Devon Escape to the Country


Devon

Jules Hudson helps a couple with a budget of 450,000 pounds find a home with bags of West Country character. Jules is also given a private tour of Castle Drogo.


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Transcript


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This magnificent structure behind me

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is known as the last castle to be built in England.

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Created to evoke a real sense of medieval pedigree

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it took 20 years of agony and effort to realise.

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It was the culmination of one man's dream,

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to create a beautiful home in a beautiful location.

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Something, of course, we know all about on Escape to the Country.

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On today's show, I'll be helping a couple downsize with a move to the country.

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They love the fact that it gives them more than they bargained for.

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-Wow!

-Wow!

-Cor blimey!

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Lovely!

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-Wow!

-Fabulous!

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How fantastic!

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But can they cope with the challenge of our mystery house?

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-Is it pick-axe work, or...?

-It needs a lot of...

-You never use a pick-axe in the house, dear!

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Today I'm in Devon and this is Castle Drogo,

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the vision of early-20th-century entrepreneur Julius Drewe.

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The building was designed by Lutyens

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but is thought to be the last private residence in the UK to be built entirely of granite.

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A spectacular structure in a spectacular setting

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here on Dartmoor overlooking the Teign Valley.

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It's also a lasting testament to Drewe's ambitions to create a real family home full of pedigree.

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It's been a very welcome addition to the landscape ever since.

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Situated in the south-west of England,

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Devon is home to both magnificent countryside and coast,

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attracting over five million visitors a year.

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It's the only county in England with two distinctly separate coastlines

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totalling over 250 miles of stunning cliffs and beaches

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which grace the English Riviera resorts of Torquay and Paignton.

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Inland, Devon is renowned for its gentle pastures

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and two national parks, which include the wild landscape of Dartmoor

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and sweeping vistas of Exmoor.

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Regularly voted as one of the most tranquil places to live in the UK,

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it's no surprise that a survey singled out Devon as the county of choice to retire to.

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Whilst Devon may be popular for retirees, it's also very popular for those seeking a second home.

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Over the last four years, 20% of property here has gone to second homeowners.

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As you can imagine, that's had a radical effect on property prices.

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Your average detached will now set you back round about £301,000

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that's 14% above the national average.

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So if you think Devon is for you, then do some research.

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To give you an idea of what's on the market now, have a look at some of these.

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Offers over £270,000 will get you this Grade II listed thatched cottage in Ermington.

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The cosy sitting room leads through to a bright kitchen/diner

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and there's lots of character appeal in the three bedrooms upstairs.

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This stylish barn conversion near Umberleigh is on the market for £475,000

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and it makes the most of its open-plan layout

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with a galleried landing leading to the three bedrooms.

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The beautifully landscaped gardens have great views of the Tor Valley.

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Or this four-bedroomed renovated farmhouse in Jacobstowe, priced at £725,000.

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It provides an array of light, airy reception rooms

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overlooking gardens and land which stretch to 7.5 acres.

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As you can see, with property like that on the market,

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no surprise that Devon remains as popular as ever.

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Which is exactly why today's buyers want to move here.

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Alan, a retired IT analyst, and Pat, a counsellor,

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have lived in their four-bed house in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire,

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for eight years. But now Pat is winding down her work,

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they've decided to move to the countryside.

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We'd like to move somewhere quieter,

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somewhere to get more involved in the community.

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We've always liked to be somewhere nearer the sea.

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I'd like to be able to go out walking.

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Alan and I have nothing else to do except enjoy the countryside

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and so I'm hoping to retire and just take it easy.

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But they want the location to give them the best of both worlds.

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We'd quite like to be somewhere near a large village,

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to pick up the shopping and go out for a meal, et cetera.

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Yes, and doing some nice nature walks as well.

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I would love to learn how to recognise bird song

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because I never seem to see the birds, but if I could recognise what they were from their song,

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-that would be great.

-Lovely.

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What vision do they have of their perfect property?

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We'd like three bedrooms. We'd prefer a detached,

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-but we'd be happy to look at a semi-detached if it was full of character.

-And a decent size.

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My ideal house, I think, would be in a nice setting

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so that it looks pretty, looks nice, when you drive up to it.

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A nice garden at the back with an area where I could do my vegetables.

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Walk into a beautiful kitchen with clean lines, nice tiles on the floor,

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a big area so that there's room to dine. A good-sized lounge,

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with maybe a lovely marble fireplace.

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There are beautiful marble fireplaces, and a woodburning stove.

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Even though Pat's planning to retire, she wants to do some occasional counselling work.

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So she'll want an extra reception room, but is happy to share it

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when Alan wants to strum a few chords.

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On top of that, they'd be delighted if their new property gave them the scope to earn an income.

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We're quite interested in maybe a place with an annexe

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that we could rent out in summer.

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And maybe have the family over the other times.

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The move depends on them selling their current home

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so we've asked an estate agent to value their property.

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The property is a well-presented four-bed detached residence

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close to good schooling and a mainline railway station.

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I would recommend an asking price of £439,950.

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With that in mind, what budget do they have for the move?

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The budget for the property, it's dependant.

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With an annexe it would be £450,000.

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Without an annexe it would be £350,000,

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enabling us to use that to buy something else.

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In some ways, we've got two house searches going on this week.

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If we blow all the budget of £450,000, we need a house and an annexe with income potential.

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Or if we spend less, we just need a pretty house. So in some ways, the choices are endless.

