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Where else in the country will you find a tale of such rich folklore
that it involves the devil, three bridges, a dog and an old woman?
Stick around on Escape to the Country and I'll show you!
Today we're helping a couple swap the suburbs
for a rural smallholding.
All in, about eleven and a half acres.
See? Look at him - he's licking his lips now!
Eleven and a half acres to play with!
It won't be a walk in the park.
-You're looking very stern, Brenda.
So will any of our properties deliver the good life?
It's definitely got stun appeal when you see it first time.
-That's new. It's normally kerb appeal.
Today I'm in west Wales in the heart of Ceredigion. And these,
now three bridges behind me are collectively known
as Devil's Bridge.
The story goes that back in the day,
local villagers, keen to span the bubbling Mynach river below me,
did a deal with the devil.
He promised them a bridge in return for the first soul that would go across it.
So an old woman sent her dog across.
They got a bridge, and the devil, he's still waiting!
A heady mix of coastline, mountains and lush farmland
no wonder this landscape has become the stuff of legend.
Situated in west Wales and bordered by Powys, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire,
Ceredigion is the fourth largest Welsh county but the least densely populated.
So if you're after an escape with plenty of elbow room, it could be just the place.
Outside tourism, fishing and farming,
industry is undeveloped, so there's little interrupting the scenic vista
bar cows and sheep. Head west,
and those green fields fall away into Cardigan Bay.
At 50 miles, Ceredigion's shoreline takes in 12 beaches,
picture-postcard fishing villages and stunning cliffs.
Thanks to the Ceredigion coastal path, which opened in 2008,
it's now possible to enjoy it in its entirety on foot.
Finding somewhere to put those feet up shouldn't be difficult either.
Whether it's a farmhouse or a seaside terrace you're after,
there should be something to suit.
The house prices here in Ceredigion are a bit counter-intuitive.
Despite its remoteness, prices here are 14% higher than in neighbouring Carmarthenshire,
despite the fact that that county has the draw of towns and cities like Carmarthen and Swansea.
So it would appear that peace and tranquillity come at a price.
Whatever the weather.
So if you think the rolling hills and gorgeous coastline of south-west Wales is for you,
here's a taste of what's on the market right now.
If you've had a windfall, how about this Georgian manor near the coast?
The accommodation covers nearly 18,000 square feet
and you'll get 74 acres of woodland. Unsurprisingly,
it comes with a big price tag, too.
For about half that, how about this contemporary country pad?
An individually-designed house,
it has spacious open-plan living and an impressive six bedrooms.
It could be yours for a snip under 600,000.
Finally, traditionalists should be right at home
in this stone-built farmhouse.
On the market for 370,000,
you get four bedrooms,
three cosy reception rooms,
an impressive garden room,
and with 3.5 acres of land, you won't be short of outside space.
As you can see, some wonderful properties to buy,
and some fascinating ones to visit,
such as this gorgeous old chapel here on a very blustery coast at Mwnt.
Lots to see and lots to do.
Which is exactly why today's buyers want to move here.
Meet Colin, Brenda and their dog Tizer.
For the past 16 years, they've lived in this four-bedroomed detached house in High Wycombe
where they brought up their two children. However,
with Colin taking voluntary redundancy last year, and the children moving on,
they decided it's the perfect time to do the same.
We have a nice house at the moment.
But it doesn't have the space to allow us to keep some animals
and have a much bigger garden.
Brenda's always been keen on running a little plant nursery.
Ah, the rural good life.
But upping sticks to the Ceredigion countryside is no sudden fancy.
In fact, six years ago, they bought a holiday bolt-hole here
so they could get to know the country better in preparation for the big move.
So now they're ready to upscale considerably,
what exactly are they after?
From the smallholding point of view, five acres of land at least
with supporting outbuildings for the animals, the vehicles, workshops, et cetera.
Yes, it's not just farmyard animals Colin wants to keep.
He has quite a collection of farm vehicles too.
One thing I'm really looking forward to is having the land and space where I can uses this tractor
that I spent months renovating and put it to the use it was designed for, to work the land.
I think we get the picture.
Outside space is going to be a top priority.
But what about the property itself?
The house here is a lovely house
but the kitchen has a drawback currently. It's in the middle of the house.
So I'd like a kitchen where I can look out onto the garden
and your own bit of land.
A nice lounge, maybe an open fire, which we don't have here.
Three bedrooms, ideally.
