Jules Hudson is in Carmarthenshire with an ex-fireman looking for a country estate with potential to set up a holiday let business for people with disabilities.
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Today I'm in a county often dubbed "the garden of Wales"
so where better to kick off the show than next to Britain's newest and shiniest botanical garden?
A place packed full of inspiration for anybody wanting to escape to the country.
The couple on today's show need our help even more than usual.
They have a dream to move to the country
but it's proved difficult to view a house together.
Are these something you'd have to widen in general?
Yes, some of the doors we'd have to definitely widen.
They're pleasantly surprised by the gems we managed to unearth.
-You are joking!
-You are not serious!
-You are joking!
I don't want to go home!
But will we be able to make their dream of a country life a reality?
-Did you say you had your cheque book?
Shall I get it out? Where is it? Down here?
Today I'm in Carmarthenshire underneath the great glass house
at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
Since the garden was opened in 2000 it really has transformed itself.
It covers 500 acres and includes plants from all over the world.
Many rare species from Wales but also here in the glasshouse,
plants from all over the world's Mediterranean climates.
And the structure above me, 785 panes of glass,
representing the biggest single-span glasshouse in the world.
Given the impressive glasshouse and the lush landscape,
it's no surprise Carmarthenshire's been given the name "garden of Wales".
In the south-west corner, Carmarthenshire is the second most visited county in Wales
only to be outdone by neighbouring Pembrokeshire.
The medieval castles that punctuate the hilltops in Carmarthenshire are impressive
and date back to the 11th century.
Much of the coastline in the south-east of the county
has been reclaimed from industrial wasteland over the last 20 years
to reveal pristine beaches.
However, Carmarthen Bay in the south-west
has remained untouched since inspiring early-20th-century poet Dylan Thomas.
It's still a big draw for holidaymakers today.
If you are sizing up a move to south-west Wales,
you may want to think about Carmarthenshire.
It's something of a secret. It's often overlooked in the stampede of people racing to Pembrokeshire.
But if you stick this side of the county line, you could be in for a bonus.
House prices here are on average £40,000 less
than in Pembrokeshire.
So, if you fancy a "rare bit" of Welsh property,
here's an idea of what's on the market right now.
For £995,000, this six-bedroomed property is all about the outdoors.
It's got 24 acres, landscaped gardens and 18 stables.
After a ride around the property, you could prepare a hearty Welsh meal in the country kitchen.
Then relax by the inglenook fireplace in the drawing room.
For those that don't have the equestrian urge,
this six-bedroomed property is on the market for £500,000.
Outside is a barn conversion B&B business
and inside the kitchen is spacious and the cosy living area comes with a log fire.
And for £395,000 this stone-built 18th-century farmhouse
comes with a single-storey barn conversion cottage.
The kitchen has a slate flagstone floor
while the living room is dominated by a large woodburning fireplace.
Upstairs there are four bedrooms in all.
As you can see, this stunning county
offers the perfect backdrop to anybody wanting to start a new chapter in their lives.
But this week's buyers, their story is a lot more dramatic than most.
Let's meet them.
Our house hunters this week are married couple Nick and Julie.
They've been living in a four-bed bungalow in Kent
with their beloved dog George for the past five years
and now hanker for the Welsh countryside.
I've got connections there. My family came from Wales. My father was Welsh
and my mum was brought up there as an evacuee.
I spent most of my childhood school holidays there, visiting.
But also I love the feel of it. To me, Wales is home.
That explains the Welsh connection.
But this is a property search with a difference.
Eight years ago, ex-fire-fighter Nick was involved in a car accident
that left him paralysed from the chest down.
Although they've been thinking about the move for some time,
viewing a property has been hard because of the practicalities of getting Nick upstairs.
Because of Nick's needs, it's almost impossible for us to go and find a house on our own.
Yes, for us to trawl round and try and find different properties and so on would be quite difficult.
We're happy to help. But after spending a year modifying their current property,
it seems they're still not happy with it.
This house doesn't flow properly.
