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Today, I'm with Uncle Tom Cobley on our way to a world famous fair,
a journey immortalised in a folk song.
But, as you can see, we are not alone. With us is:
All in tow. Gentlemen, which way to the fair?
Let's get going. Come on!
On today's show, we'll be meeting a couple of high-flying entrepreneurs,
looking to trade in London's commuter belt for a new rural venture.
And we have some rather attractive proposals to tempt them.
We'll be getting all clairvoyant.
-You read my mind.
And we'll also be getting up close and personal.
-It just kind of has a hug-around feel.
Today, I'm in Devon, and we're on our way to the famous Widecombe Fair.
Thankfully, Tom Pearce's old grey mare has made the journey,
and like the horse in the famous song that took ill en route and died.
The first record of the song appeared in the 1850s,
but it probably dates back to the mid-1700s,
when local farmer Tom Cobley lived in the nearby parish,
and there's no doubt he would have been all along, down along, out along lee
to this most traditional Devonshire fair.
The annual Widecombe Fair has grown from a simple 19th-century livestock market
into today's renowned West Country extravaganza.
Lying in the south-west of England, Devon boasts two separate coastlines
and is bordered by Somerset, Dorset and Cornwall.
Agriculture has always been a mainstay of the county's economy,
But in contrast to the rural farming scenery,
the golden sands and pebble beaches of the many seaside resorts
and the rugged and wild natural parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor,
are just some of the natural beauties here
that provide a real draw for Devon's ever-growing tourist trade.
And for those lucky enough to call this county home all year round,
community spirit is flourishing.
Villages here have the highest proportion
of local butchers and farm shops in the country.
And with wonderful rolling green pastures and rich, fertile soil,
it's no surprise that Devonians prefer to keep it local.
But it's not just a great place to buy a lamb shank.
According to a recent survey by the Audit Commission,
88% of residents of Devon are happy with where they live.
Perhaps that is why detached house prices here are 16% above the national average.
£302,000 for your typical home.
But there is a lot of ground to cover in this county.
So it's worth taking a look at what's on offer. You never know what might be round the corner.
If you have £500,000 to spend,
you could be fortunate enough
to stumble upon this delightful 17th-century
five-bedroomed, thatched property, tucked outside the village of Offwell.
The living areas feature a large kitchen-breakfast room,
a handsome oak-panelled dining room, and the immaculate grounds
extend to a quarter of an acre.
Or, situated on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park,
how about this semi-detached converted barn in Crapstone?
For a guide price of £350,000,
this three-bedroomed stone house has two reception rooms
and the kitchen boasts breath-taking rural views.
Lastly, this listed end-of-terrace thatched cottage in Morchard Bishop has a price tag
of £250,000. It comes with three bedrooms,
a modern kitchen with island,
and a feature stone fireplace in the main living room.
There's definitely a great choice of properties around here.
So let's meet today's buyers, who want a piece of Devon on their doorstep.
Successful businesswoman Florence, and husband Terry, a recently retired car restorer,
have lived in this large five-bedroomed detached house in Chorleywood for the past 20 years.
With Florence having the flexibility to work from home,
they no longer need to live so close to the M25.
So, the focus is on a new country life in Devon.
This fit, active couple even have their own personal trainer,
and by no means do they intend on slowing down.
We love to travel.
Age-wise we are getting on. We know we have maybe another ten years of really good travel,
where we can really do the things we want to, where we can ski, scuba and be active.
We want to step up the pace of that over the next few years.
They've invested a lot of time and money creating their present dream pad.
So what are their hopes for their Devon home?
Minimum four bedrooms - two to use as bedrooms, two as offices.
I've got to have something with a really big - preferably done - big, kitchen-diner,
family room, all open-plan.
Or the ability, if there is just a wall in the way, to get it out quickly.
Yes, I've been involved in cars my entire working life.
Now I've retired I don't want to stop doing that.
That is why I'm looking for somewhere with suitable premises.
