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I'm in a county full of myth and legend which has, at its heart,
an island with a hill on it and, on top, a glorious little church.
All clues that point to the location for today's Escape To The Country.
'I'm helping a couple head out of town and take on their next challenge in the country.'
We've been married long enough to like a challenge.
'We'll be taking a tour, and I get a masterclass in Yorkshire humour.'
Where there's no sense there's no feeling.
'And there's the mystery house, which could upset the apple cart.'
Today, I'm in Somerset.
I'm standing on what used to be known as the Isle of Avalon.
You may recognise that fantastic hill, the famous Glastonbury Tor.
Atop it, a lovely little mediaeval church, legendary resting place of good King Arthur and Guinevere.
The perfect place for a romantic and magical Escape To The Country.
'Somerset is flanked by the counties of Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire.
'The landscape varies hugely,
'from Cheddar Gorge with its limestone cliffs and caves,
'to the Somerset Levels, renowned for its migrating birds.
'The county wears its rich geological colours on its sleeve,
'from honey-coloured Bath stone, the hamstone in Martock,
'to the distinctive blue lias stone in towns like Somerton.
'With Somerset's mild climate comes lots of excellent local produce.
'Apple orchards and cider farms abound,
'and livestock thrive on the rich pasture,
'making it a perfect place for leading the good life.'
Compared to its neighbouring county Dorset, prices in Somerset
are a good 13% lower.
It's also popular with many Bristolians,
keen to escape the city, and with many second home owners.
All of that combined means that your average detached property
will set you back just over 273,000 quid.
So what do you get for your money?
Here's a selection of what's on the market now.
'Splash out on this five-bedroom country house in the Chew Valley
'for 1.35 million.
'It has grand reception rooms, fireplaces and a large kitchen.
'Set in 5.5 acres, there are spectacular views of the Mendips.
'For £500,000, you could bag this four-bedroom cottage near Kilve.
'The sitting room leads onto a terrace, as does the kitchen-diner.
'The quarter of an acre garden overlooks surrounding fields.
'This three-bedroom 16th century cottage in Combe St Nicholas
'could be yours for £365,000.
'The lounge has an inglenook fireplace and beams.
'There's a landscaped garden and a stone well.'
There is a fantastic range of property on offer in Somerset -
the perfect place to escape to the country, which is what today's buyers are doing.
'It's the turn of Sarah, a finance manager, and Steven, a telecommunications manager,
'who've lived in Maidenhead for 18 years.
'With their children about to fly the nest,
'they are ready to leave behind the house they have lovingly restored.'
We bought it as a three-bedroom detached house. We fully renovated it from top to bottom.
We now have a five-bedroom and three-reception house.
'Sarah and Steven poured their efforts into renovating this house.
'With a move to Somerset on the cards, they're turning their attention to land.'
We've got a fairly large plot which we converted to growing vegetables,
all sorts of vegetables.
Going forward, we're hoping that will give us space to produce more.
-Also, we want to keep some livestock.
-Some animals would be interesting.
-Other than the dog!
-Other than the dog.
'They've drawn up a list of requirements.'
Three bedrooms, two reception rooms,
It would be nice to have a big boot room or outbuildings, and lots more land.
Anything over two acres, no near neighbours.
Golf on the doorstep with a local pub. What more could you want?
'And there are a few other considerations.'
My dad passed away and left me a bunch of wood-turning equipment.
There's a couple of work benches, a lathe and a host of things I can't wait to get my hands on.
'Steven's got his own ideas.'
This is my pride and joy. I've got a soft spot for MGs.
The first car I took Sarah out in was an MG.
I'm looking for a larger garage with plenty of space to work around the car.
We try to grow a lot of our own fruit and vegetables.
Over the summer, we very rarely buy anything from the shops.
We'd like to make it a larger scale than what we've got.
We're also exploring the idea of setting up our own business,
to consider domestic wind turbines,
whether that's something that can be developed into a small business.
'Relaxation doesn't seem to be part of their country dream.'
It's quite exciting to think about getting our teeth into a new project
and maybe developing a business, maybe growing our own,
maybe just renovating the house again.
We both enjoy thinking outside the square, whether house or garden. That'll be a nice challenge.
'With their house on the market for just under £700,000,
'they're hoping to clear their mortgage, so what's the budget?'
If we see a property that's exactly what we want, we're happy to go up to £500,000.
Our budding eco-entrepreneurs are looking for a characterful house
with three bedrooms, a couple of reception rooms,
enough space to double their vegetable growing operation and incorporate some livestock.