Also the opportunity to get something that maybe needs some work doing on it
so we can put our own stamp on it.
Something that needs a bit of renovation as long as it's not structural or too major.
I'm happy to rip out a bathroom or kitchen and make it our own.
And also obviously which is quite key for this whole move
is an annexe or separate cottage
which initially we'll use as a holiday let to bring in an income.
But with the opportunity for family and friends to stay.
Well, we have got a lot of ingredients to get right in this move.
Acreage, annexes, outbuildings - I could go on.
But before we can hone in on any of that,
Colin and Brenda need to know how much they'll have to spend
so we've invited in an agent to value their house.
A great four-bed detached house, ideal location, fantastic for families.
I value this property at £395,000.
Not a sum to be sneezed at.
But this is a huge wish list so the question is, do they have the budget to match?
Taking into account various fees and things, the budget will be between 350 and £360,000.
Now, on the face of it, this list does seem fairly straightforward.
But it's also quite broad.
They want a nice three-bed character property.
Brenda wants a classic kitchen/diner
which has to overlook the garden
and they want four or five acres for their horticultural projects.
But throw into the mix the need for an annexe,
can we get all of that for £360,000 or thereabouts?
Well, only time will tell.
As Colin and Brenda want to be well connected with transport links,
we'll concentrate today's search in the south of the county
near the borders with Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.
We have some fantastic smallholdings to view,
but I'll be staying tight-lipped on the price tags until the end of the tours.
And finally, there's the mystery house, which may leave them rethinking their plans entirely.
Morning, Brenda. Hi, Colin. Nice to see you. Welcome to Ceredigion.
-This is my patch,
so we could be neighbours in a few days time. Who knows?
Let's have a think about your move because this is not an alien landscape to you, either.
You've got a house already.
-We have, indeed.
-So what do you need another one for?
We bought one five or six years ago because we used to holiday here a lot.
We wanted to get to know the area because we were thinking of moving here.
I've recently given up work so we're going for the lifestyle change.
-Your budget. Let's remind ourselves of that.
-350, 360, but if we see something really good,
we can push the boat out, borrow or steal, and get up to about 390.
390? Well, that's a generous amount of latitude you've given yourselves.
It's the right part of the world in terms of value for money
and the lifestyle you want.
You're not the first to come with these ambitions. And you won't be the last.
It is do-able on that budget.
So I'm fairly optimistic.
I'm more optimistic about the houses than I am about the weather.
-It'll be fine.
-It will be fine. Let's see what we can find you.
So for 360,000, or 390 at a push,
Colin and Brenda want a detached semi-rural property with three bedrooms.
Brenda is after a big kitchen/diner
overlooking an equally big garden
where she can flex her green fingers.
Colin wants outbuildings and between them they need at least five acres.
On top of that, they'd like a self-contained annexe
for family and/or paying guests.
Luckily, they're happy to tackle minor projects
which is just as well, otherwise we might be struggling.
We've both got a kind of love story with this area, but what's yours?
The scenery, some of the beaches are beautiful.
It is countryside still.
It's not tourist countryside. You go ten minutes and you're in farmland.
It's very diverse.
It's the perfect mix of coast and countryside
which is what we're serving up with our first property
as we head to the rural outskirts of the seaside village of Llangrannog.
Situated along the Hawen Valley,
you get two villages for the price of one.
The old part is on high ground and is home to colourful houses and a chapel.
The new part is down by the beach
and has a couple of pubs and cafes
not to mention plenty of outdoor types trying to catch the perfect wave.
However, we're heading a couple of miles inland for our first viewing
to an area with nothing but farms and fields...
Oh. And one large caravan park which is next door to our property,
give or take a couple of fields.
But it's only visible from one side of the house.
I think the whole property package more than makes up for it.
Let's hope they agree.
And there is our first property.
OK. Looks good.
An interesting one, this. It's about 100 years old.
You're looking stern, Brenda.
It's the first one. It can't be that bad!
The nice thing about it is the land is fantastic.
It's south-facing, very well-drained.
There are 40 sheep on here.
-So it's a small-holding, effectively.
I do like the way you come in and the house is in the middle of it.
-It's not too far to travel, no roads to cross.
-Behind this great big hedge is also a barn.
As soon as the toys get mentioned, he lights up!
'We're off to a promising start.
'Hopefully, the interior will get the same reaction.
'They want to put their own stamp on their new home
'and there's plenty of scope to do it here.'