It's not very well designed, in our opinion.
It could do with knocking down and starting again!
That's why we want to find somewhere else.
Something with easy access is clearly important. What else is on the list?
We like places with a bit of character.
-We're not keen on the minimalist...
-I do like upstairs.
-Yeah. It's nice to escape upstairs.
-We like upstairs now we've changed it.
-We do like it.
Three to four bedrooms. We definitely need a lovely sized kitchen.
If we could have a nice, big farmhouse-style kitchen, that would be great for you.
We just don't have the space to move around each other.
So generous proportions on the inside are a must.
But what about the outside?
We'd like a nice bit of land as well.
Julie wants to get into doing her vegetables
and I'd like to be able to take George for a stroll across a meadow
or a paddock or whatever, that would be good.
But Nick and Julie aren't just looking for more practical accommodation for themselves.
They want outbuildings for Nick's carer and to create holiday lets for others with disabilities.
It's very difficult to find adapted accommodation.
So if we can adapt somewhere
that's fantastic for people to come along and enjoy their lives as much as hopefully we will
when we move to the country, then that will be really great.
A great idea, but what sort of accommodation within Carmarthenshire are they looking for?
Anything from half an hour to an hour and a half from the sea would be great as well.
-That would be important.
The idea of holiday lets, it would be an added attraction if you were near the coast.
We love being near the sea as well. Julie's a bit of a water babe!
Fortunately, Nick and Julie don't have to sell their current home before buying in the country.
So how much do they have to spend?
Our budget for the move will be £800,000, but that would have to include all the renovation costs.
Well, as I'm sure you can appreciate, this house search throws up some pretty unique challenges.
Nick and Julie have been unable up to this point to view houses in a way we'd take for granted.
They can't, for example, go upstairs.
So how do you understand a building in its entirety?
In terms of what they're after, that's fairly straightforward.
Something big enough to allow Nick room to manoeuvre, which can be adapted to meet his needs.
It needs to accommodate a live-in carer,
and ideally they want to take on holiday lets for people who face similar challenges to Nick.
So we'll be casting our property net all over the county,
making sure they're within easy reach of the coast
which will be a real bonus to the potential holiday let business.
We'll be looking at three properties, but I won't let them know the prices
until the end of the tours.
And then there's the mystery house that promises to challenge their idea of a dream home in the country.
Guys, welcome to Carmarthenshire! All three of you!
We've got Georgie with us. Hello, mate. Look at you!
-He's so cute, isn't he?
-He is a bit special.
-He's the heart of your family.
I'm going to learn a lot from this week.
The modifications you have to make to accommodate your life are pretty extensive and expensive.
We're talking wider doorways, light switches in the right place.
What other issues do you have to tackle?
The best one, I think, is the bathroom
because of the bathroom sink and mirror.
They either put the sink too high or too low
and the mirror is too high from where the person is seated.
-So you're constantly...
-Like this, trying to look up all the time.
Absolutely. I'm always struggling. That's why I can't shave this area!
-All manner of problems!
How much do you think it would cost on average
-to convert a four-bedroom family home?
-You're better at that than me.
I reckon you're looking from somewhere between 50 to £100,000, really.
-It's quite expensive.
-Depends what needs doing, though.
Even the pathways outside, you need ramps so you can get in and out of the house.
You have picked a gorgeous part of the country to move to.
I love it here in Carmarthenshire.
We'll have to leave George out, though, for the house tours.
Oh, bless him!
But we will meet him at the end, bearing in mind he's a key factor in the property you choose.
But we've got some great things for you to look at.
It's not raining, just yet!
-Let's see what we can find you.
Bearing in mind that out of their budget of £800,000
they'll need money left to modify the property,
Nick and Julie are after a two-storey home.
We start today's property tour 15 minutes south of Carmarthen
in the historic village of Llanstefflan.
Located on the Three Rivers estuary of Carmarthen Bay,
the village is overlooked by the 12th-century Llanstefflan Castle.
