Herefordshire Escape to the Country


Herefordshire

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This amazing yew tree lies within the grounds of an English Gothic church

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which was built in the early 13th century.

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But which is older - the tree or the church?

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Well, you'll find out in just a moment.

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'On today's show, we'll help a couple find their dream family home in the country.'

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-Ideal is the word.

-Perfect.

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I got a smile and I got an "ideal" and "perfect". I'm happy.

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'We'll gallop round some fine rustic retreats.'

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-We like.

-You like? She likes!

-LAUGHTER

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'And I've got a lot riding on our mystery house.'

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Today, I'm in the village of Much Marcle in Herefordshire

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at St Bartholomew's Church which was built in around 1220 AD,

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but experts reckon that the yew tree was planted 700 years earlier in 500 AD,

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which, by my maths, makes it over 1,500 years old.

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With a massive trunk measuring nearly 31 feet in circumference,

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it's also one of the oldest living trees in England,

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but it's not the only impressive part of the Herefordshire landscape.

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As the fourth least populated county in the UK, it is also one of the most rural

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with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty spanning over a quarter of its land mass.

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There's a rich geological and historical vein running through its landscapes

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from the Iron Age hill forts on the Malvern Hills Ridgeway

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to the ravine woodlands and limestone gorges of the Wye Valley.

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There are historic properties with the striking Tudor timbered buildings

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of North Herefordshire's black and white villages and remote farmhouses set in splendid scenery,

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all of which make this county a perfect rural escape.

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Until now, Herefordshire has been largely overlooked by its celebrity neighbour Gloucestershire,

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but things are about to change.

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There are rumours that the recently restored Duchy of Cornwall's 900-acre Harewood Park

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has been earmarked as a royal country residence for Prince William

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and where the royals go, everyone else follows.

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The days are gone when you can bag yourself a cheap, derelict cottage,

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but if you're looking to find yourself your very own royal escape to the country,

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then take a look at some of these properties on the market in rustic Herefordshire.

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And this 46-acre country estate near Bromyard is certainly fit for royalty

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at £2,350,000.

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This five-bedroomed house has six impressive, sometimes quirky reception rooms

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and there is always the lakeside summer house to retreat to.

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A more realistic £580,000 will get you this stately five-bedroomed house in Leominster.

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It's not short on space with two large sitting rooms, a separate dining room

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and two lavish bathrooms.

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And no expense has been spared on this three-bedroomed barn conversion in Lea for £385,000.

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It has light, spacious interiors and lots of character details

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with the original stone wall facades still intact.

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With no shortage of fantastic houses for sale,

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I'm hoping that the properties we've found for today's buyers will live up to their expectations.

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And our couple are ex-property developers Paul and Kesri

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who want to leave Surrey and head for the hills of Herefordshire with their two dogs

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and ten-month-old twins Kayla and Jaden.

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They've made quite a few moves. 11 years ago, they quit their jobs in South Africa, came to England

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and have moved seven times while developing properties, but this time it's different.

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We're hoping this will be our last move. We're looking for our ideal family home in the country.

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We believe this is an opportunity for the children to grow up in the country and be children for longer

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and just live a wonderful life in the country.

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This dynamic duo also run a business training company

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and this move means taking that business one step further.

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We want the farm to be a sort of learning retreat, so people could come and have some time out

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and do team-building activities.

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We'd like a minimum of four acres, up to as many acres as we could get for our budget.

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They'll need all that land for the chickens, pigs and couple of horses they want to keep.

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As well as a lifestyle overhaul, they've got a clear vision for their dream home.

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Absolute must-haves are a large, farm-style kitchen, three double bedrooms

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and lots of character in the house - beams, fireplaces.

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With twins, dogs, farm animals and a business to look after, are they nervous about this move?

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Our families think we're crazy because we make a decision, then we just do it.

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It always seems to work, so we'll keep doing it, whether they don't like it or not.

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Kesri and Paul need to know how much their current home is worth,

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-so we arranged for an estate agent to value their property.

-This is a cracking family house.

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It's been well renovated, lots of very good schools locally.

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I would put it on the market at £550,000.

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I was a little disappointed with the valuation of 550,000.

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However, in today's market, we expected it to be lower than what our expectation was.

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So how much do they have to spend on this final move?

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Our budget for this move is £800,000.

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Ex-property developers Paul and Kesri are looking for the perfect home for their final move.

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It's a good thing that we like a challenge because Herefordshire is not a cheap place to buy.

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Houses around here come in at 10% more than the national average.

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The two of them have an extensive wish list for their £800,000 budget.

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They're looking for a period property with a farmhouse style kitchen,

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but they also want to work from home and they need a barn on the land.

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We all know that barns, especially converted ones, mean bucks.

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You add to that enough land for them to have horses on

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and suddenly that £800,000 budget doesn't seem quite so rosy.

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As Paul and Kesri plan to work from home, they're not too concerned about location,

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so we'll cast our net wide and look at properties around Leominster in the north of the county

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and Ross-on-Wye in the south.

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I'll show them some great houses, but I won't reveal the price until they've guessed first.

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And as ever, there's the mystery house which could just be love at first sight.

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Hello, Kesri, Paul. Welcome to Herefordshire.

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Great county. How excited are you about starting this search?

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-Very excited. We've been looking to move to the country for a long time now.

-And you're ready to go?

-Yeah.

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I hope you are because I understand there have been seven moves in 11 years.

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-Are you sure that this is the one, you'll settle down now?

-We hope so.

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What causes you to get to this moment where you'll put some roots down and not move any more?

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We've recently had twins and we want them to grow up in the country.

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-You're not going to make them nomads?

-No. Impossible with babies.

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You are property developers as well,

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so is this a move where you'll want to rip everything out and start again

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or are you willing to just go into somewhere, settle in and have a gentler life?

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I guess it depends what we finally decide, as far as the property that we find,

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but we wouldn't be scared to do a little work on the property.

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Your budget, £800,000, is very healthy, but you have got a pretty extensive list

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-and you want to run your business from home.

-Yes.

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We've got fantastic properties for you to look at and also the mystery house,

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-although everything is a mystery to you, I'm sure! Shall we get going?