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Alan and Pat want to base themselves in the south-east of Devon within reach of the coast,

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so we'll concentrate the search round Exeter.

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I'll show them three "creme de la creme" Devon properties

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but as ever I won't reveal the price tag straightaway.

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Lastly, our mystery house, which gives generously on the one hand

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but could take a lot of their time up on the other.

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-Hi, Pat. Hi, Alan. How are you?

-Good, thank you.

-Good, thanks.

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-Welcome to Devon.

-We're looking forward to it.

-The start of a whole new chapter.

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-Wonderful.

-It's exciting.

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In terms of what you're after, talk me through your requirements.

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If it's old, that would be super because it's full of character.

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But I don't want to have to re-roof it or be worried that the pipes will fail.

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So maintenance free. Something that's old and maybe been renovated.

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-That would be fantastic.

-So you don't want a major project, but what about a new kitchen or bathroom?

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-No problem. Absolutely no problem.

-But we're not big DIY-ers.

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Well, no.

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Poor old Alan! He's thinking, "I don't want a lot of work, Jules!"

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-We've got some great properties for you to look at.

-I'm looking forward to it.

-Yeah.

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Let's get started.

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For a maximum budget of £450,000, Pat and Alan would like...

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They want to be within easy reach of village amenities

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and a community.

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-I gather you've just put your house on the market.

-Yes, we have.

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-Yeah.

-Any interest?

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We had a phone call yesterday when we turned our phone on,

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a call to say there was somebody interested in viewing it already.

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-So we were really pleased about that.

-Really pleased.

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-So the pressure's on this week to find you something you can move into straightaway.

-Certainly.

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Absolutely, yes. And I'm terribly impatient, so if I see something, I'm going to want to do it.

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We're starting our search close to the village of Kingskerswell,

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on the outskirts of the Dartmoor National Park, four miles from the south coast.

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The village serves up all the amenities they could ask for

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and has a parish church whose tower dates back to the 14th century.

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Among the grand Victorian properties occupying a prime spot

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on the outlying edges is our first property

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which comes with fabulous views.

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Right, in you come.

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-What do you think of this, then?

-Wow!

-Wow!

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-Cor blimey!

-Blimey, that's exciting!

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-It's amazing!

-I'm impressed.

-At the moment, it looks stunning.

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-I'm knocked out.

-If your friends and family turned up...

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-They'd be amazed.

-They'd look for the butler!

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It does have servants' quarters in it!

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-Really?

-No servants at the moment, but you get the idea.

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-It's a big, substantial family home.

-It looks fantastic.

-Brilliant.

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Let's see if you think it's brilliant inside.

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I'm hoping the classical proportions and features inside this Victorian villa will knock them for six.

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Wow!

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-It's terrific.

-The staircase is original.

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-You have some lovely features.

-Yes.

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-They get better as we go through.

-Can't wait.

-Follow me. Look at this.

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-Wow!

-Yeah?

-Look at the view!

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Amazing.

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-You wanted light.

-Yeah, this is lovely.

-Can't get much more light.

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-It's sweet, isn't it?

-This is a lovely room.

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-Fireplace is original.

-Yeah.

-It's unusual because you've got the window above the fireplace.

-Unusual.

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-Absolutely. It's beautiful.

-Beautiful.

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-It has the addition of this garden room, which I think works quite well.

-It's lovely, isn't it?

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-That is nice.

-You've got the views out all over.

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-Yeah. This is lovely.

-You can make of this what you will.

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-A music room...

-It would be a lovely counselling room.

-Good idea. It would be a lovely music room.

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-You're saying a counselling room.

-Yeah.

-It would be a joint room.

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I'd have to move all my gear out every time she's has a session!

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We've only just scratched the surface as next door there's a generous study

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which one of them could claim as theirs.

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Let's see the splendour in the dining room.

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-There we are. A bit of opulence for you. They've set the table.

-Yes.

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-That's lovely.

-Another nice fireplace.

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-A big room.

-The nice thing about these houses

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is that they were designed with dining and entertainment in mind.

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That was the Victorian thing. See the little door in the corner?

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There used to be a dumb waiter that would operate downstairs.

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-Wow.

-It's not there any more, but that's the old vestige of it.

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-Very nice, yes.

-We can begin to see life coming together here.

-Definitely.

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-Is this a surprise, Alan?

-A big surprise, actually.

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After the grandeur we've seen so far, the more functional areas include a handy utility room

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and a downstairs shower room.

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But they may find that the kitchen brings them back down to earth.

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-Now, for such a big house...

-A small kitchen.

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It is quite a small kitchen. The reason being,

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that most of the cooking would have happened underneath us.

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So in more recent years, it's been brought up

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in the way that we would all have now, without servants.

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-But in terms of kitchen, would this work?

-Yeah,

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-but it's not really the kitchen/dining room I was hoping for.

-That's the compromise.

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It is a bit of a compromise.

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Hopefully, it'll be a compromise that Pat's happy to consider

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after she's seen what's on offer upstairs.

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Along with a lavish family bathroom are four bedrooms including a bright, spacious double

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and another double with a feature fireplace.

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The third has light streaming in but let's see if the main bedroom makes a grand impression.

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-Mmm! Nice!

-Wow! Nice.

-It's a nice room, isn't it?

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-Good size.

-What we haven't got is an en-suite.

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-I know it's something you'd like.

-It would be nice.

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-But I guess most of the time it's just you two.