Our first house is just two miles away
with views of the Dylan Thomas boathouse in Laugharne,
perfectly situated for anyone interested in a holiday let.
What do you reckon?
-It looks absolutely fantastic.
-It's very big.
-We're in heart of a 600-acre farm here.
-Of which you would get that house, these outbuildings which are currently split into two lets.
-Oh, already? Excellent.
-You'd need to modify them a bit.
The precedent is there.
And it terms of somewhere for George...
What we've got is this lovely paddock in front of you.
-So not a bad start, then?
'In total, the property comes with five acres.
'I just hope the internal dimensions will keep Nick and Julie smiling.'
-After you, Julie.
There. What do you reckon?
-Lovely. Lovely entrance.
Where our house is similar in the front door,
you can step back to allow people in.
Cos Nick's there in a wheelchair.
-It doesn't crowd guests coming in.
-You'd be in a narrow corridor.
-So this is a plus.
-Plenty of room.
On the right of the entrance hall is the main living area.
-Get round there? Good.
-We manoeuvred that one OK.
I was a bit nervous about the doorways here,
but it's looking good.
-This is your main living room.
-Lovely and light.
I don't want to go home!
So is this what you had in mind?
This is looking pretty good so far, yeah.
-We saw you squeezing through the door, Nick.
Are these something you'd have to widen in general?
Some of the doors we'd definitely have to widen. I wouldn't want to struggle through that one.
'I'm glad they like the space.
'But heading back down the hall past the entrance, is an important part of the house for Julie.'
Come on in, Julie.
Oh, my goodness! Oh, look, it's got an island!
-Come on in, Nick. What do you think?
-It's absolutely perfect. Thank you.
I'm not giving it away! You've got to buy it!
But you've also got this dining area. Come and have a look.
It does go on. Loads of space. The flooring's great.
-Nice and flat and smooth.
-Very good, yeah.
That leads on to that slate floor, which is a utility room,
boot room and also a study/office.
I'm wondering where to put my things now!
Great! This is all good.
Presumably, though, at this point, when you view houses,
-the tour stops for you, doesn't it, Nick?
-You can't go upstairs.
-No upstairs for me, no.
Well, we've got you through the front door and the ground floor.
Now we'll get you upstairs through the wizardry of TV.
Can we have the laptop? Our glamorous assistant. Thank you. Look, no expense spared!
What we've done is, Nick, we've pre-shot it so you can follow the camera through.
And I'll describe to you what's up there.
Here we go.
As you see, a big wide landing area,
which is great, one of the attractions of this property for you.
-And all in all, five bedrooms.
-Oh, is that all?!
Sorry, we let you down there!
This is the first one. They've got it set up as a guest room.
-This is all very clever.
-There, you see!
-Is this working?
Further down the L-shaped hallway, there are two modern family bathrooms,
followed by two bedrooms, one single, and a good-sized double.
Finally, towards the end of the hall, two more large double rooms.
So this is bedroom four, now.
Plenty of room for a great big double room.
One thing to point out is that that wall
that separates the fourth bedroom from the master bedroom
is a stud wall. What we were wondering is whether or not
you would basically create a master suite at that end of the house for you.
By taking down the shared wall in the master bedroom
and using the plumbing in the en-suite,
it would be possible to create an accessible bedroom and bathroom.
That's the main house covered, so it's time to head outside.
There are outbuildings that could be converted to accommodate a carer
but we're going to explore the holiday lets.
On the right, Nick, is a bathroom.
-It serves the whole thing.
-The great thing is the width of this hallway.
-It's very good, actually.
Opposite the bathroom are two good-sized double bedrooms
and at the end of the hall is the kitchen/dining area.
-There you go. Quite big, isn't it?
It looks like it's got good potential, this.
Next door is another annexe with one large double bedroom and a kitchen/diner.
There's a lot of property here for Nick and Julie to consider
so it's time to head outside and talk money.
Let's settle down where we started. There it is.
Now you know what you get. Go on, make me an offer. You've got £800,000.
I reckon we're probably in at about 760.