They've got half a million pounds. It does sound like a lot of money.
It is, but the question is, is it going to be enough to find exactly what they're looking for?
Land doesn't come cheap, and nice houses are hard to find.
'Sarah and Steven want a home with access to the motorway,
'so they can visit their children,
'making Somerton a good place to search.
'I'll be showing them Somerset's best, but I won't reveal the price straight away.
'And I'll open the floodgates with the mystery house.
'I've come to Wells to meet our buyers.'
Sarah, Steven, welcome to Somerset.
You've got half a million quid burning a hole in your pocket.
You want a home. You also want a new lifestyle and potentially somewhere to run a business from.
-All at once.
-We wanted to give you a challenge.
-Thanks(!) Never short of those on this show!
Give me an idea of what kind of business you might think of?
I'm working in telecoms.
Working from home would be key.
But in the future, we are looking at setting up a business
installing domestic wind turbines, which is an idea we're looking into.
Currently, we grow a lot of fruit and veg. We want to carry on and, possibly, consider some livestock.
-It really is The Good Life?
-That's the one.
What better place to start
than in the shadow of that wonderful building, Wells Cathedral?
Your half a million won't buy that so, if you're ready, let's go.
'Armed with a budget of £500,000, Sarah and Steven are looking for...
'..So, let's get on the road.'
What are you both hoping to gain from this experience of coming on a house search with us?
We have seen the programme a few times.
We're hoping that you're going to bring some different thoughts
to make it, maybe, more realistic.
Now, you are taking on quite a lot -
moving and looking for a business opportunity in this new property.
-Do you think you're taking on a lot?
-The reality is, Jules, we don't do things by halves.
That doesn't surprise me, somehow!
'Our first house takes us five miles west of Somerton to Langport,
'a small attractive town in the heart of the Somerset Levels.
'The town boasts a new eco-housing development.
'Steven and Sarah aren't the only eco-conscious buyers in town.
'The house is on a country lane.'
Let's start with this, shall we?
-What do you think?
-You may not think it, but at its core it's 16th century.
The current owners have extended it in every direction.
It offers a huge amount of accommodation in pretty grounds.
-First impressions very good.
Let's see if they continue inside. Follow me through the gate.
Greeted by something of a little study area.
-Again, a later extension.
You get a flavour of it by starting in your principal living room.
Nice room. Nice and warm.
The inglenook is original.
The fire surround itself is not.
-The really nice thing is that all the heat is solid fuel.
In terms of an environmentally friendly lifestyle...
-Fits the bill.
-A very handsome bill.
It's just a pile of logs. You're not dependant on the oil man.
My hope is that you would be able to put your mark on this.
Something to do on Saturday and Sunday!
-Absolutely. Other than golf?
There's always that as well.
-Let's go and look in the kitchen.
Something of a kitchen-diner.
-Yeah. Good space.
-A new addition.
That would have been its external wall. A little sun room as well.
You said you wanted a kitchen
-that you could eat in, without the need of a dining room.
That solid fuel cast iron range also does all your hot water.
There is also an immersion heater and you've got an electric cooker.
So in the summer, you don't need that cooking away.
You can use the cooker and your immersion will give you hot water.
The main thing is to get a sense whether the size of the rooms
-are going to work.
-It's a good kitchen. It's a good size.
In terms of utilities, you've got one here.
The boot room was something...
There's also another downstairs toilet.
-Ideal size for Jasper the dog.
'The boot room is certainly a bonus.
'Also off the kitchen is a bedroom en suite, ideal for guests.
'But let's go upstairs.'
You've got four bedrooms up here,
all leading off this central landing.
Huge family bathroom.
You've got lots to choose from.
This is about the same size as what is next door.
-What is doesn't have is an en suite.
What this house offers you is a huge amount of scope without a huge amount of effort.
No. You could move in and do it as and when we got round to it.
Well, let's go outside and check that out.
Whatever the house is, it's going to be nothing to you without some land.
'In addition, there are two good size single bedrooms, ideal for their daughters.
'I'd say they are quietly weighing up options inside.'
Right, let's start exploring.
In fairness, we haven't got acres - we've got about an acre.
But what I like is that it's neatly subdivided
into zones which fulfil all the things you want to do.
-Formal garden here.
-Especially on a day like this.
Here we've got a couple of workshops.
-You've inherited lots of tools.
-Yeah. Some wood-turning equipment.