-Yeah.

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It would be nice, but it's not a deal-breaker.

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-As a room, I think it's lovely.

-It's a lovely big room.

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It's an amazing home, it just feels very large to me, compared to what we've been living in.

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We're trying to downsize a bit, and it's huge!

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-But it certainly is a lovely house.

-Good.

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-But we have to think about the heating bills.

-Yeah, OK,

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there are bills to be paid and you've got to afford it.

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Now, we've talked about the ground floor, the basement floor, if you like.

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-That's the annexe.

-Ah.

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-Right.

-That's your income.

-I see where you're going.

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-Could pay for the heating bills!

-Come and take a look. It's huge.

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We're testing the water with this house,

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but if they want an annexe, there will always need to be a bit of give and take.

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Served by its own entrance, the annexe is on the lower level and built into the hillside,

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benefiting from a fine bay window which makes the most of that view.

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Leading off the hallway is a lovely large sitting room

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with a working fireplace.

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Along with a guest bedroom, there's a dressing room and serviceable bathroom.

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So now we've got to grips with the property,

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let's explore outside.

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You get quite an imposing view of the house.

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-This is the annexe floor.

-Good grief.

-Huge, isn't it?

-Yes.

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-It is huge.

-Then the whole thing wiggles through this terraced pathway.

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It's your own woodland walk!

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The terraced garden comes in at around quarter of an acre.

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The pathway snakes down the hillside and is flanked on either side

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by a variety of mature trees and shrubs.

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But what's the price to be paid for all of this?

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OK. Here we are at the bottom of your winding terraced garden.

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-It's quite a journey, once you get here.

-Yes.

-Very extensive.

-Yeah.

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There we are. Property number one. Let's put you out of your misery and talk about what it's worth.

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-Boy, that is a difficult one.

-Hmm.

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-I reckon this must be 460.

-I'll be optimistic and say 450.

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450. As well you should be. Cos it's £450,000.

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-Well done.

-Yeah.

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-It was on the market for more than that.

-Brilliant value.

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It's been reduced so you're getting a lot for your money.

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-Go and explore.

-OK.

-I'll catch up later.

-Let's have a look.

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Bang on budget at £450,000, this fabulous Victorian villa

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certainly gives them enough space and a wealth of period features.

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A charming terraced garden with views and country walks on the doorstep.

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All within easy reach of a popular village.

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When we first got in front of the property, I was amazed.

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It looked so big that it didn't seem possible that it was going to be the whole lot.

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Inside was beautiful. It was lovely.

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The annexe was smashing. It was very roomy.

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The Victorian features were amazing.

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The high ceilings were amazing.

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But overall, I began to feel that this would be too large a house for us.

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We're rattling around a little bit in our house at home as it is,

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and we'd be rattling around even more in a place of this size.

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Right, chaps. Out you come.

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-Yes.

-The end of our first property.

-Yes.

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-It's getting quite exciting, isn't it?

-Yes.

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Wonder what else we can find you?

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Devon's landscape has long been regarded as one of its most important assets

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with over half of the countryside and coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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The south is characterised by river estuaries

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along which fishing communities and ports of trade have developed.

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Marking the start of the Jurassic Coast, the Exe estuary

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runs from Exmouth inland to the pretty town of Topsham,

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the main port to Exeter.

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By the mid-16th century, it was the second busiest in the UK, rivalling London.

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A fine assortment of quirky architecture survives from that time.

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So, earlier in the week, Alan and Pat met up with local resident Steve Garratt

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to find out more about the town's heritage.

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This is the old part of Topsham, here, The Strand.

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The houses here look more like you'd find in Amsterdam than Devon.

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That has its origins in 15th- and 16th-century England

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when this was a bustling place with a lot of trade going on with Holland.

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It was mostly textiles and cotton being exported from here over to the continent.

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These houses were built for the wealthy Dutch merchants.

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The ships would come up here, laden with ballast of bricks, which they'd dump in the river behind us.

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They'd dump the bricks in the water and load up with their cargo to take back.

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The townsfolk quickly realised this was a wealth of building materials

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so they salvaged the bricks from the river and built these houses

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for the Dutch.

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Further along, it wasn't just textiles we used to export.

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We used to send people to Australia from here!

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At the end of The Strand is a shop that used to be the old town jail.

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People would be locked up in there, then loaded on the ships and ferried off to Australia to the colonies.

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-Start playing cricket!

-Yeah!

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Topsham's situation on the estuary has given rise to more than a rich history.

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Its wetlands serve as a vital habitat for a huge range of wading and migrating birds

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and as a result they've been designated as a protected site of international importance.

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As Pat and Alan are avid bird watchers, Steve is giving them an insight into the area.

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So the birds have come to feed off the mud?

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Yes, it's so thick and nutritious,

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a university somewhere did a study on it and measured the calorific value of the mud.

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They reckoned that a cubic foot of mud here has the same calorific value

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with all the micro-organisms in it, that it equated to a chocolate bar!

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Just over on the mud there, that bunch of black-tailed godwits

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are what makes the estuary of particular interest.

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If you get more than 300 of them in any one place,

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then it's designated as an area of international interest.

0:19:420:19:45

Here on the Exe, though, we get over 3,000 spread around in groups of 100 at a time.

0:19:450:19:51

They make the estuary interesting to bird watchers.

0:19:510:19:54

As amateur ornithologists, Alan and Pat know it's the early bird that catches the worm.