I'll say 750.
-Supposing it was closer to six?
-Right, I'd start packing!
Let me put you out of your misery.
-You could have this for £595,000.
-I'm not leaving!
At £595,000, this five-bed farmhouse
is £200,000 under budget.
After another look around, what do Nick and Julie think about it?
I think it's absolutely fantastic. Look at that view! Lovely.
The first time I saw this house, the view was breathtaking.
I couldn't believe it was so near the water as well.
That was one thing we didn't dare put in the tick box. It's a complete wonderful surprise. I love the sea.
The layout was really, really good.
The rooms are big, so there's good turning circles.
It's all looking quite positive, really.
That was a pretty good start to the proceedings.
Yeah, not too bad. I think you've tried quite well!
"Not too bad"?! There's no pleasing some people!
It's gorgeous. Great price, great location.
Absolutely fantastic. Very good.
-Keep it on the list.
-We will, without a doubt.
With approximately three million visitors coming to Carmarthenshire every year,
it's an ideal location for Nick and Julie to kick-start their dream of holiday lets.
But this wasn't always the case, and Kidwelly is a town that tells the story
of the dramatic transformation that's taken place over the centuries.
Kidwelly has long been a busy commercial and trading centre.
During the Industrial Revolution,
this area housed nearly 400 workers
that helped to produce around half of the world's production of tin plate.
Between 1737 and 1941, Kidwelly was home to the Kidwelly Tin Plate Works.
After the supply of tin dried up,
the area became an industrial wasteland.
But over the last 15 to 20 years, it's been successfully regenerated,
creating a very profitable tourism industry.
A draw card for tourists and a symbol of the town's colourful history
is Kidwelly Castle.
This is one of the best-kept medieval structures in Wales.
So we've sent Nick and Julie to meet mayor Fran Burke-Lloyd
so they can soak up some of the history.
Welcome to the interior of Kidwelly Castle.
It was built initially in 1106
by the Normans, and as you can see, it's been fortified over the years
because it's been attacked by so many armies.
The outside, where Kidwelly Tower is now,
was laid to waste by one of these armies.
But they never actually managed to destroy this one.
All four corners of Kidwelly Castle and all the towers are all full height.
This is very unusual. It's so well-kept.
-It's the best preserved castle in Wales.
Importantly for Nick, Kidwelly Castle is also wheelchair accessible.
In fact, local authorities have ensured that many parts of Carmarthenshire are accessible,
even coastal areas and beaches, notoriously difficult for wheelchair users.
A good example of this is Pembrey Country Park.
This is called Cefn Sidan beach.
-Roughly translated, it means silky sands.
It's eight miles long, and is the longest beach in Wales.
This particular part is blue-flagged.
-On the other side, you can take dogs. It's dog friendly.
So it's fully geared-up for people in wheelchairs so it's ideal for our business.
The park is proud of the fact they are wheelchair friendly,
inasmuch as they even provide, free of charge,
-powered mobility chairs.
-Is that right?
So you can get through the park. So if you don't have one,
-you are able to get around.
-There's freedom for all your guests.
That's really good for us to know.
They even host the disabled dry-skiing championships here every year.
So it looks like Nick and Julie will have plenty to offer people
that might stay in their holiday lets.
As the weather closes in,
that's it for our first day of house-hunting.
Let's hope we've given Nick and Julie food for thought.
Coming up: we up the property anti with a ready-to-go business.
-Currently, these are turning over about 20,000 a year.
But will the mystery house blow everything else out of the water?
I can see myself living here. I'm not sure I want to go home!
Our second property is moments away
from the town of Newcastle Emlyn on the north-west border of Carmarthenshire.
Overlooked by the ruins of its 12th-century castle, and straddling the River Teifi,
this bustling town of around 1,000 people
is known for its colourful family-run businesses.
So Nick and Julie's holiday lets should be in good company.
Right, then. Here we are. This is where we start our final day, guys.
-What do you reckon?
-Yeah, it looks quite impressive.
-I'm guessing that's like a holiday let place?