In you come. There we are. We're starting with the kitchen.
Very much that classic farmhouse feel, actually.
Coming through the back door into the kitchen.
-A kitchen with a window to outside.
-You did say you wanted to overlook the garden. You overlook your paddocks.
It's a good size.
-It's not bad, but you could make it even bigger.
If you went through here.
This is currently the living room.
But if you were to knock it through, you'd have a huge kitchen/diner/living area.
-Come and have a look.
This is what I'm thinking. It's lovely and cosy in here
-but as your principal living room it is quite small.
-If that wall were to go,
and potentially this one, which separates this room from the original hallway,
-you'd have an enormous space.
-A nice big kitchen/diner.
-Hub of the house-type thing.
Now, back off the kitchen, as if it wasn't big enough,
there's a great big utility room through there, and a boot room.
-Great for the dogs and muck...
-Get clean before you come in.
'There are a couple of further living spaces to check out too.
'Off the hallway is a formal dining room which could be an office or snug.
'And finally, a new addition.'
So through the original front door, or doorway.
We came in through the back door of the kitchen
because this conservatory covers the front of the house, effectively.
Nice and airy. Nice and light.
'Well, I think it's a thumbs up down here,
'and upstairs stacks up pretty well, too,
'with three bedrooms which share a family bathroom.
'Since all the bedrooms are of a similar size, any could be the master.'
Now this one may have a little more about it in terms of a master.
-I think there's a bit more about it.
It's quite sweet.
-None of the rooms have an en-suite.
There is a tiny box room at the end of the hallway, the landing.
-So you could make better use of it.
An office, or...
-Another bathroom giving you an en-suite,
at the other end of the house.
'So that's it for the main house, but what about the annexe?
'Well, there is something outside that could work
'if they're prepared to put in some elbow grease.'
-Now, this is very interesting.
They call it the frothy. I mean, it is an old stone shed.
But I think it's got potential.
Have a look in here.
Oh, it's all been...
As you can see, it's had a loose makeover,
in that the walls have been done and the floor and so forth.
This mezzanine arrangement here.
My question to the local planners would be,
could I push the roof up and turn this into a little studio?
Good opportunities, I think.
-Good base to work from, I'm thinking.
So potential here. Let's see what the all-important outside space will yield.
With two large swathes of lawn at the front and back of the house,
Brenda will have plenty to play with, and for Colin we have acreage galore -
five and a half, in all, so more than enough space for chickens, sheep, pigs and poly tunnels.
Look at this lot!
-They're coming to see us!
-40 of them.
This year's lambs and their mums.
-Quite a mixture, too.
-Yes, there are.
-Classic small-holding, really.
-It is, yeah.
-There's a friend for life!
-Friend for life!
It does rather set the scene, in terms of what you're trying to do.
It does tick the boxes on the lifestyle-type thing.
-It's lovely out here.
Let's have a think about how much you both think it's worth, then.
I'm going to go a lot lower, I think. I'll go for 345, then.
Well, it's good news.
This is on the market for £335,000.
Now, you said, originally, ideally we'd be spending what, 360,000.
That gives us some spending money!
£25,000-worth of spending money. Off you go.
That's put a spanner in the works!
-Let's go have a look.
-Go and get that spanner out!
-OK. Thank you.
They'd get a lot for £335,000.
There's potential to really put their own stamp on the interior
and outside is a part-converted barn
ideal for a studio annexe,
a huge barn for farm vehicles,
and it comes with Brenda's big garden and five acres of pasture.
The caravan site is close by, but at this price, I'm hoping it's something they could live with.
I'm liking the house. It's growing on me.
I think as a whole, looking at the whole thing, it's very much what we envisaged.
It's what we were looking for. It's a point of tweaking the bits now to get the exact bits we need.
The outside is great, I think.
-The land is certainly good.
The caravan site, though, is possibly a bit of a worry.
-Apart from that...
-The price is...
-The price is good.
-It does leave us with a bit of money.
This is fantastic. I can absolutely see why Colin loves doing these up.
-Had a good look around?
-I want to get this going.
-Having fun there?
-I'm loving it.
This works every day here, believe it or not. It's not just a pretty relic.
Absolutely gorgeous. But time is of the essence.
-Let's see some more houses.
With 50 miles of glorious sandy beaches
and turquoise seas,
Ceredigion in west Wales has plenty to attract
the three million visitors that head to its shores each year.
