Dorset Escape to the Country


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Dorset

Property series. Alistair Appleton is house-hunting in Dorset with a couple looking for a modern house in a county famous for its old, typically English cottages.


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You can't really tell from up here,

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but I'm standing on one of the biggest and most eye-catching chalk figures in Britain.

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For centuries, maidens from the village down there would sneak up here at night

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and lie on the figure in the hope of becoming pregnant.

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So where is this most fertile corner of Britain? Find out as we escape to the country.

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'In today's show, I'll be helping a couple set sail

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'from the island of Jersey to a new life on the mainland.

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'But it's not all plain sailing.'

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What a lovely hallway.

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-This is not actually a hallway. It's the dining room.

-Right. OK.

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-'So will they be dropping anchor?'

-That is something else.

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'Or will they be cast adrift?'

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-I can't believe that.

-Unbelievable.

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I'm in Dorset and this is the Cerne Abbas Giant.

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At 55 metres tall, the biggest chalk figure in the country.

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While his links to fertility are fairly obvious,

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it's still unclear when exactly he was carved.

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Some people think it was thousands of years ago and that he depicts Hercules with his club.

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Other people date him back to the 1600s,

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as a disgruntled reaction by local villagers to Oliver Cromwell's Puritanism.

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Whatever his origins, he's a striking addition

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to the already very striking Dorset countryside.

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Stretching across 87 miles of England's south coast,

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Dorset is bordered by Somerset and Devon to the west,

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Hampshire to the east and Wiltshire to the north.

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A poet and novelist, Thomas Hardy was born here over 150 years ago

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but he could have been talking about today's Dorset

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when he titled his book, Far From The Madding Crowd,

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because without a single mile of motorway, Dorset is a blissful county

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the 21st Century seems to have passed by.

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Its landscape is rich and varied with a stunning coastline,

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England's first World Heritage Site.

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Much of the county's agriculture revolves around the dairy industry,

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as can be seen in its fields.

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Around 150 scenic villages are speckled throughout this delightful county,

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about half of which is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty.

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Dorchester, its county town, so inspired Hardy

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that he based the fictional town of Casterbridge upon it.

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With such tranquil surroundings and more sunshine than anywhere else in the UK,

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it's hardly surprising Dorset has become an exclusive place to live,

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away from the mainstream.

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At just over two hours train ride from London,

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Dorset is just outside the expensive commuter belt

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and yet property here is roughly £50,000 above the national average.

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Why is that then?

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Firstly, it's a great place to retire.

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Three of the top ten retirement towns in the UK are in Dorset.

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But even if you have little ones, there's great education

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and a very low crime rate, 40% below the national average.

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If you add to that the fact that more than half the county

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is an area of outstanding natural beauty,

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the whole package is very attractive.

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If all that has whetted your appetite,

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have a look at some of the beautiful properties on the market right now.

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Set in 13 acres of land, with fields of lavender and four stables,

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this detached farmhouse is an outdoor person's dream.

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And with four double bedrooms, a magnificent kitchen diner

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with minstrels gallery and exposed A-frame timbers, the inside is a vision too.

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It's on the market for £975,000.

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For £600,000, one could buy this elegant Grade Two listed regency town house with five bedrooms.

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It's charm personified with a wonderfully panelled dinning room,

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delightful drawing room with an ornate fireplace,

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and a quite splendidly large sitting room.

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And last but not least, good things come in threes.

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This detached cottage has three double bedrooms

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and is surrounded on three sides by a pretty garden.

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Inside, there's a light reception room

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and stunning triple aspect kitchen diner.

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The price? £395,000.

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I told you they were beautiful but are they beautiful enough for today's buyers? Let's meet them.

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Today's show is all about island hopping.

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We've come to Jersey to meet Bob and Susanne,

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who have lived here together since 1993.

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So why on earth do they want to leave this idyllic Channel island

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to cross over to the mainland?

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Some people think we're mad to leave Jersey

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with all these lovely beaches, the sand and the sea.

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But in the UK, we can visit friends and family.

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We can just get in the car and drive to see them.

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Susanne is Jersey born and bred and I do wonder

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whether this island escape will be a real wrench for her.

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It doesn't bother me, leaving the island. I was born here.

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I've left the island before. I've lived in England before.

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I've lived in Dubai. It's not a problem.

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How will they feel about leaving the three bed house that they've lived in for just 18 months?

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Leaving this house is not a problem because we haven't been here long

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and I can look forward to another challenge of getting another garden sorted out.

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-It might be already sorted for you.

-It might be.

-Yes.

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Then what will I do?!

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But this isn't just an escape to the country,

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it's an escape to a different country.

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But where exactly do they want to move?

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We would like to move to Dorset

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because we have a lot of friends in Dorset

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and the children are spread around within half a day's drive.

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So Susanne and Bob have sent out an SOS and we're here to help.

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But what are they looking for in their new home?

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We need three bedrooms, an ensuite bathroom.

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We must have an open plan lounge and dining room, a large kitchen.

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And a decent cooker in the kitchen.

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-Well, that's... You really are...

-I'm being fussy now!

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You're being fussy now!

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Susanne might be a little picky about her appliances,

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but then Bob's rather choosy about his garden.

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I would like a much more open aspect garden,

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where I can have a greenhouse, a shed, not surrounded by trees

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and that allows everything to grow much better.

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We put a lot of time and effort into making this house just how we want it

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but we are surrounded by houses from wherever we look.

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-We'd like a place with lovely country views.

-That's right.

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Bob may be about to join Susanne in retirement, but these two aren't winding down just yet.

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In fact, it sounds like they'll be busier than ever.

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We would like a bigger kitchen.

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We'd like a bigger table so we can have friends and family round

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and we can sit round the table and it'll be really sociable.

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Before Susanne and Bob can move to the mainland, they'll need to sell their home in Jersey,

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so we've asked a local agent to give them a valuation.

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It's a good-size family home. It's very close to buses, beaches.

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It's been refurbished to a high standard

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and in my opinion, the value is £825,000.

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That's a significant sum of money

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but how much of it will go towards their new home?

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If we found a house that really ticked every box and it was perfect,

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we would go to about five hundred.

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Yes, I think that's fair enough. Yes, definitely.

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For their half million pound budget,

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Bob and Susanne want a nice, contemporary property,

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three bedrooms, big kitchen diner, big garden.

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Essentially, what they want is their 1970s house in Jersey transported here to Dorset,

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which would be possible because there are new builds here.

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But it would be a shame because we'd miss out on all the period properties

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that make this county so special.

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We'll mainly be house hunting in the north of the county around the town of Sherborne.

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I'll be showing Bob and Susanne four Dorset homes to die for

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and I won't reveal their prices until after they've looked around.

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And we'll be taking them to a mystery house.

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A property they might not have considered themselves.

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Welcome to Dorset. How was your flight?

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-It was fine.

-It was lovely. On time.

-Yes, it was good.

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But you still have to get a flight to visit.

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-That's right. Or a boat.

-Or a boat, yes.

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-Is that one of the reasons why you're moving?

-Yes.

-Yes.

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-So that we can actually get in the car and drive somewhere.

-Radical!

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It's so exciting!

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Jersey's only about 45 square miles in total, isn't it?

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-Yes, it is.

-Tiny.

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-And you've been planning this for five years.

-Off and on.

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-Things have been happening.

-What's been holding you back?

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Not giving up work, then we had more or less planned last year

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and the economy put a slight dampener on things.

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So we decided to delay it a year. So we're ready to go now.

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-It's not cold feet though, is it?

-No.

-No. Not at all.