-You guess absolutely correctly.
We've got you three purpose-built money-making holiday lets here.
-Currently, these are turning over about 20,000 a year.
-But we also have in place
-planning permission for a building that size to go there.
-So lots of possibilities here.
'This property does need work done on both floors
'as wheelchair access is a problem.
'So we're heading in through the rear. But they said they were happy to make changes.'
In you go, Nick. So we've started in the kitchen, using these big double doors and the ramps.
-But that could be adapted easily.
-Yeah, not a problem.
-What do you think?
-It's nice and big.
-It's a nice place.
Lovely and spacious.
That door goes through to a very big downstairs shower room and bathroom.
Through there is a utility room, boot room and so forth.
So again, a useful space with another door out to the garden.
'The spacious kitchen/diner connects to a large rectangular lounge,
'but the living space doesn't stop there.'
-As you can see...
-It's a lovely size.
It's a great size. But it does all go on. Come and look through here.
What we have got is this conservatory arrangement through there.
-Again, it drops a level.
-So you'd need to resolve that. But it's a nice space.
-We've got one
and we use it a lot.
'Off the living area is a hallway that doubles as a study.
'But once again we're heading upstairs using the laptop
'so Nick and Julie can tour the property together.'
We're going through... Again, this is an issue, this narrowness.
But this is all stud.
-So this whole wall which creates that long corridor
off which come all the other rooms,
-you could completely re-jig that.
First up, the family bathroom.
-It looks a nice size.
But I think that the radical thought here is that you empty the upstairs.
-And start again and configure the space as best.
-The way we need it.
-I like the sound of re-jigging things!
Off the hall are three bedrooms,
one single with a Juliette balcony,
a cosy double bedroom
and the master bedroom at the end of the property.
Outside it also benefits from 4.5 acres to the rear,
offering plenty of space for George to get a bit of exercise.
But we're heading to the largest of the three holiday lets.
Nice to get out of the rain.
As you can see, this is the biggest of the three lets.
-They're all very similarly appointed.
These nice oak units
-and kitchen area there. Electric cookers and so on.
Then obviously something of a living area here.
They've all got a central staircase and they've all got two bedrooms.
The big issue, of course, is getting up and down.
I know. That's the thing. Yesterday, the potential holiday lets were all on one level.
-And you had a lot of space around.
-I'm not sure how we'd change this into what we particularly want to do.
This property certainly would need a fair degree of reconfiguring.
Whether that is feasible depends on the price.
So as we head into the conservatory, it's time to talk money.
Let's have a think about the price, based on what you have seen.
I reckon... I would say 650.
-I was going to say that or under.
-650 it is.
-On the nose.
-I actually got it right?
You both got it right.
-There's a good guess.
Quite a lot of money to spare in terms of being able to modify it.
But it does come with these fantastic lets.
So I think we should get you a chance to look at them
and then I'll catch up with the pair of you out the front.
It's going to be a sticking point now.
The holiday lets currently earn £20,000 a year.
If there's money left over from the modifications,
there's planning permission for a commercial building.
I think this house has got wonderful holiday lets to it,
but I'm not so keen on the actual house itself
because it needs quite a lot of changes made to it.
So really, it would be quite a major upheaval for us.
Which we'd have to do before we moved in, without a doubt.
These holiday lets are absolutely cracking.
There's a lot of potential with this one, but the house was a bit of a disappointment.
So we'll just have to see how it goes, really.
Well, guys, I can find nice houses, but I can't change the weather, I'm afraid!
It's really caught up with us now.
-It's not good, is it?
But don't let it put you off.
-It's a gorgeous house, and Wales isn't always like this!
-Are you sure?
-I promise you!
It's gorgeous. One more to come and that's the mystery house.
-I can't wait.
Take it from somebody who lives here in west Wales, this sort of weather is not exceptional.
But our mystery house, well, that is.
What's more, both Julie and Nick would not normally want to look at it.
That's exactly why I want to show it to them. It's just down here.
Not a bad spot, is it?