Let's see if all these wood-turning bits and pieces will fit in here.
What can we fit in here?
-What about the car?
-The car will fit here, yes.
-The MG there and the wood-turning equipment here.
-How big is it all?
-I'm thinking big lathes and stuff.
-Yeah. There is a lathe.
There's a couple of work benches.
It's a good building.
The other building would make a great office.
-Heck of a commute!
'They're excited about what the outbuildings can offer,
'and Steve gets space to spread out.'
Then this is, I suppose, the working end of this particular garden.
Small paddock, yes.
It goes around the corner.
In terms of pigs, goats, that sort of thing, it would probably work.
-Yeah. It would work very well.
-It's on site.
-It's all contained.
Let's get to the other end of the garden.
So there's a bit of mowing to be done.
That'll be my department.
-Might have to get a sit-on mower.
-Well, it's a good excuse for a boy's toy!
As you can see, the bulk of it is formal garden.
-Vegetable patch over there.
-It's a nice space.
-You get a lovely view of the house.
-It's a large house.
Certainly a lot bigger than when it was built!
I think what it possibly lacks is a little bit more paddock space.
-We're determined on this whole green thing!
OK, let's think about how much it's worth. Make me an offer, Sarah.
Taking into consideration it's got five bedrooms, plus the acre,
I'd pay a little bit higher than that. Maybe 485.
-That is exactly what it's on the market for.
It gives you an idea of what we're up against.
-The trick is going to be finding you more land.
-It's not impossible.
-That's the challenge.
-A good challenge we've set you.
Go and have a good look around.
-I'll catch up with you a bit later.
'This is a great house to get our search under way.
'Below budget, it provides...'
-This is a perfect garage for the MG.
-It's also got the advantage of this bit, build up that wall,
put the wood-turning stuff there...
-So you won't get any dust on my car!
-All the dust from the wood-turning.
The house itself is very nice.
We could do some work to make it ours, make it personal to us.
Lovely garden. Workshop is ideal. All those tick the boxes.
The major plus is the outside land.
The pretty side of the garden is really nice.
It has a workshop. It has the place for the MG to keep Steven happy!
The concern I have is the amount of paddock space, or working space
within the property, but it's very nice.
-Yeah. That was great, thank you.
-It's still sunny. Let's keep looking.
'With Sarah and Steven keen to explore, they've come to Somerton.
'The mediaeval capital of Wessex, the buildings are made from local blue lias stone.
'Its 17th-century market square with octagonal market cross
'is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll.
'Five minutes' drive is Stembridge Tower Mill,
'the last thatched windmill in England, dating back to 1822.'
That's interesting. Old-fashioned wind turbine, I guess!
-Might need a little bit of work. Impressive, though.
'The windmill was in use until 1910,
'before being given to the National Trust in 1918.
'Offering views over the Somerset Levels,
'it's your archetypal wind turbine of days gone by.'
-Wow. Nice view.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-Yeah. Very peaceful.
This is why we're moving to the country.
If our place is like this it'll be fantastic.
'Sarah and Steven have their sights on new horizons.
'Let's hope they're inspired by what we have in store for them.
'Our next house takes us 14 miles from Somerton to Evercreech,
'with chocolate box cottages
'and grander buildings made from local limestone.
'There are a few shops and an enticing bakery.
'On the way to the house is a double garage for Steven's pride and joy.
'With this property, we're going big on land.'
It seems, Sarah, to me
that your desire for land has overtaken my understanding of your desire for a house.
Yeah. A house, you can change.
-With lots of land.
-Good. That's exactly what we've got.
-We've got you three and a half to four acres of that.
Perfect. For what we want to do, that amount of space is excellent.
The house is perfectly useable but it is quite small.
-It will need some extension.
-He says, tantalisingly.
Come and have a look and you'll see what I mean.
'Now let's examine the bricks and mortar.'
-There it is, in all its glory.
-It looks fine.
-It's all there. You could just move in.
But it is pretty small. There are plans to extend it.
So this is quite a project.
-Let's see if inside there's enough about it to make you want to take it on.
'They don't seem fazed so far, so in we go.'
We talk about a kitchen being the heart of a home.
-This is slap bang in the middle.
It would be nice as an entrance.
Some things to take away from it
are some of the features you might think about retaining.
The stone reveals, big deep windows.
There you've got a solid fuel range
and oil-fired central heating.
You've got that workable combination.
There's a little reception room here. "Cosy" I think is the word.
-A little snug.