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-It's always been some external factor.

-Right.

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It's interesting because you want a contemporary, spacious house.

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Lots of...

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You know, not too cottagey,

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and yet Dorset is famous for its cottages.

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I know.

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Having seen a lot of them,

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they look lovely but we've had houses in the past

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and we've had to do them up and we thought, not again.

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We'd like something with a lot of light. I'm not terribly keen on tiny windows

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Reasonably flexible but there are certain yeses and no's.

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How reasonably flexible is your budget?

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I always like to know!

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We said five hundred but five fifty would be possible.

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We'll work on five hundred because that's quite a healthy budget.

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-But it's always nice to have a little extra in the pot.

-Yes.

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We've got lots of nice houses. You're spoilt for choice in Dorset.

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-And the mystery house, which is a bit different. Are you ready?

-Yes.

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Bob and Susanne are looking to spend half a million pounds

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on a modern house in a county packed with old English cottages.

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Hopefully we can find something to convince them

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to make that hop across the Channel.

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Are you excited to be finally in Dorset, actually looking at properties?

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Of course. Very excited.

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What about the countryside? Is it very different from Jersey? I've never been to Jersey.

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Very different. It's much more open.

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It seems much greener, which is lovely.

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Our first house is in the rural hamlet of West Orchard,

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just four miles from Sturminster Newton.

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Sturminster Newton, known to the locals as Stur, is a small market town.

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Until 1988, it was the home to one of Britain's largest livestock markets

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and the economy of the area is still dominated by dairy farming.

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Many delightful stone and thatched cottages

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can be found around the town centre, where there are plenty of charming shops.

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About one third of Sturminster's population are retired

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so there should be plenty of new friends for retiree Susanne and husband Bob.

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The house we're taking them to is surrounded by some gorgeous countryside.

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Roll up, step right in for the greatest five-bedroom house in West Orchard.

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-Gosh! All of it?

-All of it.

-All this is one house?

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-All this could be yours.

-It's fabulous.

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It was originally two cottages and it was extended in the '60s

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and then extended again by the present owners.

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-You wouldn't know it to look at it.

-It's been done sympathetically.

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Perhaps a bit more rural than we'd first thought we'd be looking for.

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But you've got to look at the inside of the house

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and if the inside is fantastic, it might be a consideration.

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Can't wait to have a look inside.

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Susanne is certainly keeping her options open. Let's hope she finds what she's looking for inside.

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What a lovely hallway.

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-This is actually not a hallway. This is the dining room.

-Right.

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Although it's very long, it's a narrow property. It would have been two cottages.

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It's still a welcoming room to walk into, whether it's the dining room or hallway.

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It's still welcoming. It's nice.

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So after a faltering start, the dining room seems to have won through.

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'Next door is the sitting room.'

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-This is the new extension.

-It's cosy. It's an OK size, isn't it?

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-Yes.

-It's the two of us most of the time.

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We used to have a big lounge. This is fine for just the two of us.

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-And you've got underfloor heating.

-That's amazing.

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So it's nice and snug in the winter.

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You've also got a radiator and a log burner so you can be really snug.

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You would. Perfectly. Adequately heated.

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I know the kitchen is important, so let's go and look in there.

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Thankfully, the sitting room has got a better reaction

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and on the other side of the house is some of the open plan living they're looking for.

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-Oh, yes.

-This is nice. Lovely.

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-Is it good?

-Yes.

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You've got a range. That does the heating in the winter. That heats your water.

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You've also got all the mod cons. Is it what you were looking for?

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Yes. It's big enough to eat in. That was the important thing.

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To be able to have a table and chairs you can sit at.

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Then you've got the window opening out with a nice open aspect.

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You've got a very nice utility room and a big pantry.

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Then it all flows into this space too.

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Downstairs bathroom. A little office space.

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And then, ta-dah!

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-A sun room. That's nice.

-Lovely open aspect.

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-A view of the fields. That's really nice.

-Lovely and light.

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-Would you use this?

-I think I would.

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You'd sit and read in here, wouldn't you?

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Yes, I definitely would use this.

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You'd probably spend more time at this end of the house.

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That would be more the entertaining end.

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Actual living, you'd live at this end.

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'The downstairs seems to have hit the right note.

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'Let's see what they make of the upstairs.'

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This is going into the modern end of the house.

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OK. Good size. Nice wooden floors.

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Yes, good thick pine floors.

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A little Juliet balcony.

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-Oh, yes, that's sweet.

-Look over your land.

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We'll talk about that later.

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-What do you think of the size of the bedrooms?

-This is a really nice sized room, I like this.

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The en suites have been done very tastefully.

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There are a total of five bedrooms here.

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Another double with en suite bathroom, a single,

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a third double, currently with a single bed and family bathroom.

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'But what will they make of the master bedroom?'

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They're using this as their main bedroom.

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That's quite small.

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So what do you think about having five bedrooms?

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-We'll use them.

-Will we?

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Yes, not necessarily as bedrooms, but we can have a study.

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True, yes. I could have a sewing room. That's true.

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All falling into place.

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What's nice is you have this lovely view.

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We'll go outside and we can talk about the land and your garden.

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Green-fingered Bob is keen to have a garden not overlooked by trees,

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so I think this space will suit him down to the ground.

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I believe we're entering your realm now, Bob, is that right?

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Yes, the garden is certainly a big enough garden.

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You've already got veggie beds and a greenhouse.

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What's also nice is this field belongs to the village

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and they own it specifically to stop anyone building on it.

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That's interesting. That's good.

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So what do you think it's on the market for?

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I would think maybe it's just under our budget.

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Around 495, I'm estimating.

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I think it could be just over, about 520.

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You two are very good, actually, because it's on the market for 515,

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but it's actually been sold once and that fell through,

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and they took an offer for 500. So between you, you're on the money.

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With that salient piece of information,

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maybe you'd like to go round the house,

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look at the rooms, think about whether they're good,

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and I'll meet you out the front and we can continue.

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-OK, that'd be lovely, thank you.

-Thank you.

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Good guesswork, I have to say, for the first house.

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Especially when you consider they're from Jersey, a different financial ball-game.

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Be interesting to see whether this really offers everything they want,

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and whether the other houses are going to be a disappointment.

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At £515,000, this 19th-century extended cottage

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is on the market slightly over their £500,000 budget.

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It comes with five bedrooms, two en suite bathrooms,

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and outside space complete with greenhouse - ideal for gardener Bob.

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I like the kitchen area like this, going through to the eating area.

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-This works very well, doesn't it?

-Yes.

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When I'm working at the kitchen sink I'll be able to look out to the garden and wish I was out there.

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The garden was certainly big enough. The fact that the second half of the garden was mostly lawn

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would not involve an awful lot of work.

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I wouldn't want much more but it's certainly not too big.

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The location's a little bit rural for what we were looking for,

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but the rooms all work well for me and the gardens were lovely.

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BELL RINGS

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Oh yea, oh yea!

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All prospective home-owners in the Dorset area.

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Moving on out.

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Dorset, round two.

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Although our couple have visited Dorset many times,

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neither of them have explored the stunning and historic town of Sherborne.

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This former capital of Wessex, the ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom,

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is home to a wealth of medieval buildings that should keep them returning again and again.

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Founded in 705AD,

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Sherborne's spectacular abbey is one of the great churches of England.

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Within it are buried two of King Alfred the Great's elder brothers -

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King Ethelbert and King Ethelbald.

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On the edge of town is a 15th-century almshouse,

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still fulfilling its original role, serving as a home for the elderly.