-Brilliant.

-Come on, let's go.

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So, with a budget of £800,000, Paul and Kesri are looking for a family home that gives them...

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It's great for horse riding out here in Herefordshire. Is that what's drawn you to this county?

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That's one of the major reasons why we're quite keen to come to Herefordshire,

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but our dream has always been to have a farm or a smallholding

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and it's a great opportunity to do that here in Herefordshire.

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A smallholding is some commitment and a big change of lifestyle for the two of you.

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Do you know what you're letting yourselves in for?

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We have had the opportunity to look after a five-and-a-half-acre field where we had two horses.

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We did that for six months and we coped pretty well.

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But now we've got the twins as well, so a little bit different.

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-We've got the twins on a good routine, so we're confident we can manage.

-Don't scare us off.

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-They'll grow up soon enough. You'll have them out mucking the horses out.

-That's the plan.

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Our first property takes us to the village of Bosbury, 20 miles from Ross-on-Wye.

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The village lies in open countryside with plenty of dog-walking opportunities for our couple.

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Bosbury's country lanes are lined with charming period cottages.

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At its centre is a well-preserved Norman church and local pub,

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along with a well-regarded primary school.

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Our first property is in a quiet, rural setting outside the village.

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Right, here we are.

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This is the property I want to show you. What do you think?

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-It looks lovely.

-I think it looks great.

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-To our right, we've got this office.

-Great.

-We'll come back to that.

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-You've got garages there. There are also some stables. There's quite a lot here.

-Wow! Fantastic.

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-I think the thing for us to do is check out the inside.

-Great.

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'So it's a good first impression which will hopefully continue inside.'

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Here we are, straight into a very big hallway

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which sets the scene for this property, this barn conversion.

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It's very wide, open-plan which you'll see more as we go into the next room. Follow me.

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To this side of the hallway, we've got one of the reception rooms.

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In this property, you've got really big rooms, a lot of space.

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It's just lacking some of the rustic charm that I like.

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You know, it's an old barn, but it doesn't really have beams, fireplaces, that type of thing.

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-I see exactly what you're saying, but you've got the potential.

-Yes.

-It's a nice size as well.

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And you've got great views. Let's keep exploring, let's see what the kitchen's like. Follow me.

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'This is a great space for family living and they can add their own touches of character.

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'On the way into the kitchen, there's a modern WC and a cloakroom

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'and I'm sure they're going to like this space.'

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From up here, you get a pretty good view of the open-plan kitchen.

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They've brought in some of the beams that you might expect in a barn.

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-You've got these windows running right across, looking out to another patio area.

-It's lovely.

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-I really like the beams. There's a nice light in here.

-Yeah. I love the windows.

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It's like bringing the outside in.

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Ideally, we want a large kitchen where we could eat and the kids could be playing, so this is perfect.

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-It could be a good heart of the home here.

-We wanted the kitchen to be the heart of the home. That's great.

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-This is not the only entertaining space in this property. There is more. Follow me.

-Great.

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As well as a big kitchen-diner,

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you also get a pretty huge dining room as well.

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-Again beautiful light, nice views.

-The space is lovely.

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Really nice space. We'd have to add some character into this room as well.

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'Next door, there's a second sitting room with more great views over the garden.

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'We'll go upstairs and take a peek at the bedrooms.'

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Up here is this lovely galleried landing and you can see more of the beams.

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-Yeah, great.

-So you get a bit more character.

-Definitely.

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'Leading off the landing, there are four bedrooms - one double room

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'and a large single room, both with expansive windows,

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'and there's a family bathroom with walk-in shower, but now we'll check out the remaining two bedrooms.'

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-This room is already a child's bedroom and it could be perfect for one of your two.

-Great room.

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Great size, lovely character, beautiful windows again.

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-At the moment, they share, so this would be perfect.

-Yeah, they could share until they grow older.

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I'm glad we've found a place for the little ones that excites you,

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-but I want to excite you about where you'll be. Let's go and see the master bedroom. Lead the way.

-Great.

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This is where all the beams are hiding.

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-This is lovely.

-Fantastic room. Really great.

-Good storage here.

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You've got another room with more windows behind me. It's your en-suite.

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-Great. That's where the bath is.

-Yeah, this is lovely and the beams look great.

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-We didn't need an en-suite, but great to have one.

-Yeah, it is an extra.

-Brilliant.

-The bath is lovely.

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'This barn has been converted into a great family home.

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'With all this space, they could use their property developing expertise to make their mark.

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'I wonder what they'll make of the outbuildings?'

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Now, the bonus with this property is this office,

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-all kitted out and ready for you.

-Mm-hm.

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At the back there, you've got a fully fitted kitchen, a cloakroom and a spare storage area.

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-Could this work for you?

-It's a bit small for the sessions that we run.

-What sort of thing do you do?

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We do sort of leadership, team effectiveness programmes, so we have about 25 people at a time.

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It's probably a bit too small for that type of thing.

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Five rows, give them name badges and have them run around your fields.

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They'll certainly do some of that.

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'Well, perhaps there's enough land for all their other projects.'

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So, four acres in all, guys, plus all these other little sections.

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You've got lots of play areas for the children, potential for the stables,

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space for the horses, even space for the sheep, pigs and chickens.

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-There's a lot that you want to do.

-Yeah.

-But how much do you think it's on the market for?

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I think that it's got more or less everything we want.

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Probably because it's a little short on the land, it might be just slightly under our budget,

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so I'm going to say around 775.

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I'm going to go low - 700.

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Well, Kesri, you win this round. You are almost right on the money.

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This property is on the market for 695.

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That gives us a bit of leeway to put some extras into the property, to try and add some of that character.

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I think that we'd still like a little bit more land for those chickens for the kids.

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It gives us an opportunity to put our own stamp because there are a lot of things I'd like to change.

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Wander around that house, think about the things you would change and I'll find you later on.

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Brilliant. Thank you.

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That was a good start. Paul's right. This property gives them pretty much everything they've asked for.

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And at that price, they've got scope to put their own stamp on it and buy some horses.