This place, although it's a good size garage, isn't suitable for doing restoration work.
I need something like a big barn, maybe 60 by 40 foot,
to get two or three cars in and open the doors, et cetera.
They are after large, flexible open-plan spaces inside and out.
What about the location?
We want to be away from main roads in the house.
We don't want neighbours right on top of us, so we can't breathe.
We want space and land around us.
We want to have somewhere where there's open spaces,
you're not hemmed in by a lot of trees,
so you have views and things like that.
That is really the ideal. Rural, but edge of a village to get into the local community.
But it's not just Terry and Florence we need to accommodate.
One of the important things for both Terry and I is our animals.
They are our lives. We never had children, but we have animals.
Over the years, we have taken in a lot of rescue animals.
What we're looking forward to doing is being in a position to do more of that.
So the engines are revving and Terry, Florence and their pack of pugs
are ready to accelerate into the next chapter of their lives.
Their house is already on the market for £1.25 million,
so what is the final figure for the rural relocation?
Our budget for this move is £650,000.
This move isn't just about downsizing the house.
It is also about releasing some equity,
so Terry and Florence can have some fantastic holidays.
So we'd better stick to that budget,
otherwise those scuba diving lessons are off.
For £650,000, we should get close to what they are after.
But they do have a rather exacting list of requirements.
Those views and the huge workshop... Well, they come at a price.
Florence and Terry want to avoid the tourist areas near the coast.
So we'll be taking them inland
to the rural villages surrounding Dartmoor National Park.
All with good road links for Florence's business needs.
We have a great selection of properties to show them,
but I'll keep my lips sealed as to their value.
To top it off, there's the mystery house, which could give them
more country living than they ever bargained for.
-Terry and Florence, welcome to Devon, are you looking forward to it?
Why this county?
Well, Terry retired a year and a half ago,
we were tied to London before, now we can move where we want.
We've been looking down the M5 corridor, starting at Somerset,
-working down to Devon, and decided it looked really lovely down here.
at the moment, in a spectacular house,
-which you want to sell as quickly as possible?
-The budget? Still around £650,000?
It's pretty flexible - a bit up or down for the right house.
-We'd look at a project.
So we're very flexible on what we are looking for.
We can't forget your dogs. You love your animals.
We have four dogs and three cats. We will definitely have more when we move down
cos we do rescue a lot of animals.
Maybe if we get the outside, we'll have donkeys or something else.
-Well! You have it all planned out?
-Hopefully so! We have to find the house first.
We have three amazing properties for you to see, including, of course, the mystery house.
-So, while the sun is still shining, shall we get going?
With a budget of £650,000, give or take,
Terry and Florence want a detached character home
with four bedrooms which can incorporate two offices,
an open-plan kitchen and living area to share with their four dogs and three cats.
Outside, they are after a large garden
with a barn for Terry's workshop.
The icing on the cake will be
far-reaching country views.
Our first destination is just outside the north-western boundaries
of the Dartmoor National Park,
tucked in the rural outskirts of Sourton.
The nearest village is Bridestowe, surrounded by lush fields
and has a 13th-century church, a post office and convenience store,
as well as a couple of pubs.
Just two miles outside the village lies our first house,
which is a modern, detached country home, built in 2004.
It replaced a late-Victorian farmhouse,
which came with grazing rights in the National Park that are still applicable today.
-What do you think?
-It looks good.
-Like the surroundings.
-Fields. Is that Terry's workshop?
You're noticing everything, aren't you? There's no stopping you. I'm loving the energy.
Come on, then, first impressions on the property. It is a new build.
-It looks good. I want to get over there and have a look out.
Looks a good size, so, yeah.
This house does have plenty of potential.
-So let's start the tour.
And in true country tradition, we're bypassing the front door
and heading for the back entrance.
Straight into the kitchen.
It's a new kitchen, done the same time the house was built, around 2004.
-Now, I can see you're taking it all in?