Today's mystery house is just over 20 miles north-east of Carmarthen
in the tiny rural village of Talley.
Best known for the ruins of Talley Abbey destroyed during the Reformation,
this little village boasts some typical robust Welsh homes built to weather any storm.
One such building is this barn conversion.
With four acres of land, again we're giving Nick and his dog George plenty of space for walks.
There's also a peaceful landscaped garden to enjoy.
But I know they prefer a home with an upstairs
so I can't wait to see what they make of the mystery house.
Because on paper, it's a bungalow.
Right, guys. This is our mystery house.
What do you think of that?
Absolutely stunning. I love it. It looks fantastic from the outside.
-But I thought you didn't like bungalows?
this one could be a different type of bungalow! It's stunning.
'It looks like our gamble could be paying off. It looks great on the outside,
'but the barn conversion is extremely high spec inside as well.
'Off the entrance hall, there's a guest shower room and a large double bedroom.
'But it's the open-plan living area I'm hoping will really impress Nick and Julie.'
-Oh, my goodness!
-That's pretty special! Pretty special!
-Very, very nice.
I thought you might, mate! Not bad, is it?
As you can see, see these windows here...
You probably wouldn't realise this, but Nick can't see out of conventional sized windows.
-They're always too high.
-So this is actually perfect.
The lovely thing about these is that you can come in and out.
-Yeah, through the...
-Through one of ten double doors.
-All the length of the building.
-Did you say you had your cheque book in the back?
-Shall I get it out?
Come on. Lead on, Nick. Let's go and explore. It's sort of zoned
because everything is very light and airy.
-This, obviously, is the main living area.
A lovely view out into the garden.
This atrium divides the main bits of this house in half, really.
A water feature in there. It lets loads of light in through that glazing.
On the left is a small utility room and the small third bedroom.
But this is what I want us to really soak up.
-I think this is great.
-The worktop is beautiful.
Yes, it's South American stone, so I'm told.
-Absolutely breathtaking, the whole thing.
Good. But the really clever bit, look at this.
This is quite good. The kitchen is completely freestanding.
-So you can move it.
All of this you can pick up and put wherever you want.
So I know that a clear run through the corridor is obviously important.
There's room enough here now.
But if you wanted, you could take this away and leave this completely free.
Look at that smile. I'm really chuffed you like it.
I couldn't be more pleased with how the tour is going so far.
Next to the kitchen is an impressive bathroom,
and past that, the master bedroom and en-suite.
-OK. Your master bedroom, Nick.
-I could live here!
-I bet you could.
-Go through that door there, and see what you can find.
Wonder what he makes of this. Have a look.
I think this is great!
-Ah, it's looking good!
-If not a little dark, though.
Hang on, let me see. Ooh... There we go!
-Yeah? And the fan's kicked in.
This is the best so far, without a doubt.
-We would have to make some alterations...
-Taking that out.
-Taking the cubicle apart.
Yeah, but it's the only thing, really, that we've seen...
-It's the closest we've come.
-..that you've got to change.
I didn't expect to get this close.
At the rear of the house,
accessed from the living area and the master bedroom,
there's a wonderful surprise for Nick that I hope will be the icing on the cake.
Come in under the dry bit, there.
-Look at this!
-This is what I was hoping, something for George.
-He loves swimming.
-Never mind George! I'm thinking about you!
I don't mind a bit of swimming myself!
He will be so happy!
-Look at this!
-How warm is it?
-Is there a jet in here?
-I don't know if there's a jet.
But it's 27 degrees all year round.
Yes, there is one.
Yes, there is.
So you can swim against that.
To your heart's content.
Also included with the property is a triple garage
that has had planning permission to extend.
Although the permission has lapsed, the precedent is there
and could make an ideal residence for a carer and a holiday let.
-So, let's have a think about...
-..the price, shall we?
-It's definitely over budget.
-How much over budget?
-I would have said nine anyway.
-OK. If it were nearer £800,000,
I think this would be crazy not to be considered.