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Sherborne Old Castle is the former residence of the explorer Sir Walter Raleigh,

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which was given to him by Queen Elizabeth in 1592.

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Archivist Anne Smith takes up the story.

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-Hello and welcome to Sherborne Castle.

-Thank you.

0:19:290:19:32

This was the home of Sir Walter Raleigh.

0:19:320:19:36

At first, he lived in the Old Castle, where now you see a ruin.

0:19:360:19:40

But when Raleigh first saw it, it was a complete Norman castle.

0:19:400:19:44

The legend is that Lady Raleigh found it very draughty

0:19:440:19:48

and she persuaded him to build a new house in the deer park attached to the Old Castle.

0:19:480:19:53

What he built was the house behind us.

0:19:530:19:56

-Would you like to come inside and have a look?

-I certainly would.

-Thank you.

0:19:560:20:01

Since 1617, this wonderful stately home has been owned

0:20:010:20:05

and heavily extended by the Digby family, who continue to live there.

0:20:050:20:09

This room was the most important room in Sir Walter Raleigh's house.

0:20:140:20:19

This was his great chamber,

0:20:190:20:21

in which he would have entertained his most important visitors.

0:20:210:20:24

He was a very bookish man, he liked to study,

0:20:240:20:27

but he also liked to have lots of visitors staying in the house.

0:20:270:20:32

It was in this room he put the most important architectural features.

0:20:320:20:36

The wonderful fireplace we see behind us,

0:20:360:20:39

and in the ceiling he put his coat of arms,

0:20:390:20:43

which is still here today.

0:20:430:20:44

This room has layers and layers of history.

0:20:440:20:48

The wallpaper and curtains in this room date from about 1860,

0:20:480:20:53

-and were put in by the Digby family.

-These are the original curtains?

-They are.

0:20:530:20:57

That's amazing.

0:20:570:20:59

Thanks very much for showing us round, it's been very interesting.

0:20:590:21:02

Not at all, you're very welcome.

0:21:020:21:04

Let's hope Suzanne and Bob will find an equal amount of inspiration from our next property,

0:21:070:21:12

which is in Yetminster, around six miles south-west of Sherborne.

0:21:120:21:16

Yetminster is home to one of the oldest street fairs in Dorset,

0:21:160:21:20

that has run almost continually since the 13th century.

0:21:200:21:24

Another claim to fame is that Yetminster gave its name

0:21:240:21:27

to one of England's most popular folk groups, The Yetties, who grew up here.

0:21:270:21:33

Many of the village's striking buildings are made of honey-coloured limestone,

0:21:330:21:37

some dating back as far as the 17th century.

0:21:370:21:40

The property we're taking them to

0:21:400:21:43

lies just behind the village's high street.

0:21:430:21:46

The problem with 17th-century villages, they're full of 17th-century property,

0:21:460:21:50

which tends to be quite small, little windows, dark.

0:21:500:21:53

-So I thought I'd bring you to something in the village, but new.

-OK.

0:21:530:21:57

-How do you feel about new?

-Fine.

0:21:570:22:01

Quite like new. As long as it's tasteful.

0:22:010:22:03

How do you feel about brand new?

0:22:030:22:05

Yeah, always willing to look at brand-new houses.

0:22:070:22:09

How do you feel about never-been-entered-before?

0:22:090:22:12

That's great! We can do what we like to it.

0:22:120:22:14

How do you feel about this one?

0:22:140:22:16

That is nice!

0:22:160:22:17

Yes, that, in a village like this, is just right.

0:22:170:22:22

Doesn't look new.

0:22:220:22:24

It fits into the village perfectly.

0:22:240:22:26

Just need to have a look inside now.

0:22:260:22:28

As you'll see inside, it is extremely new,

0:22:280:22:30

so there's not an awful lot to look at. A lot to imagine.

0:22:300:22:33

Excellent.

0:22:330:22:35

That's a very good start indeed.

0:22:350:22:37

I'm particularly pleased they like it, cos finding a modern property that works so well

0:22:370:22:41

within its surroundings isn't always easy.

0:22:410:22:45

Come on in.

0:22:450:22:47

Ooh, it smells like a brand new house!

0:22:470:22:49

It does, doesn't it? It's a nice hallway.

0:22:490:22:52

It's all finished to a very high spec. We'll look at bits and bobs,

0:22:520:22:55

but they've not skimped at all.

0:22:550:22:57

I know the most important room for you is the kitchen. We're going there first.

0:22:570:23:01

Here we go, more bare bones.

0:23:020:23:05

-This is a kitchen, isn't it?

-Wow!

-It's a good size. It's fantastic.

0:23:050:23:09

-Yeah.

-And so many windows.

0:23:090:23:11

-Perfect.

-Yeah. You don't usually see a modern house with such thick walls

0:23:110:23:16

you can have those sort of window ledges. That is unusual.

0:23:160:23:19

-Such a lovely big, square kitchen.

-Yeah. Yes, exactly, yeah.

0:23:190:23:22

-Perfect.

-Let's take a look at the living room.

0:23:230:23:26

-OK.

-'That's two perfects in a row, nice work!'

0:23:260:23:30

-This will be the sitting room, lounge.

-Mm-hm.

0:23:300:23:34

-Cosy, yeah.

-Yes, it's cosy. Big enough...

-as a sitting room.

-..for six, eight people.

0:23:340:23:39

-We could get some of our furniture in here.

-Yeah.

0:23:390:23:42

'It can be very tricky showing people around a blank canvas,

0:23:420:23:45

'so I'm pleased Suzanne and Bob have the imagination

0:23:450:23:49

'to visualise their own furnishings in here.'

0:23:490:23:51

This is the other downstairs room.

0:23:510:23:53

-A reasonable size for a dining room.

-You'd make this the dining room?

0:23:530:23:57

-I would've thought it was.

-It could.

-Could be.

-Or a study.

0:23:570:24:00

-I was thinking maybe a sort of snug.

-It could be, yeah.

-TV room,

0:24:000:24:04

something like that. Home cinema.

0:24:040:24:06

-LAUGHTER Hey, yeah, the whole...

-Yeah!

0:24:060:24:10

'The downstairs certainly seems to appeal to them.

0:24:100:24:13

'Let's hope the upstairs with its four bedrooms can do the same.'

0:24:130:24:17

This is the family bathroom.

0:24:180:24:21

-Mm-hm.

-It's rather nice. You could sit and watch the neighbours as you bath.

0:24:210:24:26

-You could, couldn't you, yes?

-So, you have four bedrooms upstairs.

-OK.

0:24:260:24:29

One little single here, which we won't look at.

0:24:290:24:32

-OK.

-You can have a look later.

0:24:320:24:34

But we are going to look in here.

0:24:340:24:36

They're not massive rooms. This is billed as a double.

0:24:360:24:39

You could get a double bed in here.

0:24:390:24:41

-You could get... Yes.

-This would definitely be a good guest double.

0:24:410:24:45

-Yeah.

-Definitely.

-Oh, yes.

0:24:450:24:46

There's one more sort of smallish double and then the master.

0:24:460:24:50

-Right.

-And here would be your bedroom.

-Very nice.

0:24:500:24:54

-Good size. Yeah, it's a good size.

-A good size, a nice view.

0:24:540:24:59

-Yes.

-And not overlooked.

-Exactly.

0:24:590:25:00

-Good.

-The neighbours can't look in.

-That's good.

0:25:000:25:04

-You'll never guess what's behind this door.

-En-suite bathroom.

0:25:040:25:07

-Well, not a bathroom, actually. It's a shower room.

-OK.