Very, very cottagey. A little multi-fuel burner there.
-This is lovely, this room.
-It's very sweet.
I love the texture of the stone, the deep windows.
-We've got two sofas that would go in here nicely.
-You've moved in?
I'm delighted that you're seeing what this house can offer you.
To a lot of people, this would be a challenge.
-Challenges are what we do.
-We've been married long enough to like a challenge.
You've come on the right show!
Let's see what would happen with this extension, explore what's here
and see what you might do with that, wander right through.
Obviously, the current kitchen, as we've seen.
Now we're into what is the current extension.
This is the part of the building that would occupy the new extension
that you have the opportunity to put on this.
It goes all the way across.
You've got a downstairs family bathroom.
-This is the only bathroom in the property.
If this was the extension, then a lot of this would go
and this would become what we might think of as a large kitchen-diner.
It's going across, potentially, to the end of the green tool shed
and, of course, that way.
-You're not limited to the width as it is.
-Be a huge room.
'Sarah and Steven seem to be weighing up the potential,
'so let's go upstairs.'
Three bedrooms up here.
All quite small-ish.
There's one. A bit of built-in storage in there.
There's another. The beds are taking over these rooms.
But you might reconfigure this whole property.
This is, technically, the master.
But this would probably become a guest room, I would say.
-You'd have your master at the other end.
-In the extension.
-Nice little feature.
If you've got the extension, that would be the master bedroom.
One of those small rooms could be a bathroom.
Back to what you originally wanted.
-Which was three bedrooms...
We could put a loft in the new garage!
-You just want to nurse your MG.
-It's a boy shed thing.
-I think so.
-Yeah. It's boy zone.
-Your messy space.
-Brilliant. I love it.
'The house extension would be a large undertaking,
'but with Sarah and Steven's vision, perhaps it's a worthwhile project,
'depending on the price, of course.'
-There we are. Short but sweet. You haven't been put off?
-Like a challenge.
-You've come to the right place.
-Bit of a project.
The money is going to have a serious bearing on how much of this you want to take on.
-Given that, to make it work for you, you have to double in size.
-There's a bit of money to be spent on it.
You probably wouldn't see a lot of change out of 100 grand
between that extension and redoing the garage for a workshop
and home for the sports car.
-Steve, how much is it worth?
-How much is it worth?
We've got a fair amount of work. It has got the land. The other property didn't have the land.
Three bedrooms, relatively small. I would say about 425.
I think, because it's got the land, it'll be a bit more. About 440.
Y-yeah. All right.
It's on the market...for...
-"Offers in the region of." And it has come down to that.
I suspect a sensible offer would get a sensible answer,
-to reflect what is needed to make it a viable family home.
I think, if you look at the numbers, you've got to then...
-I said 425 but I probably would have been looking at around 400 with enough left to do it up.
-As I say, sensible offers.
-Have a look around.
See how it might reconfigure itself, in terms of layout.
-Think about the money and I'll catch up with you later.
There you are, £470,000.
They wanted a project but sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.
'So, for £470,000, this detached cottage has...'
-Yeah, I like this room.
-It's a nice snug living room.
Give it a good decorate, put our furniture in.
That's all you'd need to do.
I like the cottage feel to the house.
Not concerned about the project, the extension.
It's got huge potential. We can see beyond what's here.
We can add to it. We've got no problems with that.
The land's just what we're looking for.
My only concern is the numbers, making them add up.
-He might have to vacate the field, though.
-Chatting up your new neighbours?
-He might like our veggies, though.
-I'm sure he would.
I'm going to have to tear you away from house, field and horse.
'As Sarah and Steven are looking to be more self-sufficient,
'Somerset's Environmental Officer has brought us to meet Caroline Barry,
'who's been pioneering this way of life for 15 years.'
What an extraordinary thing! What have you set out to achieve here?
It's a how to build an eco-house in one easy move.
-How's it built?
-It's on car tyres, which lifts it off the ground.
It gives you natural damp-proofing. It's a timber frame.
The walls can be anything.
We've used straw bales and logs.
'Caroline spent £20,000 building her straw bale home
'and installing the tools to generate energy.
'By using solar, wind and hydro power,
'she hasn't had to pay an electricity bill since she moved in.
'Installing a hydro system could cost you up to 25 grand,
'but you could make money by selling your surplus electricity.
'Caroline's developed her ingenious version on a much smaller budget.'
-It's all very pretty.
-This, I find fascinating.