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At £695,000, this barn conversion would give them £100,000 in hand,

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so they could add all that character and get the business premises working for them.

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When I first saw the barn, I thought, "Fantastic - barn conversion, really like the open-plan feel."

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I thought it was absolutely fantastic. I love the windows, the stone features.

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I love the proportions. Really, really great space, the number of rooms was perfect.

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But it didn't have as much character as I thought it would have.

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Downstairs, it didn't have many beams or fireplaces.

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The office space I thought was a great space.

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However, for the number of students we have on a regular basis, it was not quite the size that we required.

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And I think although the paddock was really great for two horses,

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it probably won't fulfil our dream to have chickens, pigs and sheep.

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-A-ha! Now, have you seen enough?

-Yes.

-Just about?

-Yeah.

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-Good, because there's a lot more to do, so let's keep moving.

-Great.

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With a move to Herefordshire,

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Paul and Kesri will be able to enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes in England

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like the Wye Valley through which the River Wye meanders where towns like Ross-on-Wye have prospered.

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As the river is most accessible in this area,

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it became a popular visitor attraction by the mid-1800s,

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so much so that Ross is now commonly known as the birthplace of English tourism.

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Paul and Kesri are meeting Ross-on-Wye's Mayor John Edwards to find out how it all started.

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The tourist trade really started here when Dr John Egerton, a local resident,

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decided to take his friends up and down the river in boats.

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This inspired a friend of his to write a book about the attractions of the River Wye.

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It was the first illustrated tourist book and it brought a tremendous amount of trade down to the Wye.

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This snowballed the whole thing, so at one stage, there was a fleet of boats going up and down the river,

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taking tourists of all walks of life, people like Charles Dickens, Lord Nelson, all kinds of people.

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They came here to see the beauties of the River Wye and this is one spot they would've started from.

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'Thanks to the river, Ross has also been a renowned port of call for traders

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'with an ancient market dating back to the 12th century which still thrives today

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'around the town's 17th century Market House.

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'Paul and Kesri could certainly enjoy Ross's historic town centre and stunning riverside scenery

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'if they move to this area which is a possibility

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'as our next property is only seven miles away in the village of Whitchurch.

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'Besides the village's obvious charm, there is also an excellent primary school for the children.

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'In the surrounding fields there are more isolated farmhouses

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'and I think we've found one for Paul and Kesri.'

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This is the property. You can see we are on a bit of a road, a lane,

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but really, this lane leads to this property and a farm,

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so I wouldn't expect much traffic down here at all.

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The property itself, oodles of character, there's a lot of land and outbuildings with it.

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-I love the stone.

-The stone is absolutely beautiful.

-Fantastic.

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-I think we should go inside.

-Great.

-Ready?

-Great.

-Come on.

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You come straight in to the 15th century part of the house.

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-Kesri, my dear, you wanted some character.

-Yeah, we've got oodles of it here.

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-Absolutely.

-Lovely doorway. Oh, amazing!

-That's a feature, isn't it?

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

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We can see here it's a dining area, but these beams are everywhere.

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-Lovely.

-Beautiful.

-Really great.

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-It's exactly the type of character we're looking for.

-Great. That's a good start.

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

-I love the wall.

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-A lot more in this room.

-Wow, that's fantastic.

-What a great inglenook!

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-It's fantastic.

-Yeah. It's nice and cosy. We like this type of thing.

-Tick, tick!

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-Brilliant.

-Good. We've got off to a rocking start.

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-I want us to go through to the kitchen now. Out there and turn right.

-Great.

-Great.

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'So here's hoping for more of that thumbs-up as we check out the kitchen.'

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So here we go.

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This is the kitchen/breakfast room for the property.

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-I think the biggest draw is that window.

-Beautiful view, yeah.

-An amazing view.

-It is.

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It's a bit small compared to what I wanted.

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-Out the back here, you've got a little office area.

-Yeah.

-You do have a downstairs WC.

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I think that we can change this and make it feel a lot more country.

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-Let's have a look upstairs.

-Great.

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'It's good to see Paul's considering everything this house has to offer, so we'll head upstairs.'

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The character continues up the stairs.

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Up here, we've got the family bathroom. We've got these lovely wooden doors.

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The single bedroom and two main bedrooms that I want to show you, so come this way.

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This is clearly a young lady's bedroom at the moment.

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-And you've got the beams...

-It's a good size.

-..and the views.

0:21:420:21:46

Yeah, it's got nice character, again I like the beams.

0:21:460:21:50

It's an unusual shape which is nice, probably nice for the kids.

0:21:500:21:54

'Brilliant. They seem pleased by the character and views that this property offers,

0:21:540:21:59

'so let's check out where they would be sleeping.'

0:21:590:22:03

-In this room, which is the main bedroom, you get one of the best character features.

-It's lovely.

0:22:030:22:09

-Very nice size as well.

-The crook beam there going right the way across.

-Yeah, I love it. Very nice.

0:22:090:22:15

-Those are strong words - "I love it."

-Yeah, I know. I love that beam. Wow!

0:22:150:22:20

'Along with all the character, there's a dressing room tucked away round the corner and a small WC.

0:22:200:22:26

'Now we've seen the main house, we step outside to explore the building next door.'

0:22:260:22:31

Over this side, you're into the annexe.

0:22:330:22:36

-Wow!

-I thought this would surprise you.

-Lovely.

-Much bigger than we thought.

0:22:360:22:41

You've got two bedrooms upstairs and a bathroom.

0:22:410:22:44

Down here is the living room, a kitchen and a tiny study/office.

0:22:440:22:49

But I was thinking that perhaps you could cover over that walkway that joins the two buildings,

0:22:490:22:55

knock this through and make yourself one big kitchen/diner over here.

0:22:550:23:00

-Yeah, we could do that.

-Great idea.

-That would give you all the space you wanted.

0:23:000:23:05

-You've got that wonderful feature fireplace.

-Which would fit into the new kitchen.

0:23:050:23:10

Full of great ideas, we are. Come on.

0:23:100:23:13

Out here, we've got outbuildings, any number.

0:23:160:23:19

We've got them all around here, there's a shed over there.

