can walk out of the front door on to the high street, everything is within walking distance.
You wouldn't even know when you came into the house.
It feels like a really happy home
but most of all, this room here is just what I'm looking for.
But it's out of our reach.
This property for me has it all.
It has a beautiful kitchen, lovely spacious rooms,
five bedrooms and those views are stunning.
An acre of land, what more could you ask for?
It's something to consider, even though it is really over budget.
I'm going to take some steps, make some enquiries
about that grant system and see what we can come up with.
But I love this place.
That's all I can really say.
-I thought you would enjoy this one.
-We certainly have.
I'm afraid that's it, guys, house tours are now over.
That was the Mystery House.
-You have got, I suspect, some thinking to do.
-I should say so.
Let's get you somewhere where you can do just that
-and then I will press you for some kind of decision.
Come on, follow me.
Scott and Lorraine's property tour of North Dorset has thrown up some interesting options
but now it's time to weigh up the pros and cons.
Now, throughout all of our house tours, Lorraine and Scott
have consistently said that we have given them an awful lot to think about.
We make even, I dare say, have caused a little bit of confusion,
which, to be honest, is no bad thing.
But to take the pain out of the decision-making process,
I thought, "How about a picnic?"
-Well, guys, what a lovely place to end our house search.
There is only one thing wrong with this, we're not drinking your beer!
I'm sure we can remedy that in the future.
I certainly hope so. I suppose the burning question is, have we found you some way in which to make it?
I think you certainly have found us somewhere to make it, unfortunately, it's a bit out of our reach.
Let's have a think about all the things we've shown you.
It all started with the lovely little cottage with a great, big wooden barn outside.
That was special.
It was an adorable place.
Full of character, beautiful inside.
A very charming place.
-I thought you were going to write a cheque there and then.
It's still a consideration, I would have thought.
-So we are keeping that one in the air?
Well, then we went to the old headmaster's house.
-Well, it was...
There was nothing wrong with the property,
but it wasn't quite what we were looking for.
-Was it because it was too white? Was it as simple as that?
-We could see past that.
-Just the style of the property, I think.
-It hasn't got that cosy, cottage feel to it.
All right, well, another day came.
We all slept on what we'd seen
and we took you to that lovely great, big farmhouse. Big garden.
-I thought it was very nice indeed.
The kitchen, you loved, didn't you?
That was definitely it for me.
A farmhouse feel to it, rustic, beautiful.
-It's a strong contender.
OK, it wasn't quite over, cos then we took you to the Mystery House.
-Yes, confused us.
-It certainly put a spanner in the works.
I said it was a TARDIS and I think you'll agree it was.
My goodness me, yes.
I couldn't believe it. I thought it was never going to end.
Especially when we were going out the garden. The children would have loved that.
It was a bit overwhelming.
In terms of the brewery,
that was a fascinating outbuilding, too.
It was pretty much the way it needs to be for me to get straight in there get brewing and get it set up.
We have avenues we can explore still, the grants that you mentioned
and I'm going to make some tentative enquiries to see if we can get anywhere with that.
Interesting. You have pre-empted my final question which is,
what will you do about any of these houses?
It sounds as if you have made your mind up in some respects.
We have but we need to explore it a little further.
-Have you enjoyed the process?
-It's been brilliant, thank you very much.
-Well, that is our pleasure.
I do hope we have got some way to finding your ideal dream home and somewhere you can start
making beer and next time, Scott, when I see you down in Dorset, I hope I'm not drinking this.
-I hope I am drinking yours.
-Consider it done.
Cheers, guys. Well done.
-Best of luck.
You know, in some respects, this has been a funny old house search, really.
We started with a very clear budget of £430,000 and certainly found
Scott and Lorraine two very viable properties that came uncomfortably under that at a cool 425,000.
But the Mystery House really did throw a spanner in the works at a whopping 70,000 over budget.
Now, that is nothing to be sniffed at, it has to be said.
But maybe the moral of the story, when you are buying a house,
it is a long-term decision and also they are looking at a business.
So maybe the point is, aim high and you will get what you want.
I'll see you next time.
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