0:25:070:25:10

-Oh, that's fine. That's a nice, good-sized shower.

-Isn't it?

0:25:100:25:13

-Definitely.

-We much prefer showers in the en-suite.

-Oh, great.

-Yeah.

0:25:130:25:18

-I'll just go and have a bath down the corridor.

-Yes!

-Yes.

0:25:180:25:21

-Where you can watch the neighbours.

-Yes.

-So this is everything upstairs.

0:25:210:25:25

There is quite a lot of rooms upstairs.

0:25:250:25:27

-There's a lot of rooms and a lot of possibilities.

-Yeah.

-Definitely.

0:25:270:25:31

Almost endless possibilities with the number of rooms.

0:25:310:25:34

Absolutely. Well, all this echoing white space is blinding me!

0:25:340:25:38

-Let's go into the garden where there's some colour.

-OK.

0:25:380:25:41

'The secluded garden is walled on all sides.

0:25:430:25:46

'There are areas of lawn where Bob can get his hands dirty

0:25:460:25:49

'and a paved terrace adjoining the kitchen, perfect for some alfresco dining.'

0:25:490:25:54

Now, if the inside was a blank canvas for you, Suzanne,

0:25:550:25:58

the outside is a blank canvas for you.

0:25:580:26:00

-Yes, I can see that.

-Because although there is lawn,

0:26:000:26:03

you could really do anything out here.

0:26:030:26:05

This is south-facing, so all of this gets lots of sunlight.

0:26:050:26:08

You could make a nice little courtyard there,

0:26:080:26:10

where you put your veggie garden. I guess that's up to your expert gardening eyes.

0:26:100:26:14

-Put it up there, at the back of the house.

-Would you?

-Yeah.

0:26:140:26:17

-Is this big enough for you?

-It is, actually.

-Is it?

0:26:170:26:21

It is a... It's a compromise.

0:26:210:26:24

-I would compromise the size of the garden for the house.

-Right.

0:26:240:26:27

-The village, the house, I'll compromise.

-You'd compromise?

0:26:270:26:32

-Wow!

-That's good.

-I'm surprised.

0:26:320:26:34

We're liking that. OK, so, compromise already.

0:26:340:26:37

What about the price, will you compromise on that?

0:26:370:26:39

-I think we'll have to compromise on that.

-I think we may have to.

0:26:390:26:43

A new build in a village, it hasn't got a lot of ground.

0:26:430:26:48

It's beautifully done inside.

0:26:480:26:50

I think I'm going to have to say...at least 525, 530.

0:26:500:26:58

I actually think it will be more than that. I thought maybe 545, to be quite honest,

0:26:580:27:03

cos it is in such a lovely location, beautiful village, and it is beautifully done.

0:27:030:27:08

The property is, you'll be surprised to know, on at £450,000.

0:27:080:27:15

-No!

-I can't believe that!

0:27:150:27:17

-Unbelievable.

-I really don't believe it. I will compromise the garden!

0:27:170:27:21

So, not only would you have a great location,

0:27:210:27:24

-but some money in your pot to buy some nice plants at least.

-Yes.

0:27:240:27:29

-I am gobsmacked, aren't you?

-I am amazed.

-Yes, at the price.

0:27:290:27:33

-Yeah. I'm amazed.

-Yeah. Gosh.

0:27:330:27:35

There you go. There's not a lot to see inside, but have a scoot round

0:27:350:27:39

-and use your imaginative powers to decide what will go where.

-Thank you.

-We will.

0:27:390:27:44

-And we'll meet at the front and continue.

-OK, thanks.

-Thank you.

0:27:440:27:48

That's very satisfying, when they guess the price and it's almost

0:27:480:27:52

£100,000 more than the actual price! It makes me so happy.

0:27:520:27:57

'What fantastic news. It's not often our escapees

0:27:590:28:02

'fall for a property and over-estimate its price by so much.

0:28:020:28:06

'On the market at £450,000,

0:28:060:28:09

'this newly-built cottage made of local stone

0:28:090:28:12

'has a large kitchen diner going out on to a secluded garden.

0:28:120:28:16

'Upstairs, there are four bedrooms, one with an en-suite shower room.'

0:28:160:28:21

This is a lovely house in a village location.

0:28:210:28:23

The houses are quite a distance away, so it doesn't feel as though you're being overlooked on all sides.

0:28:230:28:29

The mix of the old look on the outside

0:28:290:28:32

and the modern interior is perfect and is just what we're looking for.

0:28:320:28:35

So what do you think of it, Bob?

0:28:370:28:39

You know my opinion on new build, and there's nothing to be done,

0:28:390:28:42

it's maintenance free and the village was just...

0:28:420:28:46

-I know.

-Ideal. It was just my vision of what to expect

0:28:460:28:50

in a reasonable-sized Dorset village.

0:28:500:28:51

I was surprised at the price of the house, I must admit,

0:28:510:28:55

I still am surprised.

0:28:550:28:57

It's very, very reasonable.

0:28:570:29:01

Whoa, the excitement! The excitement. It still smells so fresh.

0:29:010:29:06

Make sure you pull the door to.

0:29:060:29:09

When you think of rural Dorset,

0:29:160:29:18

you probably don't think of trade unionism,

0:29:180:29:21

but imagine this, a village in the centre of the county is

0:29:210:29:25

one of British socialism's holiest sites.

0:29:250:29:29

I'm in the village of Tolpuddle and it was here in 1834 that six unassuming farm workers

0:29:290:29:35

planted the seeds of trade unionism that grew into events transforming workers' rights forever.

0:29:350:29:43

The story of these labourers,

0:29:430:29:44

or Tolpuddle Martyrs as they came to be known,

0:29:440:29:47

is of their stand against unscrupulous landowners who were systematically cutting their wages.

0:29:470:29:53

With destitution looming, having failed to secure a fair salary,

0:29:530:29:56

the farmers formed a union agreeing not to work for less than ten shillings a week

0:29:560:30:01

and took a secret oath,

0:30:010:30:03

illegal at the time, vowing never to reveal their identities.

0:30:030:30:08

Morning, Tim. 'I'm meeting Blue Badge guide Tim Lowesby

0:30:080:30:11

'to find out more about these brave souls.'

0:30:110:30:15

So, the myth is they met under this sycamore tree, is that true?

0:30:150:30:17

That's... Yes, it's popular.

0:30:170:30:20

-It's a popular story.

-You're going to tell me it's not true.

-Well...

0:30:200:30:24

-If I was joining a secret union, I wouldn't meet under a tree in the middle of the village.

-Good point.

0:30:240:30:29

-Where did they meet?

-In John Standfield's house, which is a little way down the village.

0:30:290:30:33

'But they were soon found out, arrested and taken here to Dorchester Crown Court for trial.

0:30:330:30:39

'The holding cells and courtroom have been restored to their original condition

0:30:390:30:43

'and it's easy to visualise how desperate they must have felt as they waited to be tried.'

0:30:430:30:48

-This is the dock where they stood.

-That's right. Really intimidating,

0:30:480:30:52

cos it's like an amphitheatre, and they would have been

0:30:520:30:55

in pitch darkness down there and the two huge windows behind us

0:30:550:31:00

shining into their eyes. Absolutely terrifying.

0:31:000:31:04

'The Tolpuddle Martyrs stood their ground and pleaded not guilty,

0:31:040:31:07

'but they were charged with administering unlawful oaths

0:31:070:31:11

'and sentenced to seven years hard labour in the penal colony of Australia.'

0:31:110:31:16

And what was their life like in Australia?

0:31:160:31:19

Incredibly harsh, incredibly harsh.