0:23:190:23:23

To your right, we've got a home office, but probably not big enough to do your client training sessions.

0:23:230:23:29

Have a look over there and tell me if that structure is big enough.

0:23:290:23:33

It's 90 foot and it houses two lorries.

0:23:330:23:36

All in all, with this property, you would get 11 acres.

0:23:380:23:41

-Wow!

-Wow!

-And as you can tell, the current owners are a registered smallholding.

-Yeah.

0:23:410:23:48

So they've got Gloucester Old Spots, the chickens, one cow, some goats, a few sheep, everything you'd want.

0:23:480:23:55

-Can we get those little pigs too?

-You might have to negotiate for those. They are gorgeous.

-So cute.

0:23:550:24:01

Is this what you were imagining? You talked about having a smallholding.

0:24:010:24:05

-This is fairly sizeable.

-Yeah, and you can look over all the land which is fantastic.

0:24:050:24:10

-We'd want to be able to see our animals from the house.

-Yeah. COCKEREL CROWS

0:24:100:24:16

The question is... Yes, he's asking the question! How much is it worth?

0:24:160:24:20

Because it doesn't have the perfect building for the workshop, I would go for 750.

0:24:200:24:25

I think it might be closer to the 800,

0:24:250:24:29

so I'm going to go 775 again.

0:24:290:24:31

You're sticking with your number.

0:24:310:24:34

OK, it's actually on the market for... And you are closer. ..£795,000.

0:24:340:24:40

-Yes!

-So five grand short of your budget.

-So it's one-all.

0:24:400:24:44

Not that the two of you are competitive in any way(!) I'd hate to see you horse riding.

0:24:440:24:49

I think you need to have a bit more of an explore around what could be your land and your property.

0:24:490:24:55

So off you go and I will see you later on.

0:24:550:24:58

'I think Paul and Kesri have been won over by the period charm and the amount of land with this property...

0:24:580:25:05

'So lots of scope for the smallholding, business premises and even a riding school.'

0:25:210:25:27

I absolutely love, love, love the character in it.

0:25:270:25:31

Beautiful beams, the doorway into the lounge, amazing. Absolutely amazing.

0:25:310:25:36

The beautiful woodwork was exquisite, just what we'd look for.

0:25:360:25:41

-This would make a great office for both of us to work in. It's large enough.

-Yeah.

0:25:410:25:46

-But probably not big enough for a learning retreat.

-Perhaps we could use that huge shed down the bottom.

0:25:460:25:52

-That's my indoor riding school.

-OK.

0:25:520:25:55

We could consider these smaller buildings on the side of the house.

0:25:550:26:00

It's really important to have a learning retreat and, to be honest, I can't really visualise it here.

0:26:000:26:07

The land is perfect, exactly the size we would need.

0:26:070:26:10

11 acres for our four horses would allow us to have the extra animals

0:26:100:26:14

that we always dreamt of having, so absolutely wonderful.

0:26:140:26:18

I think that this is a place that we could certainly make our home.

0:26:180:26:22

-Hello, guys. Plenty to think about now, haven't you?

-Yeah, lots of things.

0:26:220:26:27

-But the journey isn't over yet, so let's keep moving.

-OK.

0:26:270:26:31

'As Paul and Kesri are planning to move to an older or converted property,

0:26:340:26:39

'set in such a rural corner of the country, it's also likely they'll be living under the same roof as bats,

0:26:390:26:46

'as there are 15 of the UK's 17 bat species thriving on insects

0:26:460:26:50

'around Herefordshire's woodlands and rivers.

0:26:500:26:53

'Bats are a vital indicator for Defra in monitoring our biodiversity levels

0:26:530:26:58

'and they are legally protected.

0:26:580:27:01

'I've come to this house close to the River Wye

0:27:010:27:04

'which is the largest bat roost in the West Midlands and home to some 1,200 bats.

0:27:040:27:09

'They're elusive little creatures and I'm here to meet James Bissett,

0:27:090:27:13

'one of 2,000 dedicated volunteers from the Bat Conservation Trust, to find out more.'

0:27:130:27:19

This looks like an ordinary house. How is it possible it's the largest bat roost in the West Midlands?

0:27:190:27:25

It's in the perfect location for bats. You've got the beautiful trees and some natural surroundings.

0:27:250:27:31

You've got the River Wye 200 metres down there, so enough insects to keep as many bats as you want happy.

0:27:310:27:37

-What kind of bats do we have here?

-Soprano pipistrelles.

-Can we go and look at one?

-Certainly.

-OK.

0:27:370:27:43

-Ah!

-Denise, can I introduce you to Rebecca Collins?

-Hello.

-Hi, Rebecca.

0:27:440:27:50

-Pleased to meet you.

-You're a bat volunteer warden?

-Yes, like James.

0:27:500:27:54

Why do we need bat volunteer wardens?

0:27:540:27:57

Basically, people like me and James are here to help people who don't know about bats

0:27:570:28:03

and if people find bats in their home and they're not quite sure what to do,

0:28:030:28:08

we can go along, find out what they are and give them some advice.

0:28:080:28:12

-What's in this box?

-This has got one of my injured bats.

0:28:120:28:16

Members of the public bring us injured bats.

0:28:160:28:19

We try and fix them and take them back to where they were found.

0:28:190:28:22

-OK.

-We'll go and find him. He's an opinionated little fellow.

-What's wrong with him? What's his injury?

0:28:220:28:29

He has a defunct wing. I'll show you his wing. You see how fine they are?

0:28:290:28:34

This is why they're really easily injured.

0:28:340:28:37

This is his wingspan. See how big they look when they are flying.

0:28:370:28:42

That's his thumb at the top there.

0:28:420:28:44

When the wing is folded, that's how they pull themselves out.

0:28:440:28:49

Pipistrelles feed around the edge of habitats, so these are the ones people often see in their gardens.

0:28:490:28:55

They're the best adapted of all of our species to live alongside humans

0:28:550:29:00

because they're so small they fit into tiny crevices.

0:29:000:29:03

Well, they certainly fit in here and...the sun has gone down.

0:29:030:29:08

I think some are ready to come out. Shall we go and have a look?