One of the most popular destinations is the pretty harbour village of Newquay,
owing to some very special residents - bottlenose dolphins.
However, tourism hasn't always been the main money-earner here.
Wanting to get to know Newquay a little better,
earlier in the week Brenda and Colin dropped anchor in town
to meet up with local mariner Steve Hartley.
-Colin, Brenda, welcome to Newquay.
-Thank you very much.
-Been here before?
-Yes, but we don't know much about the town.
It wasn't even featured on a map in the 1750s.
Just a few cottages on the hillside.
But by the 1850s, it was a thriving shipbuilding harbour.
Over 1,200 people working here and 100 pubs, would you believe!
100?! That's almost one each!
Not big pubs, not like the pub behind us. More like little cottages serving beer.
And it wasn't just publicans doing a roaring trade.
Between 1800 and 1820 alone,
31 ships were built, which saw other industries boom too.
Rope-making, sail-making, weaving and stone masonry, of course.
All around the harbour, terrace upon terrace was built
to accommodate the merchants and tradesmen.
However, prosperity was to be relatively short-lived.
By the late 19th century, shipbuilding in Newquay was in decline
and it resumed life as a quiet coastal town reliant on fishing and tourism.
Today, it's the wildlife that's the big draw.
Colin and Brenda, this is the first of the bird colonies.
We've got razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes, black-backed gulls, herring gulls,
there's shags, cormorants, peregrine falcons, oystercatchers and choughs all nesting.
Not only have we the birds here, we have dolphins, seals and porpoise.
This great diversity of wildlife makes the area so important.
That's why it's been designated as Britain's first Marine Heritage Coast.
And that's not all.
Whales head here, too. Minkies and even Orcas have been spotted.
But no time for whale-watching now. It's back to shore.
We're leaving the coast behind for our next property
and heading much further inland
to the rural outskirts of Beulah.
Very much a community village
supporting the surrounding farms,
it's stocked with the basic amenities, including a chapel, a post office stores
and a pub. But our property is situated a hop and a skip away in prime Ceredigion countryside.
Come on down here. OK.
We'll deal with that a bit later on.
Because needless to say, it has got plenty of land for what you're after,
but that's our second property.
I certainly like the main bit. It immediately hits more character.
I get the feeling Colin is quite excited by this one.
There's plenty of opportunity for him to get creative with the interior space and decor.
Let's see what they make of the inside.
Come on in.
-Much more open plan, yes, than our first one.
-"Rosettes R Us"!
Yes, very horsey family. Hence it's got some land, of course,
which we'll explore later on.
-I'm a bit worried, Brenda.
-No, I take a while to take it all in.
-I like it.
-It literally is freedom.
-Yes, I like this.
-Kitchen next. Follow me through here.
OK, Brenda. This is currently the kitchen.
I say currently because obviously you can chop things round a bit.
There is, however, one glaring omission in here.
Exactly. There's no sink. The sink is through there.
That double stable door leads out to a utility which is the new stone-built structure.
-On the side.
-On the end. Sink and a bit of a boot room in there.
Now, you could reconfigure the whole thing a bit more if you wanted to.
I think you can bring this room out and put a sink in somewhere.
Colin's already redesigning, which in my book is a good sign.
There's more to see on the ground floor, too.
The first of three bedrooms is down here with the family bathroom.
The final two bedrooms are upstairs so it's not an entirely conventional layout.
Right. Now, this is currently the master.
One tiny window overlooking the front of the house.
But what it does offer you through that door over there
is technically an en-suite, but it is just a loo and a basin.
You have got bedroom two or three next door as well.
It's on its own. It doesn't have en-suite facilities.
-So I think this is...
-It's a pretty good size as well, I think.
'It seems to be going down well
'and this house has something our first property didn't - a self-contained annexe.
'Accessed via the house or its own front door, it has a good-sized kitchen
and living room.
-There we are.
-Yeah? Even as a holiday let...
-Is it used as a holiday let now?
-It's very nice.
-I think either way, it works.
It does. It works very nice.
It's got a very generous family bathroom down here as well.
And one bedroom next door.
Which is not the biggest in the world,
-but you'd squeeze in a moderately-sized double.
-Very nice indeed. Yes.
So in terms of the overall structural package of the house and annexe,
what are your immediate thoughts?
Lots of good possibilities. And the annexe ticks all the boxes.
That's what I like to hear. Let's see if we can get full marks for outside, too.