0:31:190:31:21

They were worse than the lowest farm labourers.

0:31:210:31:25

Very tough conditions.

0:31:250:31:27

They were transported in chains and then sold, effectively,

0:31:270:31:32

to farmers and landowners out there to do as they would with them.

0:31:320:31:36

'The trial caused a huge outcry and a massive protest movement formed

0:31:360:31:40

'with 100,000 people turning up for one London rally alone.

0:31:400:31:44

'In the face of severe public pressure, the Government backed down

0:31:440:31:49

'and four of the Tolpuddle Martyrs were given full pardons,

0:31:490:31:51

'but, tragically, no effort was made to trace them and it was years before they returned.'

0:31:510:31:56

So how long was it in total before they got back?

0:31:560:32:00

George Loveless came back on his own.

0:32:000:32:03

The other four came back almost four years to the day that they were convicted,

0:32:030:32:10

and then James Hammett came back 1839, almost five years later.

0:32:100:32:14

-Was there still interest in them?

-Yes, they were heroes, absolute heroes, yeah.

0:32:140:32:19

'Only one of the six, James Hammett, settled again in Tolpuddle, where he died in 1891.

0:32:190:32:25

'He's buried here in the local churchyard,

0:32:250:32:28

'his gravestone an enduring monument to the roots of trade unionism.'

0:32:280:32:33

As the sun sets over this beautiful landscape, it's time to take stock of the house hunt so far.

0:32:400:32:45

What a day. Two very different houses.

0:32:480:32:52

-What did you think of the red brick house?

-I loved the layout downstairs

0:32:520:32:56

but what did you think of the garden?

0:32:560:32:58

I did like the rural views, although the actual positioning of the house was a bit rural.

0:32:580:33:04

Yes, I thought it was a bit rural. What did you think of the new build?

0:33:040:33:07

That's a different question, that really was a fantastic house.

0:33:070:33:13

-The village that it's in is just magic.

-Perfect.

-It really was perfect

0:33:130:33:19

-and inside, well, that kitchen!

-Yeah, you loved that kitchen didn't you?

-Well, something else.

0:33:190:33:24

-And it was a good master bedroom.

-It was.

-With a shower room.

0:33:240:33:28

It was a very interesting day, I really look forward to tomorrow.

0:33:280:33:32

-Yes.

-Another two different properties.

-I know, what are they going to show us.

-I've no idea!

0:33:320:33:36

Suzanne and Bob have been living together on the island of Jersey for 16 years,

0:33:420:33:48

but with most of their friends and family in England, it's mainland ahoy.

0:33:480:33:53

'They'll be spying some wonderful living quarters.'

0:33:530:33:56

-Now, you must admit, this is a master bedroom.

-A MASTER bedroom.

-Yes.

0:33:560:34:00

'But will it be enough to persuade them to dock?'

0:34:000:34:03

-Oh, yes.

-Yes!

-Oh, wow! Yeah.

0:34:030:34:06

Well, I have to say, yesterday is going to be hard to beat, because...

0:34:080:34:12

Bob and Suzanne have not stopped talking about that new build all night long.

0:34:120:34:16

But, you know, as I mentioned earlier, I'm loathe to just show them new builds in Dorset,

0:34:160:34:20

cos this is the home of loads of character, old, beautiful property,

0:34:200:34:25

so I'm going to pursue the period path and see what happens.

0:34:250:34:29

'Our next property is just outside the village of Charlton Mackrell,

0:34:350:34:39

'over the county line in Somerset.

0:34:390:34:41

'Today, along the village's pretty bridleways, horses trot

0:34:410:34:45

'where, 1,000 years ago, Romans would have trod

0:34:450:34:48

'for this is where a major Roman road, the Fosse Way, runs.

0:34:480:34:52

'Its other claim to fame is that, oddly, three American Presidents -

0:34:520:34:57

'John Adams, Calvin Coolidge and William Taft -

0:34:570:35:00

'are all said to have ancestors from this village,

0:35:000:35:02

'Yet despite all of its foreign connections,

0:35:020:35:05

'Charlton Mackrell is a quintessentially English village that remains timeless.'

0:35:050:35:11

Step down into the Italianate gardens.

0:35:130:35:16

-Very special rural property.

-It's lovely.

0:35:160:35:19

-As you can see, this is a conversion.

-Very well converted.

0:35:190:35:24

-Well, it's very interesting, actually.

-Yes.

0:35:240:35:27

It's got a kind of Italian feel to it.

0:35:270:35:30

Right. I think it's an attractive looking building, actually.

0:35:300:35:33

-Unusual, but attractive. I can't wait to get in and have a look.

-Oh, no, you can't go in.

0:35:330:35:38

LAUGHTER Teasing again.

0:35:380:35:40

-Ta-dum...

-Wow!

0:35:430:35:46

-Oh, look at this! Gosh!

-Yeah, that is...

0:35:460:35:49

-That is something else, isn't it?

-Isn't it?

-It's magnificent.

-It is.

-Absolutely magnificent.

-Amazing.

0:35:490:35:55

-You've got the original beams and original walls.

-Yeah.

0:35:550:35:58

They've all been repointed. Throughout, you have this

0:35:580:36:01

incredible array of very high quality material.

0:36:010:36:04

-This is Italian grey limestone.

-Oh, right.

0:36:040:36:07

-So it's all been imported from Italy and that's the kind of theme throughout the whole property.

-Yeah.

0:36:070:36:13

And you have this rather spectacular double fireplace.

0:36:130:36:17

-It's something else, isn't it?

-Yeah.

-It's very unusual.

0:36:170:36:20

Yes, it really is something special. I want to see the rest of it now.

0:36:200:36:24

-I want to show you the kitchen. Come round the double fireplace.

-Oh, yes, the kitchen!

0:36:240:36:27

'The high-spec finish continues throughout the kitchen with

0:36:270:36:32

'handmade units under a stylishly grey Italian counter and top-of-the-range appliances.'

0:36:320:36:37

Oh, gosh. That is amazing.

0:36:370:36:40

Wow, look at that.

0:36:400:36:43

-That is magnificent.

-It is.

0:36:430:36:45

-That's a fantastic piece of oak. It must be at least three or four inches think.

-Isn't it just? Yeah.

0:36:450:36:50

-And a rather fabulous range.

-Range. Amazing range.

0:36:500:36:53

-That'd be good to cook on, won't it?

-Yes, thanks.

-Yes.

-And yet space enough

0:36:530:36:57

-for a good nine, ten-seater dining table.

-I think it's a lovely space, don't you?

0:36:570:37:03

Yeah, I know we wanted open plan, but this is a complete open plan.

0:37:030:37:08

Everything in one. Guests can see you, you're in the kitchen, everything's together.

0:37:080:37:14

'Off the kitchen, down a few stairs, are four bedrooms.'

0:37:140:37:18

So now we're in the sort of wooden half of the house.

0:37:180:37:22

-You've got these beautiful oak floorboards.

-It's a lovely room.

0:37:220:37:25

This, again, you could make it an extra bedroom, but it could be

0:37:250:37:29

-a study or a TV room.

-A nice study, yeah.

0:37:290:37:31

And then let's go look at the bedrooms.

0:37:310:37:34

The real wonder about this property is how she's brought so much light in.

0:37:370:37:41

The present owner has worked carefully with planning officers,

0:37:410:37:44

because, with barn conversions, they're often very sticky

0:37:440:37:47

about how much opening you can put into the walls,

0:37:470:37:51

so she's opened up these ones on the side

0:37:510:37:54

and, also, in the bedrooms, she's brought a lot of natural light in.