-Steve, we've talked a lot about wind power.
-What about hydro?
-It's an excellent idea.
-Is this your primary source of power?
Although we've got solar panels and a wind turbine,
the water wheel gives me 24 hours a day, a constant supply.
Is that likely to run your average family home?
A 5 kilowatt turbine is going to power two, maybe three houses.
-And that would cost you...?
-Probably around about 25,000.
Do those sort of costs put you off, Steve?
Not necessarily put me off, if you can generate enough electricity
to run a couple of houses.
-What's our electricity bill a year?
-A lot more.
-With two daughters, you probably do feel like the National Grid.
-True! They never turn anything off!
-How much did that cost you?
-We built the wheel ourselves.
So that cost £200, £300.
We did all the ironwork and the welding.
-Then the alternator that governs it is a secondhand one.
-From a car?
From a scrapyard, yeah.
It's minimal cost. If you want a cheap DIY job, that's the way to go.
Now the question's down to Jules.
Would you like to find us a property with some water, please?
Another demand! You thought my job was easy!
'I'll do what I can, although whether I can reinvent the wheel,
'like Caroline, remains to be seen.
'As the sun goes down over the Somerset hills,
'Sarah and Steven take stock of the properties they've seen so far.'
-What do you think of the house with an acre?
-Initially, "Maybe not."
Now, I'm warming to it.
-The workshop, place for a car.
-If we could get a bit more land.
-Yeah. That would be really good.
-The house needed an update.
-It wasn't beyond the realm.
What about the one with three and a half acres?
We get excited by the land because that's what we wanted.
-But it's ALL got to work.
-It was a good piece of land.
Then the other thing is the budget.
-That was a challenge.
-Yeah. To do that work.
-It's just probably...
-A little bit too far?
-It'll be good to see what there is tomorrow.
-I'm looking forward to it.
'Sarah and Steven want to quit the rat race for the good life
'in the country.
'With a budget of £500,000, they want a house with land
'that will kickstart their self-sufficient life in Somerset.
'Coming up, there's a surprise turn in the mystery house.'
-What are you looking at?
I've just spied something rather unusual!
-'Steven draws up a shopping list.'
We have to buy more sofas.
It's the start of our second day's house-hunt in Somerset,
the day that's often met with a good deal of trepidation, and rightly so.
If we don't get it right today, the odds are we never will.
Often, people have ideas about leading the good life - a vegetable patch, an area for chickens.
In Steve and Sarah's case, I think they actually mean it.
'Our next house is 16 miles from Somerton
'near the village of Stoke Trister.
'It's packed with cottages, great views and pathways
'across the Blackmore Vale.
'Neighbouring Wincanton is pretty and offers some great shopping.'
-Our search continues, followed by this glorious sunshine.
There's the next one.
-OK, yeah. Beautiful.
The other side, which is bathed in sunlight, is gorgeous.
But inside, I think this is what it's all about.
-You don't have to do any DIY.
-That's not a bad plan.
-I'll enjoy these views!
They are absolutely stunning.
We haven't really indulged property, giving you something really stylistic.
I think this could be the new country you.
-Am I right, I wonder? Let's have a look.
-Come on in. What about this?
-Nice feature wall.
You've got a little shower room, downstairs toilet.
All right? But in here is the kitchen, Sarah.
"The kitchen, Sarah!" Thank you(!)
-Sorry. Who does the cooking?
-We share it.
-Whoever gets in first.
-You're not just saying that?
-The girls do it. We do it.
-I was worried whether you'd fit.
-There's no pogo jumping, though!
-Don't come in in a hurry.
This is rather nice. Belfast sink, slate floor.
-Excellent for dogs.
The beam over there, absolutely lovely.
The dining room is next door. It flows in an open-plan style.
-Nice big feature wall.
-Yeah. Very nice room.
You can regulate your use of the oil central heating with that.
Living rooms-wise, what we've shown you so far,
probably have not been...that big.
-No, they've been snugs.
But... Here's the "but".
-Yeah. This is a good size, Steven.
Yeah, good size.
-It's a pleasant room.
-Nice wood burner tucked away.
-Views out to the garden.
Let's have a look upstairs. You need somewhere to sleep.
Now, up here, we've got you...three bedrooms.
They're all really good sizes. There is one.
-As you can see.
This is lovely and light.
-It's arguably the smallest of the three.
-Still a double, though.
Then we've got this room.
For size, in a cottage like this, this is as good as it gets.
-It is nice.