0:19:540:20:00

And with property in Devon in such high demand,

0:20:000:20:03

let's hope we can unearth their perfect property.

0:20:030:20:06

Our house search continues half an hour's drive inland

0:20:120:20:16

close to the village of Sampford Courtenay.

0:20:160:20:18

With a population of 500, this idyllic village is teeming with thatched buildings

0:20:180:20:23

including the local pub, and a variety of other period properties.

0:20:230:20:27

Just outside the village is our second offering.

0:20:270:20:30

Crunch, crunch, crunch!

0:20:310:20:34

-What do you think?

-This looks lovely.

-Lovely.

0:20:340:20:37

-Doesn't it? That looks really nice.

-Very different to our first property.

-Yes.

0:20:370:20:41

Victorian grandeur, if you like. This is classic Devon cottage,

0:20:410:20:48

-albeit in a barn conversion.

-It looks really nice, much more me.

0:20:480:20:53

-Really? How about Alan?

-Much more me, as well.

0:20:530:20:55

-Really?

-Great.

0:20:550:20:57

-Let's go in!

-Let's have a look.

0:20:570:20:59

There's no doubt the style of this barn conversion really appeals to them.

0:20:590:21:04

I have high hopes that our first room will set Pat's hopes soaring.

0:21:040:21:08

Come on in, Pat.

0:21:080:21:10

-Lovely! Wow!

-Oh, fabulous.

-How fantastic!

0:21:100:21:14

This is lovely. Really is lovely.

0:21:140:21:18

-Just what you always wanted.

-Super, isn't it? Yeah, really nice.

0:21:180:21:23

-It's taken your breath away a bit.

-Yeah, you've done well here, Jules.

0:21:230:21:27

This is lovely.

0:21:270:21:29

You know, it is gorgeous. But what do you particularly love?

0:21:290:21:32

It's just a really nice feel to it.

0:21:320:21:36

A really good feel to it.

0:21:360:21:37

And it's big and spacious. It just feels really nice.

0:21:370:21:42

It's a brilliant kitchen/diner.

0:21:420:21:44

-It's a great space.

-Lovely space.

0:21:440:21:46

It's not a huge barn conversion, but it is a barn conversion with a real cottage feel.

0:21:460:21:51

-We don't need huge.

-No?

-No.

0:21:510:21:54

-Maybe last time our property was too big.

-Yeah.

0:21:540:21:58

-We're only little, aren't we?

-Only little.

0:21:580:22:01

The good news is there is a bit more to it. Have a look at this through here.

0:22:010:22:06

Next door has a similarly light, airy feel, but with the warm touch they're after.

0:22:060:22:11

-Oh, yes.

-Very nice.

-We could spend a few cosy evenings here!

0:22:110:22:15

-And that will belt out the heat.

-Oh, yeah.

-I'd imagine so.

0:22:150:22:19

-You've got this nice vaulting which continues from the kitchen.

-Lovely.

0:22:190:22:23

So far, so good on the second property. Come on, follow me.

0:22:230:22:27

Yeah.

0:22:270:22:28

The manageable size and clean lines of this barn conversion

0:22:280:22:32

have won them over so far.

0:22:320:22:33

At the other end of the property is a downstairs bathroom and two of the four bedrooms,

0:22:330:22:38

one of which could serve as Pat's counselling room,

0:22:380:22:42

another could be Alan's music room.

0:22:420:22:44

But we'll head upstairs and see what they make of the master.

0:22:440:22:47

Gosh!

0:22:500:22:52

-Yeah.

-Now we're talking!

0:22:520:22:54

-En-suite.

-En-suite as well.

-Very nice.

0:22:540:22:57

-What about the shape?

-Very strange.

-It's lovely!

0:22:570:23:00

-Very nice.

-Absolutely lovely.

0:23:000:23:03

-The building at this end is made of cob.

-Yeah.

0:23:030:23:06

Very common material here in Devon. It's a mix of mud and straw.

0:23:060:23:10

Hence the walls are very, very wide

0:23:100:23:12

-and at this end it's curved.

-Yes.

0:23:120:23:15

-Which is why you've got this curious roof arrangement.

-It's lovely.

-Lovely.

0:23:150:23:20

Presumably it's well insulated in winter?

0:23:200:23:22

Yes, it's very, very good.

0:23:220:23:24

-That is really, really nice.

-Yeah?

0:23:240:23:26

Yeah, very quirky. Just right.

0:23:260:23:29

At the other end of the landing, the fourth bedroom would make a good guest room.

0:23:290:23:34

Looks like our barn conversion has served up the perfect mix of character and space,

0:23:340:23:39

providing a great low-maintenance option.

0:23:390:23:42

Outside is a useful double garage, next to which is a large lawned area

0:23:420:23:46

which gives Pat ample scope to create her vegetable patch.

0:23:460:23:50

Just a few steps along the country lane, this cottage garden complete with summer house

0:23:510:23:56

is a real oasis of calm and runs down to the River Tor.

0:23:560:23:59

But before we get carried away, it's time for some straight talking.

0:23:590:24:03

-Beautiful, isn't it?

-Beautiful.

-So.

0:24:030:24:05

-Very nice.

-How much do you want it?

0:24:050:24:07

Yes, you know what's coming next. How much is it worth?

0:24:080:24:12

This is a seriously interesting property. I think it's up for 375.

0:24:120:24:16

I'm going to be dead cheeky and say about 340.