Yeah. I think you'd be looking more at it if it was around eight.
750 would sound very good, yeah.
-Then we could do the garage.
-750 would be very good.
-If it were six, you'd have £200,000 left over.
-You are teasing.
-If it were six, I'd definitely get a cheque out.
-Nothing like this.
Get your cheque out, mate, cos you could have this for £500,000.
-You are joking!
-You are not serious!
-Nobody gives that away.
Well, it's up for sale and it could be yours if you want it.
It's like a holiday let for £500,000.
-A holiday home. It's just too...
-I am utterly speechless.
-I was thinking 950.
-I don't know what to say.
-Well, we've saved you then, what, £450,000.
Go and have a good look around. Think about what it's going to cost you. I'll see you later.
-I'm going straight to the car to get the cheque book!
-Start filling it in!
Brilliant. I'm absolutely delighted.
Often, the mystery house does throw up one or two surprises.
This is no exception. They came here saying, "We don't want a bungalow." That's exactly what it is.
But what a bungalow!
And you get a pool.
Might even go for a dip myself!
What I like about the property is the open plan-ness.
I didn't really think I'd like somewhere that's open plan.
I can get around OK, so it's absolutely ideal for what I require.
I could see myself living here.
I'm not sure I want to go home!
Whilst in Carmarthenshire, I took the opportunity to visit a favourite place of mine -
the National Botanic Garden of Wales,
the first of its kind to be created in the new millennium,
set within 500 acres of Regency parkland.
Since the gardens opened ten years ago, I've had the chance to pop in and out
and they really are transforming themselves year on year.
For many visitors, the great glasshouse is the centre of attention,
but behind the scenes an awful lot is going on here. You just have to know where to go.
Apart from creating gardens with plants from around the world,
the mission statement for these gardens is to research and conserve the native plant species of Wales.
Dr Natasha de Vere heads up the conservation and research department
and she explains how they go about preserving Welsh plants.
Let's show you one of our rarities that we work with.
Sorbus leyana, Ley's Whitebeam, this tree here,
-is critically endangered in the wild.
-Why? What happened to it?
It's found in the wild. This was found outside Merthyr Tydfil,
either side of the dual carriageway on limestone cliffs,
clinging to the rock face. There's just 16 of them.
-So 16 in the wild and at least one more there.
-One more there,
-but there's a few more I could show you.
-Let's have a look.
20 per cent of the 1,140 plants in Wales are close to extinction.
But the Rare Welsh Plant project aims to eventually repopulate areas that are losing native species,
bringing back balance to the natural eco system.
-What are we looking at?
-First, I showed you the Sorbus leyana, Ley's Whitebeam plants in the garden.
-Just 16 of those in the wild. As you see over here...
-Loads of them!
Loads. Hundreds of them.
So we've been growing them from stock here at the garden
so we can learn more about them, how they reproduce in the wild, how they do in the wild.
Potentially some of these plants will also be reintroduced.
So 16 of those in the wild. Anything rarer than that, if it's possible?
Ah, well. We've got these ones here.
This is wild cotoneaster.
-Cotoneaster cambricus. There are just six of those left in the wild.
-Six? Where are these?
These are found on the Great Orme in Llandudno in North Wales.
This species was particularly famous with Victorian naturalists.
This was called the Great Orme berry.
A souvenir of their trip to Llandudno would be a bit of this.
-So they decimated the native population?
One of the main reasons why this plant went down to six individuals
was because so many were collected by Victorian naturalists.
But saving endangered plants is just part of a grander plan.
So we headed up to the laboratory to find out how Natasha and her team
plan to preserve all the plant species in Wales.
This is where our projects happen, where we're working on the wild cotoneaster.
The other thing we're doing in here is our DNA bar-coding project.
The DNA bar-coding programme will ensure that the genetic makeup of Welsh plants
is kept on file for future reference,
creating a comprehensive catalogue for other researchers to make use of.
This is, in this tray, there are two of everything of the Welsh flora's DNA
-within these different tubes.