0:37:540:37:58

-Yes, it's fabulous.

-Yes, it's lovely and bright.

0:37:580:38:02

-Very country bedroom, isn't it?

-Yes, it certainly is, yeah.

0:38:020:38:06

And you've got the beams as well up there.

0:38:060:38:08

-So this is one of the bedrooms.

-Right.

0:38:080:38:11

And this is a lovely family bathroom.

0:38:150:38:18

-Oh, gosh, yes, it's lovely, isn't it? Look at that lovely bath.

-Look up.

0:38:180:38:22

-Wow! Look at that.

-Isn't it great? And the master bedroom next door.

0:38:220:38:29

And this, I think, is a fabulous room.

0:38:320:38:34

Oh, isn't it just? Now, you must admit, this is a master bedroom.

0:38:340:38:38

-This is a MASTER bedroom.

-This is a MASTER bedroom, definitely.

-And a lovely en-suite.

-Oh, great.

0:38:380:38:43

So, I think, all things considered, the living accommodation here is pretty special.

0:38:430:38:48

-It is.

-Everything is. Not just some of it, everything is.

0:38:480:38:52

And we can just step through the master bedroom doors into our personal garden.

0:38:520:38:59

-There's certainly plenty of garden.

-Plenty of garden, isn't there?

-Yeah.

0:38:590:39:03

But it's not just this bit, it's also all that.

0:39:030:39:07

-Oh, my goodness.

-So you've got a paddock.

-I was just going to say, we could get a couple of horses!

0:39:070:39:12

You've got a little orchard there.

0:39:120:39:14

-Oh, yes.

-So, it's quite a big plot of land.

0:39:140:39:16

-It's... Yes. In Jersey terms, it is a huge plot of land.

-Huge.

0:39:160:39:22

-Huge.

-Shall we just take a stroll through your garden?

0:39:220:39:25

Your garden.

0:39:250:39:27

'The fashionable touch of the current owner once again shows itself here.'

0:39:270:39:31

-And then you've got all this bit again. I had forgotten how beautiful this bit is.

-Yeah.

0:39:330:39:38

-Yeah.

-It's really ideal, that. The end of the house sitting out in the sun.

0:39:380:39:43

So, OK, now, this is the property, but how much is it?

0:39:430:39:46

-I think I have to have a lot of wishful thinking in this.

-That's OK.

0:39:460:39:51

At the very top of our outside range of about 550.

0:39:510:39:55

No, I'm going to go a bit less than that. I'm going to go for 515.

0:39:560:40:01

-515.

-Yes.

0:40:010:40:03

Well, your wishful thinking is still wildly pessimistic, because it's actually on the market at £500,000.

0:40:030:40:10

-Wow!

-Wow!

-Which I think is a great price for what you get.

-It's...

0:40:100:40:15

-It's so different.

-I don't feel bad sending you back into this house, because it's absolutely lovely.

0:40:150:40:21

OK, thank you.

0:40:210:40:23

Wow! Now, I think they're going to have a bit of a dilemma, because they loved the house yesterday

0:40:230:40:28

and they're going to love this, too. It's so difficult!

0:40:280:40:31

Obviously, property is a lot more expensive in Jersey.

0:40:310:40:35

'You certainly get more for your money on the mainland

0:40:350:40:39

'and, at £500,000, it's right on budget.

0:40:390:40:41

'This former barn has been converted to the highest spec

0:40:410:40:45

'with a stylish living space flowing seamlessly into the kitchen.

0:40:450:40:48

'There are four bedrooms in total, one with an en-suite bathroom

0:40:480:40:52

'and, with land aplenty, I think the modern cottage in Yetminster

0:40:520:40:55

'will have a run for its money.'

0:40:550:40:58

I found the whole property very appealing, very beautifully done and no expense has been spared,

0:40:590:41:06

but it is very different to anything I've ever lived in.

0:41:060:41:09

Is it totally practical?

0:41:090:41:11

Well, maybe.

0:41:110:41:13

-It's very well done.

-It is.

-They separated it beautifully,

0:41:130:41:16

the lounge area and you've the dining room. It works very well.

0:41:160:41:20

I'm still trying to just imagine living in it.

0:41:200:41:23

When you walk into this house, the open-plan space is amazing.

0:41:230:41:28

If we could put this house in a village location, it would be absolutely perfect.

0:41:280:41:32

Hey, I was just enjoying the sun. It's a real sun trap here.

0:41:320:41:36

-It's lovely, lovely.

-South facing. Let's press on.

-Thank you.

0:41:360:41:40

Bob is a tremendously keen gardener who can't wait to create a garden

0:41:520:41:56

from scratch when he makes the move to Dorset.

0:41:560:41:58

So, for inspiration and to get a greenhouse masterclass,

0:41:580:42:01

we've sent him and Suzanne to wander through a garden

0:42:010:42:05

which is on the National Garden Scheme.

0:42:050:42:08

The NGS is a charity which facilitates the opening of 3,600

0:42:080:42:12

mostly privately-owned grounds to the public.

0:42:120:42:15

There here to meet John Halliday at his one-acre, informal valley garden

0:42:180:42:23

blooming with over an astonishing 1,000 varieties of plants.

0:42:230:42:27

So, John, how did you go about landscaping this garden?

0:42:270:42:29

From here it was a green sloping field down to the river.

0:42:290:42:33

We wanted something natural that would blend into the landscape,

0:42:330:42:36

but we also wanted to create compartments and areas, so you could walk from one are to another.

0:42:360:42:41

And the first decision was to create the hornbeam hedges that create this side of the garden -

0:42:410:42:46

the kitchen garden and the rose walk down the middle,

0:42:460:42:50

and then to develop the meadow area under the apple trees and a bog garden down where

0:42:500:42:54

there's a water course running into the river.

0:42:540:42:58

It would be fantastic to have a look round, could we have a look round?

0:42:580:43:00

Yes, let's go and have a walk down toward the river and the meadow.

0:43:000:43:04

Supported by their patron, Prince Charles,

0:43:040:43:07

over half a million visitors flock to NGS gardens every year.

0:43:070:43:11

And bordering the river Asker,

0:43:110:43:13

this tranquil space beautifully exploits the different features

0:43:130:43:16

of its natural landscape.

0:43:160:43:18

This is the wet area where the spring

0:43:200:43:22

comes down to the river that you can hear.

0:43:220:43:24

So what sort of plants grow best down here?

0:43:240:43:27

Well we're looking at a very good example here, the Swamp Cypress,

0:43:270:43:31

which is well away after nearly five years.

0:43:310:43:34

The whole area is a flood plain, the river will come over every so often,

0:43:340:43:37

but it drains very fast, so the plants are perfectly happy.

0:43:370:43:41

Would you like to see the greenhouse?

0:43:410:43:43

Quite a few plants in flower there.

0:43:430:43:45

Bob has his own greenhouse and when he makes his way to Dorset,

0:43:450:43:49

is eager to have a similar one to John's with all its wonderful flowering plants.

0:43:490:43:54

Can you give me any tips on keeping a perfect greenhouse?

0:43:540:43:57

Well, the first decision was temperature linked.

0:43:570:44:01

This end of the house we keep minimum 50 degrees Fahrenheit

0:44:010:44:03

for the plants that need that kind of heat.

0:44:030:44:05

That end we just keep frost-free,

0:44:050:44:08

so temperature control is vital, or you'll lose your plants.

0:44:080:44:11

Bugs and pests and diseases, just keeping an eye -

0:44:110:44:14

don't bring a plant into the greenhouse without checking if it's got one on it

0:44:140:44:19

cos you'll be infested!