-Nice room, this. Yeah.
-Big beams. The real thing.
-Fair piece of timber, that.
The only thing we don't have is an en suite.
But the family bathroom is at the end of the corridor.
That might persuade you which room might be your favourite.
A little box room in there, but this is your family bathroom.
This is probably the only bit of this property, inside,
that needs any kind of attention.
-It does need a bit of an update.
'They seem to like the house, but what's going to sell it is the land, so fingers crossed.'
-This is lovely.
You've got this really pretty formal garden.
-With lovely views past the blossom.
-It is lovely.
-It goes on through this gate as well.
We've got this elevated area. The treehouse doesn't come with it.
We could put a patio there and benefit from the views.
Yeah. It's a really, really good spot.
In terms of vegetables,
you really wouldn't want to chew this up too much.
Although you could use this bit.
Or you could use this bit through here. Check this out.
If I can get in here. There we are!
-How about that?
-This is a nice surprise.
-It's a very welcome surprise, I'd have thought.
-The veggie plot.
It's sheltered by this enclosure.
That is, potentially, part of the deal with this house.
Great. It's a very good space.
-That's available separately?
-Separately or as part of the deal.
The people that own the property own this.
I know it doesn't have a garage.
Which is a big concern. Garage/workshop is an area that we would think, "OK."
-Also, office is another concern.
-It's a matter of priorities.
It won't tick all the boxes, but what's at the top of the list?
Let's think about the money. Clearly, that's going to persuade you. Sarah, go on.
Well... I wouldn't want to pay it, but I think about 480.
480. Yeah, that would be fair enough.
I think, probably a little higher than that.
I like the house. It's got a nice layout. With the land, about 490.
A fair offer, I would say, but it is on the market for £440,000.
-That's with the land?
-The land is an additional 15, or so.
So, for 450, 455, you've got everything you can see and a house.
-Maybe a different slant on the decision!
-Yorkshire roots coming out.
It's well worth thinking about it.
One thing that we haven't shown you is the option for an office.
By the front door, you'll see another little black door. Go in there.
-I'll catch you later.
There we are, £440,000.
Or chuck in another 15 grand and you get the house, the veg plot
and all of the land you can see.
A very good price for a very special house with a very special view.
'So, under budget at £440,000, this farmhouse offers...'
-That's a good room.
-I wasn't expecting this.
-No. It's a nice office, potentially.
-There's electricity here already.
-Power, lights, window.
That would be a long commute(!)
Ten, 15 feet?
I like the house. We could move almost straight in.
The kitchen height's a challenge.
It's got the bedrooms and receptions we're looking for.
Going into the larger rooms, they're lovely rooms.
They are decorated to our taste. We wouldn't need to do anything.
That has benefits. We can get on the golf course more!
The office, I really like that space. That would be very useful.
We have got the option of that extra land and we would take up that option.
Outside, a concern not just with the space, but the fact
that we're short of a garage and a workshop.
There's always ways round that so, yeah.
It's a contender. I like the house.
Hey! Come on! Out you come!
-Yeah. Thank you.
-Had a good look round.
-Well, there's plenty more to see.
-It's still VERY sunny. It's like the summer!
'As Sarah and Steven want to keep some animals,
'they've come to meet Caroline Bradbury, who has kept Dexter cows for 18 years.'
-I understand you're hoping to get a smallholding.
-Well, I'll introduce you to some Dexters.
'The Dexter comes from the southwest of Ireland and was introduced to England in 1882.
'At around 40 inches, it's one of the world's smallest true breeds.'
-What makes Dexters suited for a smallholding?
-Mainly their size.
They're manageable, easy to handle and docile.
Also, they're dual purpose. You get plenty of milk.
Also, they produce excellent beef, fantastic taste and quality.
-What do you feed them?
-I feed them on grass.
They do like a treat. I've got some apples, if you'd like to give them some.
They seem curious little things. What are their characters like?
They're very docile, but they've got individual characters.
They're quite naughty sometimes.
-Like teenagers, then?
We've already got two of these at home!
'Dexters are great cows, yielding one to two gallons of milk a day
'and a good quantity of first-rate meat.
'Let's say hello to Caroline's best in show.'
This is Primrose, a little heffer that I showed last year.
I did my first showing 15 or 16 years ago with her mother.
I'd won this third prize rosette.
It was a yellow rosette. I was so pleased.
I tied it up in front of the cow, went to get an ice cream,
and when I came back the cow had eaten my rosette.