0:29:080:29:12

We should put this little one away and go find those 1,200 bats.

0:29:120:29:17

'So we assume our positions and hope to spot a few.'

0:29:170:29:20

Oh, it's started raining!

0:29:200:29:23

-Is that going to put them off?

-No, not at all. They're quite happy. They're very hardy.

0:29:230:29:29

-Happier than I am.

-They're that close to woodland, they drop out

0:29:290:29:34

and then straight into the trees, which the rain doesn't penetrate. So they'll feed in the woodland.

0:29:340:29:41

Shall we have a listen?

0:29:410:29:44

-This is their bat sonar.

-This is above our hearing.

0:29:450:29:49

And there they are. This is a really special moment.

0:29:490:29:54

-Thank you very much for inviting me here to meet you and see the bats.

-No problem.

-Thank you.

0:29:540:30:01

With our first day of house searching over, Paul and Kesri take stock of what they've seen so far.

0:30:040:30:11

-What about the barn conversion?

-It was great in terms of size of rooms

0:30:110:30:16

and the number of rooms it had.

0:30:160:30:19

-But it really lacked character, especially downstairs.

-Yeah.

0:30:190:30:24

I think the kitchen looked good with the beams, open plan, nice size.

0:30:240:30:29

-I agree that the lounge was a little characterless, but the windows were great.

-Yeah, amazing views.

0:30:290:30:35

The office was probably too small for a learning retreat as well.

0:30:350:30:39

-And the land probably not enough.

-Definitely not enough land for the horses we want.

0:30:390:30:45

-But a good start. What did you think of the smallholding?

-Really liked the stone building,

0:30:450:30:51

-the arch at the front door. Inside was amazing.

-The character.

-Just absolutely loved that.

0:30:510:30:57

The stonework inside, the beams and so on. It looked great.

0:30:570:31:01

It didn't have the unique building we wanted for our learning retreat.

0:31:010:31:05

I thought the small office space was good. The outbuildings were probably not suitable for you,

0:31:050:31:13

-but I did really like the large shed. That would make a great indoor school.

-Riding school.

0:31:130:31:21

-Are you looking forward to tomorrow?

-Yeah, absolutely. If the properties improve as they did today,

0:31:210:31:27

we'll definitely find one we want.

0:31:270:31:29

Paul and Kesri want to leave the town of Haslemere, Surrey, behind

0:31:340:31:38

and saddle up for a horsey life in Herefordshire. With £800,000,

0:31:380:31:42

they're looking for a character family home with outbuildings for their business

0:31:420:31:47

and land for horses and a smallholding. They've seen two properties, but coming up...

0:31:470:31:53

a retreat room of their own.

0:31:530:31:56

-Very nice space.

-Away from the kids.

-There you go!

0:31:560:31:59

A well thought out family home!

0:31:590:32:02

'And there's two buildings for the price of one with our Mystery House.'

0:32:020:32:07

It's day two of our property search and so far I've got to say

0:32:070:32:12

their desire for this property full of character seems to relate more to the business that they want

0:32:120:32:19

than their family home. So today we'll keep trying to fulfil that wish,

0:32:190:32:24

and with their budget that's still quite difficult, but I'm really waiting to see

0:32:240:32:29

when that magic word "compromise" becomes part of Kesri's approach.

0:32:290:32:34

Our next house is close to the village of Garway, 10 miles from Ross-on-Wye.

0:32:340:32:40

It's a quiet village, perfect for sampling outdoor life and a pint of real ale.

0:32:400:32:45

And truly befitting its rural surroundings, the local primary is an award-winning eco-school.

0:32:450:32:52

Our next property is just outside the village centre in Garway Hill.

0:32:520:32:57

Right, here we are. Another day, another property.

0:32:590:33:03

I think this will be a special one. Just come up here.

0:33:030:33:06

-And take a look at this barn conversion.

-It's lovely.

0:33:060:33:10

-Absolutely beautiful. Very good.

-Stunning. I love the stone.

0:33:100:33:16

-It's really beautiful.

-I can't wait to see inside.

-Yes, let's have a look.

-Great.

0:33:160:33:21

Right. Come on in.

0:33:240:33:27

-Oh, this is lovely.

-Ahh!

0:33:270:33:30

Are you surprised?

0:33:300:33:32

Very. Nice and big.

0:33:320:33:34

Yeah, lovely size. And some of the features of the beams are beautiful.

0:33:340:33:39

Plenty of space for a kitchen table, doors out to the garden.

0:33:390:33:43

Those floors. I always wanted a big, open-plan space. This fits the bill.

0:33:430:33:48

-Perfect the way it is.

-Yeah.

-Ideal?

-Ideal is the word.

-Perfect.

0:33:480:33:53

I got a smile! And "ideal", "perfect". I'm happy.

0:33:540:33:59

'This stunning barn conversion has a higgledy layout, spread over four levels.

0:33:590:34:04

'Down a few steps from the is a massive utility room

0:34:040:34:08

'and upstairs on the first floor is an awe-inspiring reception room.'

0:34:080:34:12

-You wouldn't believe you could get that much space again, but you pretty much do up here.

-Wow.

0:34:120:34:19

-Gorgeous. Wow, look at those beams.

-Amazing.

0:34:190:34:22

A smile and a laugh. What do you think?

0:34:250:34:28

It's amazing how they've done it. This is one of the best barn conversions we've seen.

0:34:280:34:33

-Yeah, by a long way.

-Can you imagine this being your family home?

0:34:330:34:38

-Totally, yeah.

-Plenty of room to grow, for the children to play, just in these two rooms.

0:34:380:34:44

Jaden would love swinging on those beams!

0:34:440:34:48

Let's check out the bedrooms. We've got another level to go up and then back down to the master.

0:34:480:34:55

'On the second floor are three of the four bedrooms, including a sweet single and a good-sized double.

0:34:550:35:03

'And a handy bathroom for the children.'

0:35:030:35:06

-First I want to show you this room.

-It's a lovely size, isn't it?

-Yeah, that's lovely.

-Nice stone.

0:35:060:35:12

-Loving your stone!