0:44:190:44:21

So what sort of plants do you keep in this section of the greenhouse?

0:44:210:44:23

You've got the succulents here which need the heat.

0:44:230:44:27

You've got the crassula and the echeverias here...

0:44:270:44:30

-Um, here's a climbing plant, tibouchina - beautiful purple flower.

-It's lovely.

0:44:300:44:35

-That needs the heat.

-Well, John, it's been fantastic looking round your greenhouse and your garden,

0:44:350:44:40

thank you so much for showing us round.

0:44:400:44:43

It's been a pleasure, it always is with fellow enthusiasts

0:44:430:44:45

-and I wish you every luck for your search for a garden of your own.

-Thanks very much.

0:44:450:44:49

Since this house hunt started, I've been threatening Suzanne and Bob

0:44:530:44:58

with a proper period Dorset cottage

0:44:580:45:01

and instead I've been showing them

0:45:010:45:04

very lovely contemporary properties,

0:45:040:45:06

kind of what they're looking for, but it's the mystery house

0:45:060:45:10

and the time for the cottage has arrived.

0:45:100:45:13

What do you think I'm going to show you for the mystery house?

0:45:130:45:18

Something completely different.

0:45:180:45:20

Something that we haven't seen so far.

0:45:200:45:22

-Hopefully something interesting.

-What about you, Bob?

-Um...

0:45:220:45:26

I think it will be something different, completely different, just to challenge our thoughts.

0:45:260:45:32

-We hope it will be challenging.

-I'm sure it will be challenging.

0:45:320:45:36

We're taking them to the village of Briantspuddle,

0:45:380:45:41

about ten miles east of the county town of Dorchester.

0:45:410:45:45

As one approaches the village, glimpses of its beautiful thatched cottages start to appear.

0:45:450:45:49

For most of its history, Briantspuddle was little more than farms and cottages.

0:45:490:45:54

However, in 1914, department store tycoon,

0:45:540:45:58

Sir Ernest Debenham, bought some land and farms and developed

0:45:580:46:01

a self-sufficient model village in an attempt to prove that Britain could feed itself.

0:46:010:46:06

And with a population of just around 200,

0:46:060:46:11

it remains an idyllic slice of rural England.

0:46:110:46:15

The property we're taking them to is Grade II listed and once formed part of the Debenham estate.

0:46:150:46:21

It's different.

0:46:240:46:25

Oh... It's so cute.

0:46:250:46:28

I wanted to show you this, because it's not your typical thatch in the sense that it's...

0:46:280:46:33

It's not hugely old. It was built in 1910, so it's actually very much in the Edwardian style.

0:46:330:46:38

Lots of slightly Art Deco-y details around the porch and big windows

0:46:380:46:43

and relatively high ceilings, so not your typical Dorset cottage.

0:46:430:46:48

-Shall we take a look inside?

-Definitely.

-I'd love to.

0:46:480:46:51

-Come on in.

-Thank you.

0:46:560:46:57

-Lots of original features. All wooden staircase.

-Very nice, yes.

0:46:570:47:04

I'll take you straight into the kitchen.

0:47:040:47:06

Oh, this is nice.

0:47:060:47:08

Oh, I like the kitchen.

0:47:080:47:10

-This is lovely.

-And it's, you know, it's a fairly simple, functional...

0:47:100:47:14

And it doesn't have the huge open plan of...

0:47:140:47:16

-That's true.

-..the old barn.

-It's different.

-Yeah.

0:47:160:47:19

It does flow through, it goes into a little dining room there and then into this sort of sun room.

0:47:190:47:26

-Oh, yes. Oh, wow!

-Yeah.

0:47:260:47:29

A swimming pool. Can I just nip out now for a swim?

0:47:290:47:32

-Ah, yes, a hot day.

-Yes, lovely.

-The outlook from here is...

0:47:320:47:37

-It is, it's lovely, isn't it?

-Is fantastic, yeah.

0:47:370:47:39

Well, let's just have a look at the other room, the sitting room, which is also unusual.

0:47:390:47:44

-So, it's a lot of sunnier and it's actually two rooms knocked together.

-Oh, right.

0:47:460:47:52

-So it comes round into this side.

-Oh, gosh.

-Actually quite a big room.

0:47:520:47:56

-It is, isn't it?

-It is, quite a surprise, actually.

-Yes.

0:47:560:47:59

Could you use this room? Is this again a bit too small or too big?

0:47:590:48:03

No, I don't think so. I think it's...

0:48:030:48:05

It's more than usable. You've got quite a lot of room in here.

0:48:050:48:08

It's nice cos it's different. It's sort of quirky.

0:48:080:48:12

-Let's take a peek upstairs.

-Lovely.

0:48:120:48:14

-I like this staircase. They've all been stripped back to the pine.

-Yes.

0:48:170:48:21

-But they're quite simple and nice.

-I like this colour pine.

0:48:210:48:25

-All the doors are nice, original door furniture.

-Yeah, very nice.

0:48:270:48:33

-The rooms are not huge.

-Cottagey and quaint.

-Cottagey and high ceilings.

0:48:330:48:37

-That's true. Two windows, so plenty of light.

-Plenty of light.

-Yeah.

0:48:370:48:42

For a bedroom, it's fine.

0:48:420:48:44

-Not knocked out?

-Not knocked out, no.

-No.

0:48:440:48:48

'Also off the hallway is a single bedroom overlooking the garden

0:48:480:48:52

'and another double with original beam work.'

0:48:520:48:55

This one's a good deal bigger. This is their master bedroom.

0:48:550:49:00

-That's a better size, isn't it? Yeah.

-Oh, yes.

0:49:000:49:03

-There's cupboard storage and they've done a vanity unit.

-Oh, yes, yeah.

0:49:030:49:07

-So there's a total of four bedrooms on this floor.

-Right.

0:49:070:49:10

-That's kind of what you were looking for.

-Yeah.

-Yes.

-But...

0:49:100:49:14

-there's also a secret room.

-Oh, really.

-Excitement!

0:49:140:49:18

Oh, yes. This house has secrets.

0:49:180:49:20

Here it is.

0:49:200:49:22

-That's a door.

-What do you think's on the other side?

-Some form of ladder.

0:49:220:49:27

Staircase? It can't be a staircase!

0:49:270:49:31

-A small staircase.

-Maybe a lift!

-You're no fun, you guessed!

0:49:310:49:35

-We could've spun that game out for ages.

-Oh, good God.

0:49:350:49:37

It's actually the cupboard for the ladder that takes us up here.

0:49:370:49:43

-Are we in?

-That one's in.

0:49:480:49:50

Marvellous.

0:49:500:49:53

We'll never see him again, it's like the Bermuda Triangle.

0:49:530:49:56

-Goodness me!

-HE LAUGHS

0:49:560:49:59

Oh, gosh, isn't it dinky?

0:50:040:50:06

-It's a dinky little room.

-So, what would we use this for, actually?

0:50:060:50:10

We could put the grandchildren here, they'd love to sleep up here.

0:50:100:50:13

Do you have any more evil plans(?)

0:50:130:50:16

'Back on the level is the two thirds of an acre garden that surrounds the property.'

0:50:160:50:19

This is cool. This is a thatched utility room.

0:50:230:50:25

-Gosh, fabulous.

-You don't get many of those. The pool pump is in there.

0:50:250:50:29

And you've got a stable sort of building and shed up there with your sit-on lawnmower.

0:50:320:50:40

-You would need one for the grass here.