As an equestrian property,
it has stables which could be converted for livestock or vehicle use.
Although there's no formal garden,
there's more than enough space to create one.
OK. So this is the final bit of the house to...
Nice view of the property. Quite elevated. Overlooking...
all of this lot.
All in, about eleven and a half acres.
Look at him - he's licking his lips there! Eleven and a half acres to play with.
-That's nice, yes.
-But where are we on the budget?
I'd say somewhere round about 365.
More land. 370.
It's on the market for a bit more than that.
You did say that 390 was the top end.
-It's actually on for 395.
But I haven't brought you here to disappoint you.
Yes, it is 395,
but speaking to the owner earlier, I do know this is open to serious offers.
Which we hope would leave you enough left over
to start making some inroads as to what you'd do with the property to bring it up to what you want.
-Lots to think about.
-Good! That's the idea.
Off you go. Go and explore. There's tons of it!
-It's all that way.
So although, at £395,000 this is stretching their maximum budget,
it delivers over and above requirements.
First, you're paying for 11 acres.
Then the self-contained annexe which they could use for family and holiday lets.
The house itself comes with a huge open plan living/dining room,
a good-sized kitchen - albeit with no sink -
and the must-have three bedrooms.
But I get the feeling Colin is a bit more taken with it than Brenda.
A lot of it is very flat, so I can put the poly tunnels in various places.
-But there is a lot of land, but...
-I'm worried there's too much land.
-I don't think it would be a problem.
-Eleven and a half acres is a lot of land.
-A lot of land.
This property, we could make it work for us.
The outside area, though, is more of a worry to me than the inside,
with this one. It's a completely blank canvas.
There's nothing. No garden. There's nothing out there but fields, really.
It may be slightly too much for us to take on, this one.
Yeah - eleven and a half acres.
Which I think would be perfect, but I'm a bit concerned about the quality of some of the pasture.
Well, the weather is getting better.
Are the houses getting better, I wonder? What do you two think?
-We're very confused.
Trust me, confusion is a really good sign.
-Because it does mean you've got lots of choice.
It's just as well the end of the day is drawing to a close,
giving Colin and Brenda plenty of time to think about it.
Coming up - it's Mystery House time,
which today is a tale of two properties.
So this is the living room.
And a perfect pad.
-Very, very well done, isn't it?
But there's a big compromise.
So will it end happily ever after?
Yesterday, I think we did pretty well on trying to get Colin and Brenda
the lifestyle they're after for their budget of 350 to 360,
possibly stretching that to £390,000.
Our Mystery House, as ever, that's something of a challenge,
but it could offer the lifestyle they're after, but with a twist.
And potentially a lot less money.
Everything will become clear shortly
as we don't have far to travel.
The Mystery House is situated near Tremain.
It's about as rural as you can get
with little interrupting the quiet lanes and endless vistas of fields,
cows' barns and traditional stone houses.
However, for supplies there is a mini supermarket
just a couple of miles away.
The Mystery House. What do you think?
Uh, this lot?
-That lot. The whole lot.
The whole thing.
What we've got are effectively two houses
because that low building there
is currently a well-established holiday let.
Height of the season about 650 a week.
So it's not inconsiderable.
The main house over there, that is a kind of separate entity.
And that is much more work in progress.
I love the house.
-It's definitely got stun appeal when you see it.
That's a new one. It's normally kerb appeal. But there's no kerbs!
Hey, I could work with "stun appeal".
This is a very different proposition
which could offer them some serious but viable alternatives to their dream.
We'll start in the unfinished part of the house.
So this is the living room.
-Come on, Brenda.
-It's got great character.
-You're not convincing me!
I think it has great character.
Probably much bigger than you would originally have seen and would expect
looking at it from the outside.
Effectively they are two-up, two-downs.
But this has been knocked around a bit to open it up.
-Added on to the back.
-That's the full width of it.
-Are you lighting up with this?
-It's big, it's airy.
I do like this room. Lots of possibilities.
Across the hallway is the second reception room
which could be a kitchen as this part of the house doesn't have one.
Right. Now, I say two-up, but it's actually got three-up.
One's a bathroom.
Two bedrooms, very similar sizes. There's one.
That's the bathroom complete with very groovy canary yellow suite!
A collector's item there, really! But bedroom-wise,
this is, you could say, the master.
You could swap it with the other one.
It's a good size.
So this is the old bit.