0:24:160:24:20

-Bit of a difference, there.

-Yes.

0:24:200:24:22

-There is a difference.

-Yeah.

0:24:220:24:24

375 would be fair enough. It's your lucky day, madam.

0:24:240:24:27

-This is £340,000.

-No! You're joking.

-You've done it again!

-Done it again.

0:24:270:24:32

-That's amazing. That's good.

-Have you been looking at my notes?

-No, I haven't!

0:24:320:24:36

This is £340,000. It's at the lower end of what you want to spend.

0:24:390:24:44

But what we haven't got for you is the holiday annexe.

0:24:440:24:47

But you don't need it because we are saving you 100 grand.

0:24:470:24:51

You've got plenty of money left over to make this place your own.

0:24:510:24:55

-Good.

-It's a nice one, isn't it?

-It's lovely.

-Lovely.

-Lovely.

0:24:550:24:58

-Good way to end the day.

-Yeah.

-Yes.

0:24:580:25:00

-On a high.

-Yes.

-Certainly.

0:25:000:25:03

Go and explore. Go and look at the river down there. Through that gate.

0:25:030:25:07

-That way.

-OK.

-I'll catch up with you later.

-OK.

0:25:070:25:09

On the market at £340,000, our barn conversion is so generously under budget

0:25:140:25:20

they could forget the holiday annexe as a source of extra income.

0:25:200:25:24

When we first arrived and I saw the property,

0:25:360:25:38

it looked really nice.

0:25:380:25:40

I was quite pleased.

0:25:400:25:41

It did look very much my kind of thing.

0:25:410:25:44

We went indoors, straight into the kitchen. It was lovely.

0:25:440:25:49

Inside, lots of nice curves in the walls.

0:25:490:25:53

Quite quirky, which is one of the things we were looking for.

0:25:530:25:56

Plenty of space. Nice high ceilings and beams.

0:25:560:26:01

And nicely decorated throughout.

0:26:010:26:04

My only concern is that it is quite remote.

0:26:040:26:07

We need to look around and see how far the village is,

0:26:070:26:10

if there's any community life there.

0:26:100:26:12

Would you need all these beds?

0:26:120:26:14

I think probably I would start to cut some of these beds back.

0:26:140:26:19

-Ooh, cutting back, replanning. It's all good!

-I know.

0:26:190:26:22

-This has worked for you, hasn't it?

-It has.

-It's lovely.

-Excellent.

0:26:220:26:26

I'll drag you away before it gets dark.

0:26:260:26:28

So as the sun sets over the Devon countryside,

0:26:410:26:44

it marks the end of our first day's property search.

0:26:440:26:47

Armed with a £450,000 budget,

0:26:550:26:59

Pat and Alan want to escape the hubbub of Welwyn Garden City

0:26:590:27:03

and carve out a peaceful existence for themselves in rural Devon.

0:27:030:27:07

Although they're entertaining the idea of taking on a holiday let,

0:27:070:27:10

they loved our second property which was solely a home for them.

0:27:100:27:13

Wow!

0:27:130:27:15

Our mystery house could give them two for one, but do they have the vision?

0:27:150:27:19

It has a potential, without a doubt. It's just seeing that potential at the moment.

0:27:190:27:24

Well, as you can probably tell, it's a very misty and chilly start

0:27:260:27:30

to our final day's house-hunting here in Devon.

0:27:300:27:32

Our first property yesterday may have been too big

0:27:320:27:36

and our second one may have been too rural for Alan.

0:27:360:27:39

So for our mystery house, our final property, we need to strike a happy balance between the two.

0:27:390:27:44

I think it does.

0:27:440:27:47

For our mystery house, we're staying in Sampford Courtenay

0:27:480:27:51

but we're going right to the heart of the village.

0:27:510:27:54

It's all beautifully preserved with a strong sense of community

0:27:540:27:58

which our mystery property is at the heart of.

0:27:580:28:00

This cottage gives them a great option to downsize

0:28:000:28:03

but there's definitely work to be done.

0:28:030:28:05

However, it does give generously in other ways

0:28:050:28:08

which can be best appreciated from round the back.

0:28:080:28:11

Turn round

0:28:120:28:14

and survey the scene.

0:28:140:28:16

-Wow.

-Wow.

0:28:160:28:18

I thought we'd start up here on this one.

0:28:180:28:21

We usually start at the front of our properties, but the key to this one

0:28:210:28:25

is what it's got.

0:28:250:28:26

I think it's important we set that out to start with.

0:28:260:28:29

-What you get is that building down there.

-Yeah.

0:28:290:28:32

It's semi-detached, so your bit is effectively the rendered area to the left

0:28:320:28:37

and what's above it, and the garage, the yard,

0:28:370:28:40

-and that annexe there.

-Oh, that comes with it?

0:28:400:28:43

-That comes with it.

-It looks lovely.

0:28:430:28:45

-Yeah. It looks lovely.

-Very exciting.

0:28:450:28:47

-Now, in fairness, whilst the annexe is all done, the house does need...

-Some work.

-..some work.

-OK.

0:28:470:28:54

-All right?

-Is it pick-axe work?

-It needs...

-You never use a pick-axe in the house, dear.

0:28:540:29:00

It needs a lot of updating, shall we say. I think that's fair to say.

0:29:000:29:05

-Open-minded?

-Yeah.

-You may have to bend your minds to more of a project than we'd considered.

-OK.