-Oh, you'd love that.

-Yeah.

0:50:400:50:44

And you can see the pool and the interesting modern sculpture.

0:50:440:50:49

-I like the pool, I'm not sure about the sculpture.

-Do you know what?

0:50:490:50:53

You don't believe me, do you? Yes, obviously, there's a rather large electricity pylon in your garden,

0:50:530:50:58

but the present owners have done quite a lot of research

0:50:580:51:02

and the electricity board have told them there is a plan to bury it.

0:51:020:51:06

-Oh, good.

-Underground.

-Good idea.

-So it doesn't need to be in your garden.

0:51:060:51:10

Anyway, you can see the whole package here, lots of features.

0:51:100:51:14

-Yeah, that's true.

-So what do you think it's worth?

0:51:140:51:16

I am...

0:51:160:51:19

I think it's got to be outside our top budget range at 575.

0:51:190:51:25

That's exactly what I was going to say, yeah, so I'm going to go a bit higher and say 580.

0:51:250:51:30

580. I'm going to ask why do you think it's so expensive?

0:51:300:51:35

-I think the position, the grounds.

-And the swimming pool...

-Yes.

0:51:350:51:38

-Yeah.

-It's got a swimming pool.

-And a lovely conservatory.

-Yeah.

0:51:380:51:42

-I was just checking your logic, cos you are spot on.

-Really?

-It's on the market for 575.

-Wow.

0:51:420:51:48

-Very clever at this, aren't we?

-Got one right!

-Finally, finally!

0:51:480:51:51

OK, well, you know, I was getting mixed vibes off you, so why don't

0:51:510:51:55

you have a walk around and then we can be regroup at the end...

0:51:550:51:59

-OK, thanks.

-..and talk about all the properties.

-Right, thank you.

0:51:590:52:02

'Mystery property by name and mystery by nature,

0:52:020:52:05

'as I'm not too sure what Suzanne and Bob make of this place.

0:52:050:52:08

'At £575,000, it's over their budget, but it does come

0:52:080:52:13

'with the requisite four bedrooms, an attic room

0:52:130:52:16

'and stunning outside space complete with heated swimming pool.'

0:52:160:52:21

I've never been in a thatched cottage, so I was excited to look inside.

0:52:210:52:25

I liked the kitchen. It was nice and modern. I loved those cream units

0:52:250:52:29

and I like the way it led through into the conservatory, where you could sit and eat.

0:52:290:52:33

-With this room leading off it, I think it would work quite well.

-Yes.

0:52:330:52:37

-Have the eating area here.

-Quite an open aspect, yes.

0:52:370:52:40

To find something like this on a listed building is quite unusual, especially a cottage.

0:52:400:52:44

This is more than a cottage, it is a house and the position of it I thought was wonderful.

0:52:440:52:49

I'm not convinced about the upkeep.

0:52:490:52:51

I'm sure there'll be constant things that need to be done to a house of this age.

0:52:510:52:56

-Hello.

-I was just looking at the thatch, actually. It's almost...

0:52:560:53:00

-It's probably about five years old, so you've got another 30 years.

-Oh, good. That's a bonus, isn't it?

0:53:000:53:06

-Right, let's regroup.

-OK.

0:53:060:53:08

'Suzanne and Bob's journey around Dorset is coming to an end and they have plenty to think about.'

0:53:180:53:23

So I don't think that the mystery exactly pulled the thatch over their eyes,

0:53:280:53:33

but I'm pretty sure at least which two houses they most prefer,

0:53:330:53:37

but I have been very wrong in the past, so let's find out.

0:53:370:53:41

I'm hoping that Jersey seems like a dim and distant memory now

0:53:450:53:49

after all these acres of Dorset that we've covered.

0:53:490:53:52

-I think we've seen the whole of Dorset in the last two days.

-We have.

-It feels like it.

0:53:520:53:57

-And every mile of road on it.

-The first property I showed you was the red-brick house

0:53:570:54:02

which was quite unusual cos everything else here in Dorset

0:54:020:54:05

-is made of stone.

-Yes.

-What are your thoughts?

0:54:050:54:07

I liked the house, I liked the layout downstairs, I didn't feel

0:54:070:54:12

the upstairs worked quite well enough for us

0:54:120:54:16

and I thought it was a bit too rural for us.

0:54:160:54:19

Well, the next property I showed you really didn't have much of a garden

0:54:190:54:23

to talk of but it did have a great location.

0:54:230:54:25

What are your thoughts about the new build?

0:54:250:54:28

-We liked the look of it as soon as we saw it.

-Yes.

0:54:280:54:30

The fact that it was new and it looked old, it fitted in.

0:54:300:54:34

-It was just perfect.

-Yeah, the location was good for the village.

0:54:340:54:38

You could walk to the village shop and there was a pub not far away.

0:54:380:54:43

And we could've made the house ours.

0:54:430:54:45

We could have put our personal stamp on it and thought our furniture would fit in quite nicely.

0:54:450:54:50

-What about the long barn? That was a beautiful property.

-It was. A stunning location

0:54:500:54:55

-and the views were amazing.

-Yes, no question about that.

-Yeah.

0:54:550:54:58

The inside was a bit quirky, but it was nice with all the wood and stone and it just was very interesting.

0:54:580:55:05

-It was very, very tempting.

-Tempting sounds like it wasn't quite there.

-No, I think...

0:55:050:55:10

There wasn't a village community you could walk to, which was a shame.

0:55:100:55:15

You never can tell what people like in properties, for example, the mystery house.

0:55:150:55:19

-So beautiful. Chocolate box beautiful when you saw it.

-Yeah.

0:55:190:55:24

You just wanted to stand and gaze at it, cos it was so pretty, wasn't it?

0:55:240:55:28

Yes, everything about it was perfect. The location, the look,

0:55:280:55:33

it just was an old building and it would be constantly just needing something done.

0:55:330:55:37

-It seems there is a clear winner, is that right?

-The new build.

0:55:370:55:41

And will you make any moves? Will you kind of view it again or put an offer in?

0:55:410:55:45

-You were going to contact the vendor, weren't you?

-Yes, and see what the...

0:55:450:55:50

-Register our interest and maybe have another look if we can, if we've got time.

-That's fantastic.

0:55:500:55:55

It was very remarkable to see how enthusiastic you were about that building.

0:55:550:56:00

-It's really nice when it clicks like that.

-Yes, yes.

0:56:000:56:02

-Thank you very much for showing us round.

-It's been a real pleasure

0:56:020:56:06

-and I hope you move here soon, cos I think you two suit this country.

-Oh, thank you. You're so kind.

0:56:060:56:12

So, despite my best persuasive efforts, it looks like contemporary won out over period.

0:56:150:56:19

I'm delighted to say, of course, that Dorset did trump Jersey

0:56:190:56:24

and if Bob and Suzanne's adventures in property have inspired you,

0:56:240:56:28

do make sure you tune in next time for more Escape To The Country.

0:56:280:56:32

Bob and Suzanne want to sell their Jersey home before putting in an offer on the modern build,

0:56:320:56:37

so I'm pleased to report that, having recently reduced the price of their house by £30,000,

0:56:370:56:42

they're now in touching distance of their dream move to Dorset.

0:56:420:56:47

If you want to escape to the country

0:56:470:56:50

in Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland,

0:56:500:56:52

and need our help, please apply online at this address...

0:56:520:56:56

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd 2011

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Alistair Appleton is house-hunting in Dorset with a couple who are ready to leave the island of Jersey for good. With a budget of £550,000, they are looking for a modern house in a county famous for its old, typically English cottages.