-I was thinking it's a nice room for the kids to share

0:35:120:35:18

-while they're still young.

-Yeah, and then they could have their own rooms once they're bigger.

-Yeah.

0:35:180:35:25

'So back downstairs to the lower floor, where we find the spacious family bathroom with stone walls

0:35:250:35:32

'and wonderful oak panelling. Next door is the master bedroom,

0:35:320:35:37

'which I'm sure they'll love.'

0:35:370:35:39

-Wow. What a nice-sized room.

-Ah!

-Beautiful size.

0:35:390:35:44

-Lovely and light as well.

-Beams, space.

0:35:440:35:47

-Something in there.

-A dressing room.

-Very nice space.

-Away from the kids.

0:35:470:35:53

There you go. A well thought-out family home.

0:35:530:35:56

It's an outstanding property.

0:35:560:35:59

It's really beautiful, really quirky.

0:35:590:36:02

It's got all the features we wanted inside. really pleased.

0:36:020:36:06

'They seem won over by this house, so we're heading outside for hopefully the same wow factor.'

0:36:060:36:13

Right.

0:36:140:36:15

Here you go. Just at the back of the house.

0:36:150:36:19

A nice little garden, some flowers, a seating area to sit outside and appreciate it.

0:36:190:36:25

-Mm.

-Mm?

0:36:250:36:27

It just feels really closed in to the house. I want to be able to see the land

0:36:270:36:33

and feel the space. I don't feel it.

0:36:330:36:36

-Yeah, it is kind of...

-This feels too small?

0:36:360:36:41

-You feel like you're in a little garden.

-Claustrophobic, yeah.

0:36:410:36:45

-Yet it's a big garden.

-Yes. Let's look at the rest of the space.

0:36:450:36:49

'Well, looks can be deceiving.

0:36:490:36:51

'This humble garden shed is actually a rather spacious office and there's a whole lot more space on offer

0:36:510:36:57

'just around the corner.'

0:36:570:37:00

Right, come back here and start talking about the land that really comes with this property.

0:37:000:37:06

-It's not just that tiny little garden. It is, in fact, a whole 36 acres.

-Wow.

0:37:060:37:12

-36 acres, wow.

-I never expected you to say that.

-I know you didn't!

0:37:120:37:18

Wow, indeed.

0:37:180:37:20

-Mmm.

-Is that enough space for you, Kesri?

0:37:200:37:23

Yeah, that's more like it, but is all the land steep like this?

0:37:230:37:27

Some of it is tiered, yes. It goes up behind there and there's a forest area, a stream runs through.

0:37:270:37:35

-A stream's nice.

-This is not great for horses?

-No, a bit too steep.

0:37:350:37:40

-And the horses are important.

-Yeah.

-I have a solution for that.

0:37:400:37:45

-Shall we go and have a look?

-Yeah.

0:37:460:37:49

Right.

0:37:520:37:53

Round here we can see some more of your 36 acres. Come on through.

0:37:530:37:58

-This is more like a paddock for the horses, isn't it?

-Mmm.

-This would be great for the horses.

0:37:580:38:04

-This one, that one and up that hill.

-Yeah, this is much better.

-The horses would be happy here.

0:38:040:38:10

Good. We've found a space for the horses. Now your business.

0:38:100:38:15

-Yeah.

-Which I know is a key driver with this move as well.

0:38:150:38:19

We've tried to show you a great property and enough land to do as you wish, to create your vision.

0:38:190:38:26

-Lots of scope.

-Yeah.

-How much do you have to pay for it?

0:38:260:38:31

Well, I'd say, considering the beautiful property and the land and it's really quite remote,

0:38:310:38:37

I'd probably say around...

0:38:370:38:40

-770.

-OK.

0:38:400:38:43

I think this is a hard one. They've spent a lot on the conversion,

0:38:430:38:47

but considering what you've shown us before, where it had outbuildings as well,

0:38:470:38:53

I'll go for...760.

0:38:530:38:57

So under your budget, but close to the top end.

0:38:570:39:01

Well, this property has been lovingly converted,

0:39:010:39:05

and the price therefore is £795,000.

0:39:050:39:09

Mm.

0:39:090:39:10

Yeah, I kind of expected it.

0:39:100:39:13

-I was being optimistic!

-Optimistic.

0:39:140:39:17

'Kesri and Paul have been bowled over by this barn conversion

0:39:170:39:22

'and despite having lots more land than they asked for, they're still unsure if it would suit their needs.

0:39:220:39:28

'Coming in under budget at £795,000, they would get...

0:39:280:39:32

'with great potential for the horses and their business.'

0:39:420:39:46

-It's a beautiful house.

-The beams are amazing.

-It's got everything we wanted in a house.

0:39:460:39:53

-Open plan, lots of beams, beautiful kitchen You can imagine the kids here.

-Yeah, sure.

0:39:530:40:00

I thought this was fantastic.

0:40:000:40:03

It's definitely a home I could see us living in. I'd love to live here.

0:40:030:40:08

-What did you think about the land?

-Well, there's a lot of it!

0:40:080:40:12

It's a little hilly, but the amount of land is wonderful.

0:40:120:40:17

But no barn for a training retreat, which is one of our key things.

0:40:170:40:21

-It's a great area for the kids.

-It would be nice if we could open it up a bit. Really lovely.

0:40:210:40:28

You didn't gallop that far!

0:40:280:40:30

You found a good area for the kids, but that's enough of this property.

0:40:300:40:35

There is more to do. Come on.

0:40:350:40:37

'Keeping horses is key to Paul and Kesri's move to the country and as they'll be looking to buy a horse,

0:40:440:40:50

'we've arranged for them to meet Hannah Fenwick at the Arrow Equestrian Centre for some tips.'

0:40:500:40:57

-I hear you're looking for a horse.

-That's right. We know a lot about looking after horses,

0:40:570:41:03

but we're scared about buying one. I wouldn't have a clue. And Paul would need to ride it as well.

0:41:030:41:10

So something suitable for both of you to enjoy.

0:41:100:41:14

So we'll whet your appetite. We've got a few horses to look at. Shall we go?

0:41:140:41:20

Yeah.