Nothing to show for your efforts!
-As you said, they'll eat anything.
Yes, you're the one that ate the rosette!
Thank you, Caroline. That's really helpful.
-We've really enjoyed it.
Thank you very much.
'Maybe one day, Sarah and Steven
'will find themselves with a Dexter family of their own.'
Well, at long last, it's time to reveal the mystery house.
What have we got on offer for Steve and for Sarah, I wonder?
This is the gorgeous river running through the village of Bruton,
a picture of mediaeval charm that's pretty much unsurpassed.
The clues lie in the fact that it's built from the same stone
and it also involves water.
What I've got to do is get there.
'So, we're on the road again.'
Our final house is almost upon us.
How are we feeling about the mystery house?
I'm excited. It's the opportunity for you to think outside the square
and show us alternatives.
"Alternative" is definitely how I would describe part of its potential.
The rest, you'll have to wait for.
It is the mystery house buried in darkest Somerset.
If I can find it.
'Our mystery house takes us seven miles from Somerton to Martock,
'the large village made up of hamstone buildings.
'It sits on the edge of the Somerset Levels,
'making it a popular port of call with walkers.'
At last, final property.
The mystery house...
is a part of this.
Oh, wow! It's incredible.
It is pretty special.
It is an old mill. There is water.
-Water! There you go!
-It looks fantastic.
-That house is the old mill owner's house.
-That's your neighbours.
-Your bit is that bit there.
-Including that crazy arrangement at the top!
It looks huge.
'I've got high hopes for our mystery house. First stop, the kitchen.'
-What do you think of this?
-Yeah. Nice kitchen.
Excellent. They've done it very well.
All mod cons. Everything's built in.
-Can you see yourselves cooking in here?
-It's a great kitchen.
-Huge beam. It's fantastic.
-We're off to a good start, I think.
-Let's see if it continues. Look at this.
This is something of an open hallway. That's your front door.
-Come through here into one of the living rooms.
-Look at this floor!
That's pretty special, isn't it?
-What are you looking at?
I've just spied something rather unusual for a window!
-What sort of window's that?
-Go and have a look.
-An inner window, revealing...
-A water wheel. That's fantastic!
-Does it work?
-It doesn't, at the moment.
But the water course that's running through it does.
There's no reason why, with a bit of advice and money, maybe you could install some kind of turbine.
-If there's room for a turbine, why not?
-That's what it's all about.
You came looking for a windmill and you've got a water mill.
'We're off to a great start.
'Upstairs, there are four bedrooms.
'Two good sized ones with their own bathroom, ideal for the children.
'There's a further double room and a family bathroom.
'Let's check out the master.'
-Excellent. That's a genuine millstone?
-The real deal.
Looks like a huge cake, but it's a millstone.
In fairness, beams are a bit low.
Yeah, yeah. Where there's no sense, there's no feeling.
I love it!
-So, is it all working?
Upstairs, there is an enormous living room. After you, Steve.
'Upstairs we go, to the top floor, which I hope will impress them.'
-It's got a little bar there.
-Little bar arrangement.
And then this huge area
-to relax and play in.
-We have to buy more sofas.
-It's like a skittles alley.
Remember that crazy timber structure projecting out?
-It's that area there.
-Is it safe to go in?
-That's a perfect study space.
-It's a huge space.
-Very impressive, as a house, as a building.
-And the history!
Good mystery house.
Well, the mystery continues outside. Come and have a look.
'They do seem stunned by the space and style this house offers.
'If the outside is as good, we could be onto a winner.'
Let's explain what happens here. There's the old mill owner's house.
That little pathway is them, but this is you,
this bridge that straddles where the water runs into the mill.
This is your terrace, if you like. You also get this area here.
And you also have control of the sluice gates.
-Which you would need...
-For our supply of water.
'This millhouse is a great option for our eco-entrepreneurs,
'with a potential energy source running under their doorstep.
'Next, we cross the lane to take a peek at the garden.'
-So this is your little garden.
-Oh, OK. Wasn't expecting that.
-A few vegetables in here?
-Maybe. Only a few, though.
-It's not acres.
It's not the acres that you have been dreaming of.
-Is that a major problem?
-There's a lack of space.
So if it had a bit more land, it would be a viable concern?
-What about an extra five and a half acres?
-That would work.
-Go through there.
Have a look at this. Slightly treacherous bridge to negotiate.
-Five and a half glorious acres.
-Oh, my goodness.