And this, effectively, is what's designated as the owner's bit of this complex, if you like.
The annexe being obviously for guests and so forth.
Now you could swap it round.
-That's a choice only you can make.
But it does give you a lot of flexibility.
-Yes, I was going to that one.
-Let's look at the annexe
and see what you make of it. That'll make you decide.
The annexe is superbly finished
and again can be accessed via its own front door or the house.
-Now this, I think is where this house...
-..really starts to come together.
-Very, very well done, isn't it?
Very nice, very airy.
-Nice to look out.
It's got lots of features, lots of character,
but it's more than that. It's functional.
-Very well done.
-Very, very well done.
Do you need to have your holiday let here if you were able to keep your other property in Llandysul?
Would that allow you the sort of income you would need?
It could work.
The other house would need a lot of work to get it to a holiday let.
But it is an option.
Let's continue to explore the rest of the annexe.
-Now this is what your guests have to enjoy.
-Very nicely done.
Cosy, isn't it? We've got a very well appointed family bathroom
which serves the annexe through the corridor behind us.
-But also two bedrooms here.
So you've got a twin and something of a master,
all of which adds together to create the upper end of the rental market.
'Well, that's the house done and dusted.
'Now let's turn our attention outside.
'This is where the Mystery House is going to get really challenging.'
So, what have we got for you out here, Colin?
This is the million-dollar question, isn't it?
-Because land is...
What we've got for you is an acre.
-And it's an acre of that woodland.
Alpine woodland, almost.
In terms of immediate land for growing things,
there's a very well developed vegetable patch down there.
So how do we join up the circle in terms of giving you land to play with?
-Well, over there is a huge chunk of farmland.
Almost as many acres as you wanted are available to rent
for 300 quid a year.
But of course all of that has to be seen in relation to the price of the property itself.
So, our final price guess, Brenda.
Have a go.
It's on the market not for 320, nor 330. Nor indeed, 299.
-You could have this little lot for £295,000.
-I wasn't far off.
Now, then. We've just knocked £100,000 out of the equation.
This is a number-crunching one.
The cogs are turning.
But it does offer you another dimension.
It's a very different option to what we set out for.
-Go and have a look at that woodland.
-It's down there. Follow the lane.
So there you have it. The mystery property.
Hugely under-budget at £295,000,
the owners' accommodation does need a lot of work.
The annexe, however, is superbly finished, with a modern kitchen/diner,
a cosy living room and two bedrooms.
Outside is a sizeable garden for Brenda
and one acre of woodland with the option to rent acreage from the neighbouring farm.
So will they forget about the holiday let
and have a large family house
or keep the annexe for themselves
and convert the main house for holiday lets?
The possibilities are endless.
-Well, that's a view-and-a-half!
-That's the farm down there.
-Yeah, that's good.
A real working farm with tractors and everything.
We've got everything we wanted but in different sort of options.
Put our thinking caps on.
The kitchen is a bit of an issue. We have that room there.
But it's flummoxed me.
There's so many options here.
It needs serious thought.
Obviously the original house does need a lot of work.
But the cogs are going. The annexe is perfect.
Brilliantly done, beautifully done.
Right. Time to go. Come on, where are you?
-Out you come, Brenda.
-Seen enough, do you think?
-Oh, dear, it all sounds a bit jumbled.
-Just a bit, yes.
That's thrown a spanner in the works, that one.
It's the perfect Mystery House. I love it when that happens.
-Lots more options again.
-Lots more options.
We do want a decision from you.
Let's get you somewhere where you can figure it all out.
Then I shall grill you as to what the future holds. Come on.
Colin and Brenda aren't alone in their search for a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
It's becoming something of a national phenomenon,
with around 100,000 people on waiting lists for allotments
and vegetable seed sales reportedly going through the roof.
A 60% increase in recent years.
However, it's nothing new.
Llanerchaeron was built in 1795 as a model self-sufficient farm
by famous architect John Nash of Buckingham Palace fame.
Having never been modernised in its 215 years,
it remains a time capsule of the Georgian "good life".
To find out more, during the week I met up with Paul Boland from the National Trust.
Hi, Paul. Nice to see you. How are you?
-We know that Nash built this house, but it's only recently been confirmed.
Yes, in 1995 when we were doing work on the house
the builders were clearing the roof space and a receipt was found from John Nash.
-This is it?
-For glass. This is a copy. The original is in the National Library. Signed John Nash.