0:41:200:41:21

When buying a horse, it's important to consider the horse's personality,

0:41:210:41:26

size and how easy they would be to train.

0:41:260:41:29

Today they'll look at two horses, starting with a thoroughbred.

0:41:290:41:33

Hannah shows them how to check over the horse's condition, starting with a teeth check,

0:41:330:41:39

for vital clues to its health and age.

0:41:390:41:42

-Some of the things we need to look at now is having a little look at his teeth.

-Yeah.

0:41:420:41:48

You can see through the length and shape that he's over 15.

0:41:480:41:54

Then we want to have a look at his legs to see that they are nice and clean

0:41:540:42:00

and he hasn't got any lumps and bumps and scars from old injuries

0:42:000:42:05

that could cause a problem with long-term soundness.

0:42:050:42:10

We can see that he's not as deep in the barrel as we hoped.

0:42:100:42:14

Whilst, Kesri, he would probably be a lovely ride for you,

0:42:140:42:18

he may not ride big enough for Paul and take Paul's leg up.

0:42:180:42:22

Next up, it's the Connemara Warmblood, which would be a good height for Paul to ride.

0:42:220:42:28

The same things apply.

0:42:280:42:30

When you go and see a horse, go for the first time to look on your own, get a feel for the horse.

0:42:300:42:37

Then take somebody like myself or your trainer along.

0:42:380:42:43

We might pick up things that you didn't. If you still like the horse,

0:42:430:42:48

that's the time to get the vet out.

0:42:480:42:50

-I think this one because of its size is probably more suitable for us.

-Yeah, definitely.

0:42:500:42:56

He's going to fulfil your requirements for both of you riding, more so than the thoroughbred.

0:42:560:43:02

So shall we get him tacked up, then? Off we go.

0:43:020:43:06

So time to see the horse in motion in the arena.

0:43:060:43:10

As they might spend around £6,000 with an annual upkeep of £3,000,

0:43:100:43:15

it's vital to back a winner.

0:43:150:43:17

It's important that Kesri rides the horse to get an idea of how responsive he is to her.

0:43:170:43:23

They will need to exercise their horse for around an hour a day

0:43:230:43:28

riding the bridle ways and working the horse's skills.

0:43:280:43:32

They'll also need to allow one and a half acres of land for each animal.

0:43:320:43:38

With well over 2,000 horses rescued each year, owning a horse is a life-changing commitment

0:43:380:43:43

and not a decision to be taken lightly. Now it's time to dismount as our house hunt continues.

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It's Mystery House time.

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And, yeah, I don't know how we're going to surprise you, Kesri.

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I know you've done a fair bit of research, so what would shock you?

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A totally modern house, maybe.

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Or a house in a complex.

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Maybe you'll show us a totally derelict barn.

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'Well, Kesri, you could be right as our Mystery House is deceptive in more ways than one.

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'We're heading to the village of Pembridge, 7 miles from Leominster.

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'One of the celebrated stop-off points on North Herefordshire's village trail,

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'Pembridge is renowned for its medieval buildings.

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'But it's a working village with a farm shop and local primary school.

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'Our Mystery House is in keeping with the timber frame theme.'

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Unfortunately, it has started raining! But, yes, you should be happy. There are stables.

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-This is the Mystery House.

-Stunning.

-Amazing.

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-I got a genuine "amazing" out of you!

-That is beautiful.

-Isn't it just?

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-We like!

-"We like!" She likes.

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There's lots to love and it's raining, so let's get inside and have a look. Go on.

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'Only the core of this house is Tudor. The rest was carefully renovated and extended in 2001,

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'using reclaimed materials to blend in with the local architecture,

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'making a deceptively bright and spacious, characterful proposition.'

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-Right, let's get started. This is a proper kitchen.

-Nice, open-plan, really big.

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-A nice range over there.

-That's right.

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Stonework that I know you like, beams, the sun room added on.

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-Lovely views.

-A teaser of the land outside.

-Lovely.

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-I think it's great.

-Stunning. A really big, nice, open space.

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-There's a lot here.

-Beautiful.

-A great kitchen, but there's so much more. Let's keep going.

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'Downstairs, there's also a home office to run their business from.

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'On the other side of this hallway is one of the two generous reception rooms with an inglenook fireplace.

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'We're going to look at the second one.'

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-Beautiful.

-Stunning.

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Loads of character! More than we expected, really.

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-So far, so good.

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-Then let's get upstairs, then, and see the bedrooms.

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'With its light and spacious rooms, this house satisfies the demands of modern living and its heritage.'

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-Now...

-Wow!

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-This is an amazing landing.

-It really opens up up here.

-Wow.

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-It's really wide and beautiful.

-Like walking into a library.

-A great use of this hall space.

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-It's almost like another room.

-Yeah.

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Let's check out the bedrooms. Come in to this one.

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Beautiful.

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-Wow. That's a bed for a king.

-It's a room fit for a king!

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Lots of beams. Beautiful.

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Love it. Every room has been full of character. That's the dream.

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Come this way.

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-Oh, my God.

-Look at this!

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-Huge, wow. This is big enough to be a bedroom!

-Another fantastic room.

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Stunning, really. A huge size. Lots of character.

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'This Jack and Jill bathroom leads through to one of the other three bedrooms, a large double,

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'again with those beautiful beams.

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'Off the landing, there's another double and a room currently set up as a study with an en suite WC

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'and shower. But there's also a bright, modern family bathroom.

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'After a resounding thumbs up on the house, we go outside to add even more mystery.'

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It's still threatening to rain, so let's keep these with us.

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Here we are, outside now.

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-It's a beautiful garden. Perfect for the kids, eh?

-Yeah.

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It is, but before we talk about the garden, what I really want to show you is...this.

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-Does that come with the property?

-A-ha! Now this is the Mystery House!

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-You want to run a training centre.

-Mm-hm.

-You were looking for a barn.

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We thought you could use that.

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Mystery, indeed! It looks stunning.

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-It's really beautiful. This is a twist to the tale.

-It is.

-Wow.

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-Wow.

-It's incredible.

-A schoolhouse?