You hid that from us! JULES LAUGHS
-Not a conventional shape for a bridge!
During the winter, a horse tried to cross it.
The rest you can imagine.
-But it does, at least, lead us out to that lot.
-I think you've done quite well.
-Not a bad mystery house, this.
Let's have a think about the money. There's a lot to consider.
How far is your half a million pounds going to go?
A mid-terrace with a bit of land...
What are we looking at? Probably over budget. Probably 525.
I think it's over budget, too.
-I would have said that but you stole that so I'll go for 535.
Both of which are very respectable prices for this property.
However, I have to disappoint you. You are both wrong.
Your budget is looking very healthy.
It's on the market for £475,000.
-Hm. Interesting. We might have to sell ours now!
There you go. 475, guys.
-You've done well.
-Go and have a good look around.
Take your chances on the bridge. I'll see you later.
I have to say, as mystery houses go, this one really was special.
It's very hard to find a property to satisfy these buyers.
Their requirements are very specific.
But for 475, this is perfect.
'So, a special property for a special price...'
-I can't get over this room.
-It's absolutely enormous.
You've got space there for offices or TV rooms.
What do you do with all this space?
The mill is a fantastic building. It's absolutely a contender.
I love the idea of the wheel, the five acres across the road.
The place is absolutely beautiful.
-It's got so much character.
-A couple of concerns.
Very close neighbours. What are they going to be like?
And there's a lack of garage space.
We've got options around that on the field, so definite contender.
We're probably going to put an offer in.
Really delighted. Excellent mystery house.
-There we are. Did you enjoy that?
-Very much so.
JULES LAUGHS That's brilliant. Well done.
Mystery house - that means it's all over.
-Time to have a good old think about everything we've shown you.
-Then we'll see if you've made a decision.
'Our house search in Somerset is over.
'It's time for Sarah and Steven to reflect on the properties.
'I'm ready to guess which house they might go for,
'so we'll catch up in Wells to see if I'm right.'
Steve, Sarah, we came to Somerset looking for a home.
-Have we found you one?
-That's a good start. It started with a very pretty house.
-The stone, originally 16th-century, cottage.
-It had the workshop.
The office space, the bedrooms and everything.
-It had all we wanted.
-It had a bit of a negative.
The only negative was the lack of land to do what we want to do.
The acre wasn't enough so if it had a bit more land,
-that would be a good thing?
-That would change our perspective on it a bit!
-The field next door, you know where the vegetable patch was?
-We have discovered it's available for rent.
-That's a good idea!
-Rent it for a bit, see how it goes.
-Take it from there.
-That may have changed its position.
-It may be back on the list?
-It may well be.
-We probably need to talk now.
We then moved on to something which was very much a project,
-which tried to accommodate your desire for more land.
That had the land that we wanted.
That was a huge tick in the box. The house...
Yeah. The project and the house. It could work.
-We need to make the numbers balance and I don't think we can.
Then the old dairy. What about that? I thought that was quite you.
Pretty little house. The floors are really nice.
It was beautifully decorated.
I had a few concerns, like the lack of height in the kitchen.
A nice cottage. The cottage ticked most of the boxes.
It was on the market at 440.
Another 15,000 would have got the extra land. You weren't persuaded?
-N-no. I don't think so.
-We had to have a good think about that.
-It only took it to about an acre.
-We're looking for more than that!
Yes. How did I know that was coming?
Last but not least, it was time to take you to our mystery house.
What a curve ball. Thanks very much.
You were pleased with that.
-A really nice house.
-What about the land?
-Five and a half acres.
-That was a surprise.
That put it at the top of the list
-at the beginning of this conversation.
So, let me just unravel this.
-Maybe you can tell us, then.
-You're interested in the mystery house.
But you are now leaning towards that lovely stone cottage with the acre.
-That ticks a lot more boxes.
And, to be honest, that's the one I'm most excited about.
-It's a nose ahead.
-It's a nose ahead. Well, keep thinking.
Let us know how you get on. It's been great having you on the show.
-Thanks for all your effort.
-Thanks for your help.
It was funny showing Steve and Sarah around the houses that we have.
It was quite difficult to read exactly what they were thinking about any one of our properties.
I'm delighted to say that they have got a clear choice.
Hopefully, one of them will be their ideal escape to the country.
Here in Wells, dusk has arrived, overlooking this wonderful wall.
This is the wall that surrounds the bishop's palace in Wells.
Do you wonder that, when the bishop built this many centuries ago,
he had boxes to tick?
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