-All the species of Wales?
-It's Noah's Ark in the fridge!
-Yes, two of everything in there!
This research will enable scientists to create a genetic encyclopaedia
of rare Welsh plants, some of which do not exist anywhere else in the world.
So this really is absolutely crucial in managing the flora and fauna of Wales going forward.
Yes. It means whenever you need to identify something and you haven't got enough material to do so,
you can use bar-coding to do it. So the applications are huge.
-And it's all in the fridge.
-It's all in the fridge!
I love it. You come to this garden and you never know that this old fridge was that important!
As you saw, we finished a very long final day's house-hunt
in the wet and gloom of a Welsh day.
The good news is that this morning the sun has come back to greet us.
So it's decision time for Nick and Julie.
Has this gorgeous start to the day helped to shed any light on their future?
Let's go and ask them.
Well, guys, at long last the rain has passed today,
I'm delighted to say. It was a long tiring day yesterday.
-We're shattered now.
-Let's remind ourselves of where it all started.
That really extensive white farmhouse. What did you make of that?
I loved the location. It was absolutely brilliant.
But I'm not sure about the house itself. We'd need to do a few changes.
-Quite radical changes.
-Was it too much to take on?
I don't think it would be too much to take on.
-We're more than capable of being able to sort things like that out.
With a bit of chopping and changing and getting it right in your mind
before we actually were to get into it.
I think it could work for us.
Well, then we let you sleep on it
and we woke up to an incredibly wet day for our final day of house-hunting with a lot to pack in.
We showed you that quite interesting property with three very lucrative and ready to go holiday lets
and of course, the three-bedroomed house. What happened there?
I think the house was not really right for us
because it has only got a kitchen/diner with a separate lounge area
and the ceilings were a bit low.
I know it's got a conservatory, but I think it's too small
for just enjoying it, really.
I think you'd always feel quite closed in.
Then we took you to the mystery house, which was everything you said you didn't want!
A bungalow and, of course, open plan.
But it was pretty special, wasn't it?
It's stunning. Absolutely stunning.
I think, because it literally flows,
for Nick, he could just go backwards and forwards.
The best part are the windows.
Unless you're a wheelchair user, you don't appreciate that all levels are too high to look out.
I get the feeling that even if you were there on your own,
you'd be quite at home, quite safe and quite happy
and could move around with as much freedom as you wanted.
Definitely. Even with the land and the garden as well,
it was all lovely and flat
and there were no real problems with anything, really.
-If it was a plot, you couldn't have built it any better.
-It's almost like it's been architecturally designed for you.
At this point, I should ask you what happens next.
But I think we should get George involved here,
as the fourth member of this decision-making process.
-Come here, mate. There we are.
So, what happens to all of you now?
Well, on the mystery house,
I'd like to take Julie's perspective and see what her idea of it is.
I absolutely loved it, but I've not got much feedback from her.
We're going to view it this afternoon, time permitting.
Obviously we're very keen on it.
We're looking at it with a view to what we need to buy or have built in there.
-To store things like the wheelchairs and bits and pieces.
But we've got the lapsed planning permission on it as well.
There's a big possibility with that.
It's definitely worth a conversation with the planners before you proceed with a purchase.
Whatever happens it's been a real pleasure having you on the show.
-Let us know how you get on.
-We will do.
-I really do wish you the very best of luck.
-Thank you very much.
-We loved it.
-And you, Georgie boy!
For all sorts of very good reasons,
this has to be one of the more rewarding house-hunts I've done on the show.
Certainly in terms of being able to show Nick houses
in a way that he hasn't been able to before has been a pleasure.
And we've given them a real choice of fantastic properties,
one of which I hope will be their new escape to the country.
And, like the weather, it's turned out beautifully.
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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Jules Hudson is in Carmarthenshire with an ex-fireman and his wife, who are looking for a country estate with potential to set up a holiday let business for people with disabilities, all for a budget of £800,000. And Jules finds out about the Welsh Rare Plant Project at the National Botanical Garden of Wales.