0:29:050:29:11

We'll explore the project that comes with the house later. First, I'll whet their appetite with the annexe.

0:29:130:29:19

Let's start in here.

0:29:190:29:21

This is the living/dining area of your annexe.

0:29:210:29:27

-Nice.

-Yeah?

-Very nice.

0:29:270:29:29

-Nice kitchen.

-It is nicely done.

0:29:290:29:31

-A few little quirks like a built-in slim-line dishwasher.

-Lovely.

0:29:310:29:35

-Lovely worktops.

-Oak floors. Doors out to what could be a nice patio.

0:29:350:29:40

I can imagine with a bit of dressing you could put your mark on this

0:29:400:29:44

and make it a very warm place for clients to come to.

0:29:440:29:47

It's lovely. I'd be thrilled if I came here as a holiday let. I'd be really pleased.

0:29:470:29:54

-Smashing.

-It's been very nicely done.

0:29:540:29:56

I can see this being very lettable.

0:29:560:30:00

Down the hallway is a well furnished shower room and double guest bedroom.

0:30:010:30:06

Happily, the agree this annexe has holiday let potential.

0:30:060:30:10

So now we'll cross the yard and get to grips with the project the mystery house has in store.

0:30:100:30:16

-Grab the door, Alan.

-Sure.

0:30:170:30:19

Follow me across here.

0:30:190:30:22

-It's very cosy, isn't it?

-Very cosy, isn't it?

0:30:220:30:25

It's not the huge kitchen/diner that you wanted.

0:30:250:30:30

Certainly it's functional enough that you could basically move in

0:30:300:30:35

and then start thinking about how to go about it.

0:30:350:30:38

-Cos you could always bunk up in the annexe.

-Course you could.

-Yes.

-For a few months while you do it.

0:30:380:30:45

-Very good idea.

-Absolutely no problem.

0:30:450:30:48

There's this area through here. The dining bit of what's on offer.

0:30:480:30:53

With that range in the fireplace.

0:30:530:30:56

-A nice little bread oven tucked away in the corner.

-Oh, wow.

0:30:560:31:00

Some nice features in there which would be nice to reveal again.

0:31:000:31:04

-Absolutely.

-Relocate that sort of that way.

0:31:040:31:08

-Somewhere, yes.

-I would suggest.

0:31:080:31:10

-It's a big job. It's a big reconstruction.

-It is,

0:31:100:31:13

but it's one of those things, once you've done it, you've done it.

0:31:130:31:17

-Yeah.

-I think the reward, in having done it, and made it your own,

0:31:170:31:22

is what it's all about, really.

0:31:220:31:24

Of course. Absolutely.

0:31:240:31:26

-Alan's nodding sagely!

-Yes!

0:31:260:31:28

Pat's the artist, the artistic person amongst us.

0:31:290:31:32

-I'd get an architect in, actually.

-You would, would you?

0:31:320:31:35

The living room is less of a challenge. Have a look.

0:31:350:31:38

-An office arrangement there, another door out.

-That's nice.

-Handy.

0:31:380:31:44

This is the bit that really works for me,

0:31:440:31:47

-down here.

-Nice big room.

-Good size. Nice and square.

0:31:470:31:50

Hmm.

0:31:500:31:51

-"Hmm".

-It's a nice change after the kitchen and dining room.

0:31:510:31:54

-Yes.

-My concern is that the levels are dropping, as they did in our first property.

-Yes.

0:31:540:32:01

You showed us the best bit first, of course. The annexe, lovely.

0:32:010:32:06

-I did warn you.

-Yes, you did.

-Yes.

0:32:060:32:08

It has a potential, without a doubt. It's just seeing that potential at the moment.

0:32:080:32:13

Bear in mind, guys, not only are we trying to downsize for you,

0:32:130:32:18

we're also playing with your budget in a very popular part of the country.

0:32:180:32:23

-You're asking for quite a lot.

-Yeah.

0:32:230:32:26

-There are going to have to be not just compromises but areas of real effort.

-Yes.

-Yeah.

0:32:260:32:32

To turn a property around to make it your own.

0:32:320:32:34

-Yeah. Ideal location.

-Yeah.

-Lovely annexe.

-Yeah.

0:32:340:32:39

-It's what it's about.

-It's this section we have to think about.

0:32:390:32:41

I imagine they would also want to put their decorative mark on the three bedrooms upstairs.

0:32:410:32:47

One a cosy double, along with a good-sized single

0:32:470:32:50

with storage cupboards, and the third just big enough for a bed.

0:32:500:32:54

Although turning this house into something that will suit them may seem a daunting task,

0:32:540:32:59

the outside space is impressively large

0:32:590:33:01

with an array of lawned areas and a substantial vegetable plot for Pat to cultivate.

0:33:010:33:07

At the top of the hill, the land flattens out to give them a huge two-acre field.

0:33:070:33:13

Our mystery house throws a host of unexpected elements into the mix.

0:33:130:33:17

But at what price?

0:33:170:33:18

Question is, how much do you want it?

0:33:180:33:22

-Yes, how much.

-Or how much would it have to be to persuade you to buy it?

0:33:220:33:26

That's the other way of putting it.

0:33:260:33:28

I think I would say it may be on the market for...

0:33:280:33:32

And I'm waiting to hear Jules gasp!

0:33:320:33:35

..375.

0:33:350:33:36

It's actually what I was going to say. But I can't say the same,

0:33:380:33:41

so I'll go lower than you and say 365.