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There's a lot to it. It needs a lot of work. It's a good steady structure,

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but inside, this would be a project.

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-Up for it?

-Mm-hm.

-Absolutely.

-Let's have a look.

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'They were happy to convert an outbuilding, but will this be too challenging

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'for our ex-property developers? Or will its potential get their creative juices flowing?'

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There's something great about it being a schoolhouse to do training in. It's just really good.

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'This Mystery House keeps on giving and there are more surprises.'

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Let's talk about some items on the landscape. Heated swimming pool, tennis court.

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-But, most importantly, how much land do you reckon you get?

-10 acres.

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-That would be nice, wouldn't it?

-Yeah.

-Shame. We're going to give you 17 if you buy this property!

0:49:250:49:32

Wow.

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-It's fantastic land. Wow.

-Beautiful.

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-And it's flat.

-Stunning.

-It's time to wander back that way

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and talk about how much it will cost. The final piece to this mystery puzzle.

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'So it's crunch time. How much do they think this amazing Mystery House is going for?'

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Right, that's the property. It is beautiful, but how much do you think it's all worth?

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I think this one's over budget. You're going to dangle a carrot and then...pull the rug out.

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I would say about...850.

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850 and I still think that's optimistic!

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-Go on, Paul.

-I'll say 840.

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-So very close to Kesri's guess and over your budget?

-Mm.

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Well, I'm not so mean as to dangle a carrot and snatch it away.

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The price of this property is £795,000.

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Wow.

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-Yeah.

-Didn't expect that.

-I didn't expect that.

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-Very beautiful.

-Beautiful price?

-Yeah, well...695 would have been great, but...

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There's no pleasing you two!

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'I think our Mystery House has challenged their preconceptions,

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'but will the redevelopment of the old schoolhouse be a project too far?

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'At £795,000, this is great value for money, offering them...

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'Plenty of space for the smallholding and their horses,

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'with the added extras of a tennis court and heated swimming pool.'

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It was certainly a mystery.

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We were really surprised. It's a stunning property.

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We never considered a Tudor-style property before, but it's fantastic.

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Every single room in the house had heaps of character.

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I felt the building was incredible of the old schoolhouse.

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I couldn't believe that it came with the property as well.

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From the outside it looked great. It needs loads of work inside.

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Whether Paul's up for that amount of work is a question, with the babies and everything.

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It's not like converting a barn. It's huge.

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I think that the school is a great opportunity. I think there is potential for us to develop that

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and it's something I could see myself doing. We were both in awe when we walked in

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and it's not easy to do that with Kesri!

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-I think it's an amazing property.

-Character.

-In every room. Beautiful.

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We didn't really ask for stables, but we want to keep horses,

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so having stables is great.

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A plus is we never considered having a swimming pool and a tennis court.

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That would be brilliant for Jaden and Kayla to get an active life.

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Hello, guys. There you go.

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I know you loved this house, but now it's time to sit down,

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-think about it and decide what to do next. Come on.

-OK.

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Our house hunt has taken Paul and Kesri on a real journey and given them a host of options.

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It's decision time for Paul and Kes. There are definitely two strong contenders out of our properties.

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And the Mystery House is one. But which one will they go for? Let's find out.

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Hi, there. Kes, Paul, what a journey you've been on, trying to find a house in Herefordshire!

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We've seen a lot of property. Houses, outbuildings, land.

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-We started with the fairly modern barn conversion.

-From the front, it looked amazing, really great.

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Once we entered the property, it was a little bit of a let down.

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A lot of the character was lost.

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-What did you think of the office building?

-It would have been brilliant for us to work from home,

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but it lacked an outbuilding. It was too small.

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-Let's talk about the farmhouse.

-The property was great.

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The dining room and lounge were absolutely amazing.

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The character was exactly what we were looking for and the grounds were wonderful.

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-It did have a lot of what we were looking for.

-There was that huge industrial building at the back.

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We thought it would make a great indoor riding school,

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rather than a character building for the business.

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We want people to come over and have a great experience and it wouldn't be so memorable

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in an agricultural building.

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-Let's talk about the barn conversion.

-It's so lovingly restored and the land was beautiful.

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-I could see our family living there.

-There was nothing we would change.

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But it felt quite enclosed because there was elevated gardens all around the barn.

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-You felt quite closed in. You didn't get that feeling of country.

-The land was very hilly and steep.

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It wasn't quite the land we need.

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So the Mystery property. Something you wouldn't have looked at.

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It really, really was stunning.

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It had everything and more. We never considered a tennis court and swimming pool.

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-It would be fantastic for the kids.

-The house was perfect.

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For character, you couldn't ask for more. And size of rooms, the view...

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We've never been into a house where every room has a wow factor. Amazing. Out of this world.

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-And the surprise...

-Yeah.

-..was the outbuilding.

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-The schoolhouse.

-It has absolutely great potential. I loved the opportunity there.

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-Loved the land. Beautiful and flat and green.

-Lovely land.

-So what happens next?

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I think we'd want to do a bit more investigation on the last one.

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We don't really know that area so we'd investigate.

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You are very exact with your requirements, but this is a move for life.

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-Yeah, definitely.

-I hope it's the Mystery House!

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Thank you very much for being with us.

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-Thank you for taking us on this journey. It's been amazing.

-It's been a great experience.

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What a superb result! It looks like not only have we found the perfect family home for them,

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we've also found them a property to run the training business from

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and finally realise their dream of escaping to the country. I'll see you next time.

0:56:490:56:56

If you would like to escape to the country and need our help,

0:56:560:56:59

please apply online here:

0:56:590:57:02

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011

0:57:150:57:19

Email [email protected]

0:57:210:57:23

Denise Nurse is with a couple of ex-property developers who want to leave Hazlemere, Surrey and head for the hills of Herefordshire with their two dogs and ten-month-old twins. They have already moved seven times while developing properties, but now it's different. The dynamic duo also run a business training company, and this move takes the business one step further.

With a budget of £800,000, they want a family home that gives them a large kitchen with a 'heart of the home' feel, three bedrooms, country character features and at least four acres of land to house a smallholding, their business centre and the horses they plan to keep.


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