Brilliant. That's amazing, isn't it?
The original ethic of self-sufficiency that Llanerchaeron was founded on
continues to thrive today.
Although the estate is no longer inhabited, nor has dependants needing to be fed,
it maintains its original function as a sustainable country estate.
Look at these!
Oh, brilliant, Paul.
-These are Welsh pigs.
This is terrific. Llanerchaeron isn't just a static museum.
No, we manage Llanerchaeron as a working estate.
But how big an impact do these have on your current financial situation?
Every little bit contributes. We've got Welsh black cattle,
the Welsh pigs and Llanerchaeron sheep.
And we sell all our meat locally in a box scheme to visitors.
-That'll bring in nearly £20,000 to the operation.
-That is a lot.
Well, that's the meat. Now what about the veg?
This is more like it. There's something about walled gardens. Something magical, enchanted.
If you wanted veg all year round, or produce all year round, you had to have a walled garden.
How did you survive the winter here?
They used to bring on plants in a propagating yard,
bring things on early for an early start.
We have a propagating yard the other side of the walls.
There's a hypercourse flu system
where a fire pit would be lit which would draw hot air around a series of pipes underground.
That would warm up all the plants so you'd have a head start.
They would then come into the walled garden with its microclimate because of the walls.
This is heated flues, a different system to the other one.
-You've got heated flues.
-Is that a chimney?
-That's a chimney, yes.
So the heat rises up through the walls. It's a Roman system.
Yes, they took it on from the Romans.
All the produce grown and reared here today is organically farmed by choice.
But in the 19th century, there wasn't any other way.
But not everything went straight from the field to the table.
It was processed via the service courtyard
which housed a dairy, smoke house, cheese room, pickling room
and even a brewery!
All of which retain their original equipment.
-This is terrific!
-They'd have brewed the beer and tapped off the light mixture as a small beer.
-Cos the water from the river wasn't safe.
-So everybody was drinking beer anyway!
There is so much to take in here, an eye-opener.
For anybody who wants to understand how an estate like this would operate,
this is a great place to come. Thank you. Cheers, mate.
-Let's try and find a real pint!
Well, it's been an interesting house search here in Ceredigion.
Colin and Brenda have lots to discuss as we've given them plenty of options.
At long last, it's decision time. They've had plenty of time to think it all over.
Have we ended the confusion, I wonder.
Now, then, you two.
Let's just talk through the properties first. Then get to the meat of where you're at
with the future.
The first one, five acres. Your thoughts on that one.
It wasn't quite as big as we'd hoped, downstairs in particular.
-It was nicely done, though.
-The kitchen wasn't bad.
The kitchen was a good size, actually. But I liked the land.
I thought the land was nice there.
It was arguably some of the best land we were able to show you.
-The prettiest, I think.
-So not a bad start, then.
-Very good start.
Eleven and a half acres.
-Which, I suspect, you were a bit daunted by.
-I was daunted by that.
It was a complete empty canvas, really.
There was nothing there at all, apart from the land.
Yes, I see number two very much as a canvas.
With things you could certainly do a lot with.
-The Mystery House time.
-It was such a pretty house.
It's a shame it didn't come with any more land, really.
We started weighing up if the land was that important,
and we both came to the conclusion that was a step too far,
taking that land away around us.
But the house itself was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. It really was.
The next big question is, have we done it and where do you two go from here?
I think we'll possibly go back and look at one and...
-One and two.
-One and two, I think.
-For different reasons.
Right. Go on.
-I think number one ticks all the land boxes.
We need more time to look around the house, cos it was very small.
And how we could extend or annexe it.
And the second one?
The land is the questionable thing. We need to study the land more.
Obviously we are looking at this for animals like sheep
and damp ground is no good for sheep.
But we're going to go back and have a proper look
and get into some detail.
I'm delighted we've given you a couple of options which have been of interest.
-But it has been great fun and we wish you the very best of luck.
-It's been great.
People often ask me what is the secret to successful house hunting.
Some of it is pretty obvious.
Clarity, of course, but also flexibility.
The idea that you can accept the unexpected,
provided it still accommodates the new lifestyle you're after.
But I think there's something else, much more fundamental.
I happen to love this part of the world.
So, too, do Brenda and Colin.
I think you need to fall in love with your own chosen bit of landscape.
Because after all, knowing what you want is one thing.
But knowing where you want it, well, that is the secret.
See you next time!
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