0:33:410:33:44

365. 375.

0:33:440:33:46

-You have done it again!

-She hasn't!

-I've not!

0:33:460:33:49

-This is embarrassing.

-It's on the market for £375,000.

0:33:490:33:52

-I've watched too many of your programmes!

-We've never had anybody get it right three times in a row!

0:33:520:33:58

-Amazing.

-Yes, £375,000.

-Yes.

-That does leave a lot in the budget.

0:33:580:34:03

-Doesn't it.

-That's the last of the house tours.

0:34:030:34:06

This is perhaps the most challenging of the three.

0:34:060:34:09

-But think about location.

-Yes.

0:34:090:34:11

-It is an ideal location.

-Think about the money you've got to spend to make it your own building.

0:34:110:34:17

-Yeah.

-Yes.

0:34:170:34:18

-Off you go.

-All right.

-I'll catch up with you later.

-We'll have a rummage.

0:34:180:34:22

A rummage, indeed!

0:34:220:34:24

Priced at £375,000, our mystery cottage not only offers them an option to downsize,

0:34:260:34:32

but leaves plenty in the pot for the project.

0:34:320:34:35

There are also the appealing pluses:

0:34:350:34:37

All wrapped up in a very desirable village location.

0:34:470:34:50

The annexe was terrific. Absolutely spot-on.

0:34:520:34:55

That would also offer us accommodation if we took the house on

0:34:550:35:00

and did the renovation.

0:35:000:35:01

We could live there whilst we were renovating it.

0:35:010:35:05

Half the package I'm very impressed with, the plot and the annexe.

0:35:050:35:10

The house I'm not too sure about.

0:35:100:35:13

I can't really envisage how it would look as a finished product after all the work had been done.

0:35:130:35:19

So to that extent I'm a bit confused, I would say.

0:35:190:35:25

-OK, chaps, out you come.

-Yeah.

0:35:260:35:28

-That was the mystery house.

-That was the milk.

0:35:280:35:31

Have you had a plan and a think?

0:35:310:35:33

-Yes.

-We certainly have, yes.

0:35:330:35:35

It does take quite a bit of thinking.

0:35:350:35:37

-I'd have to get that architect in.

-It's a real mystery house.

0:35:370:35:40

Good. We've given you lots to consider over the last few days.

0:35:400:35:44

Let's get you somewhere where you can mull it all over.

0:35:440:35:47

-We'll have a chat. Come on.

-Lovely.

0:35:470:35:49

Castle Drogo's magnificent standing

0:36:010:36:03

makes it the only Grade I listed 20th-century building in Devon.

0:36:030:36:07

Its founder, Julius Drewe, wanted to display not only his wealth,

0:36:070:36:11

but his aristocratic aspirations for the family name.

0:36:110:36:15

The result was a 20th-century palace that combines the grandeur of a medieval castle

0:36:150:36:20

with designs for the modern era, pioneered by the great British architect, Edwin Lutyens.

0:36:200:36:25

I'm meeting Bryon Mason who, as house and collections manager,

0:36:250:36:29

knows all about Drewe's vision.

0:36:290:36:31

Tell me a bit more about Julius Drewe. He sounds fascinating.

0:36:310:36:34

Yes, a really interesting man. He started out working as a tea buyer in China.

0:36:340:36:40

That was his family business.

0:36:400:36:42

But in 1878, he and his business partner set up what became known as the Home and Colonial Stores.

0:36:420:36:49

That became a chain of shops all over the country,

0:36:490:36:52

immensely successful,

0:36:520:36:53

and he sold the shares for £1 million

0:36:530:36:59

and decided to retire at the grand old age of 33!

0:36:590:37:02

Drewe made his wealth on the back of the British Empire,

0:37:020:37:05

a time of great national confidence.

0:37:050:37:08

His drive was to build an everlasting residence for his future family.

0:37:080:37:12

The 100 rooms inside continue Lutyens' modern take on the medieval theme.

0:37:120:37:17

It's said he had an army of 100 stonemasons fashioning these granite stones by hand.

0:37:170:37:22

Now, Lutyens may have kept to crisp, clean lines,

0:37:240:37:28

but he did have fun with his architectural styles,

0:37:280:37:31

employing them to great effect in the library.

0:37:310:37:33

The intention was to make it feel like the Norman keep of this castle.

0:37:330:37:39

So there's a huge fireplace. The bookcases are intentionally made

0:37:390:37:45

to look like they've been inserted into this arch at a later date.

0:37:450:37:49

Of course, it all happened consecutively

0:37:490:37:51

and is completely intentional.

0:37:510:37:53

It's a reflection of Lutyens' genius as an architect

0:37:530:37:57

that he could create a castle that looks like a fortress from the outside

0:37:570:38:02

but inside it's this warm, comfortable family home.

0:38:020:38:05

Lutyens' trick of suggesting that different parts of the castle were built at different periods

0:38:050:38:11

led him to create a drawing room in the Georgian style,

0:38:110:38:14

befitting the ladies who would gather here after dinner.

0:38:140:38:17

This is Frances's domain, who was Julius's wife.

0:38:170:38:21

We have a beautiful portrait of her over the fireplace.

0:38:210:38:25

But looking after this must be quite extraordinary. Is it in good shape?

0:38:250:38:30

In some ways. It's a very robust building, built of granite.

0:38:300:38:34

However, it is a building that comes with its own particular set of problems.

0:38:340:38:39

And Julius Drewe insisted that because he was having a real castle,

0:38:390:38:43

it had to have a flat roof.

0:38:430:38:45

Lutyens, as a good architect, tried to persuade him not to have a flat roof.

0:38:450:38:50

But Drewe had his way and we have a flat roof

0:38:500:38:54

which basically doesn't work.

0:38:540:38:57

The technology of the time wasn't up to the challenge

0:38:570:39:01

of creating a flat roof on the middle of Dartmoor

0:39:010:39:04

in the kind of weather that we have.

0:39:040:39:06

Technology has finally caught up with the great Lutyens

0:39:060:39:11

and an £11 million restoration project is due to start in 2012,

0:39:110:39:15

which will hopefully preserve this unique building

0:39:150:39:18

so it may age gracefully for generations to come.

0:39:180:39:21

Well, there's no doubt we've given Pat and Alan a fantastic range of options

0:39:240:39:29

to meet their property requirements.

0:39:290:39:31

But have we got them any closer to finding their dream home in the country?

0:39:310:39:35

Let's go and ask them.

0:39:350:39:37

Well, guys, this is our final conversation of the week. How have you found it?

0:39:410:39:45

-Excellent.

-It's been a wonderful journey.

0:39:450:39:48

We've had a brilliant time.

0:39:480:39:50

The question is, have we managed to find you your new dream house?

0:39:500:39:53

Let's recap on the properties we've looked at.

0:39:530:39:56

We started with that lovely Victorian villa set high on the hill

0:39:560:40:00

with its holiday annexe set underneath it.

0:40:000:40:03

That was fantastic, wasn't it?

0:40:030:40:05

It was beautiful. It was really elegant. The rooms were tall with high ceilings.

0:40:050:40:10

Victorian features.

0:40:100:40:12

-But I also felt that we'd be rattling around in it.

-Too large for us.

0:40:120:40:16

OK. Then we took you from Victorian grandeur

0:40:160:40:21

to cosy barn conversion.

0:40:210:40:23

-You said, if I remember rightly, "This is more me."

-Yes.

0:40:230:40:27

Absolutely. It was much more me.

0:40:270:40:30

-You felt that, too.

-It was more me, as well.

-Yeah.

0:40:300:40:32

That was really nice. It was lovely and light.

0:40:320:40:35

-It was a lovely big space.

-High ceilings.

0:40:350:40:39

Beams. The property was fine.

0:40:390:40:41

But the location we thought was just a bit too rural for us.

0:40:410:40:47

That led us nicely on to our final day and to our mystery house

0:40:470:40:53

-which certainly had lots of neighbours on offer.

-Absolutely.

0:40:530:40:56

-A beautiful village.

-Now, then.

0:40:560:40:59

We started with the holiday annexe that came with it,

0:40:590:41:03

-which you seemed to like.

-It was very well done.

0:41:030:41:06

I thought it was very lettable.

0:41:060:41:08

-Yes.

-It would have been fine.

-Yes, it was lovely.

0:41:080:41:11

But I did warn you that the house did need a bit of imagination.

0:41:110:41:14

-Yes.

-You weren't exaggerating there!

0:41:140:41:18

I wasn't exaggerating in some respects,

0:41:180:41:21

-given that you want a big kitchen/diner and so forth.

-Yes.

0:41:210:41:25

Now, when I revealed the price to you, 375,

0:41:250:41:28

you certainly did have the money to do it.

0:41:280:41:31

So would you do it?

0:41:310:41:33

-I'm doubtful.

-I don't know.

0:41:330:41:36

Are you still convinced that the idea of spending up to £450,000

0:41:360:41:42

on a property with a holiday let is the way you want to go?

0:41:420:41:47

I don't think we want to compromise the house for the sake of an annexe.

0:41:470:41:54

So we're going to stay with the 350 and start really looking for the right property for us.

0:41:540:42:01

-I think we have shown you the range of options.

-Yes.

0:42:010:42:03

It's redefined your focus. I'm delighted that's the case.

0:42:030:42:07

-I'm very glad we've seen those properties.

-Yes.

0:42:070:42:10

-They were all very interesting.

-It was good to see the ones with the annexe

0:42:100:42:14

and for us to understand that actually the property is a priority.

0:42:140:42:18

Maybe we're clouding the issue by looking at both.

0:42:180:42:21

-I thought that might happen.

-Yes.

-But I couldn't say it.

0:42:210:42:24

Guys, very best of luck with your house search.

0:42:240:42:28

-Enjoy your retirement.

-Thank you.

0:42:280:42:30

-And let us know how you get on.

-Thank you so much.

-Thank you.

-It was brilliant.

0:42:300:42:35

When we set out with Pat and Alan, in some ways we had two house searches to consider.

0:42:400:42:45

But as they've realised, trying to find a house with an annexe in the right location

0:42:450:42:50

for their maximum budget of £450,000 has proved to be something of a tall order.

0:42:500:42:56

So their house search goes on.

0:42:560:42:57

But it'll be much simpler. They'll be looking for a home first and a business second.

0:42:570:43:02

See you next time!

0:43:020:43:04

If you want to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England,

0:43:050:43:10

and would like our help, please apply online:

0:43:100:43:13

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:350:43:38

Jules Hudson is in Devon, helping a couple with a budget of 450,000 pounds find a home with bags of West Country character. We step back in time as Jules is given a private tour of Castle Drogo, the last castle to be built in England.


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