I'm just totting up. Yes, a nice big range there.
Plenty of units, double sink
For most people, this would be a very generous sized kitchen.
However, we want something a little bit more than that.
Next door is a generous snug. This, behind us, is a stud wall.
So you could pull this right out.
So you'd practically double the footprint of the kitchen.
-And that would be quite easy to do.
Incorporating the large family room next door could be a great option
to achieve that open-plan kitchen/living area they're after.
But as it stands, the kitchen does flow straight into a large dining room,
with double doors into the garden.
And from here, it takes us to the largest reception room.
-A huge sitting room.
-This is nice.
-This is good.
You also have access out to your land,
and you've got a little verandah-balcony out there.
This is a nice room. This is a good size room as a snug, a formal lounge, whatever you want to call it.
And the potential, if you wanted to consider it, of putting a conservatory on the back.
-You read my mind.
With a positive tour of the ground floor under our belts,
we're heading back to the hallway and upstairs to the three bedrooms on the first floor.
At the end of the landing there are two bright, comfortable double rooms,
and a smart family bathroom.
This is your section, with en suite. The master bedroom.
This is a nice light, airy room.
What do you think of this as your master bedroom?
-Yeah, very nice. Nice big window.
Fantastic views right round the house.
-So we've got the three bedrooms up here, but we do have options outside.
Let's go and take a look.
Florence and Terry's lists of requirements include four bedrooms,
two that can be turned into offices.
So we're one room short so far. That is, until we get outside.
At the back of the property there's a summer house with electricity and heating,
which could make a good office, and that just leaves Terry's workshop.
-How is this for a workshop?
-Oh, wow! Stables, workshop...
-This is an amazing space.
-You also have the height?
Plenty of space. Needs some work to fix it up, but that wouldn't be a problem.
There's a smaller stable block too, as the current owners keep horses.
But a serious feature here on the plot must be the grounds attached to the house itself.
So, plenty of land surrounding us.
-In total, 20 acres.
20's quite a bit. Where does it go?
-Literally, you can see where...
-The tree line is? All up that hill?
All up that hill, round the back, the back paddock and this one.
-It's 20 acres in total.
A bit more than we had in mind. But I guess...
-Have I got to mow it all?
-A sit-down lawnmower. You're going to be busy.
It would be a question of finding someone who wanted to rent out these paddocks.
Maybe leave this one, but certainly rent all of those out.
That would be just too much, even if we had a couple of donkeys.
They don't need 20 acres to roam about in!
You could get a wildebeest in here!
You've now got to work out how much it's on the market for.
You've completely thrown me on the price I was thinking of.
-Who wants to go first?
-Are you going first, or am I?
-I would guess 650.
I'm actually going to go under 600. About 595. Maybe I'm totally out, but that's what I'm going to guess.
You're both out, actually. The asking price is £550,000.
Which leaves you plenty of pennies in your budget to make those adjustments,
to get the inside of the property exactly how you want it.
You have all this land. Again, so many options with those outbuildings for offices, workshops.
-Do you fancy taking another look round?
-Please help yourself. See you later.
At a considerable £100,000 under budget,
the first property is a modern family home with lots of potential.
The house features three reception rooms and three bedrooms.
The outbuildings include an office and barn for Terry's classic cars.
What's more, it comes with a whopping 20 acres
that they could possibly rent out,
and grazing rights in Dartmoor National Park.
This would make an office. We'd need to do something about the light, it's not much natural light.
It might be yours, dear, it wouldn't be mine.
The price is very good, a lot of land,
the outside features, everything is there.
We'd have to do a lot to the house.
Whether I'm up to the challenge of redoing a house, building half a house, I'm not sure this time.
The house itself has got huge potential.
That barn is a tremendous size, and exactly what I'm looking for.
I can feel a spot of rain. We might be getting wet.
Seen enough? Are you happy?
We didn't walk the whole of the 20 acres.
Thank goodness. I would have lost you for the rest of the day.
It seemed to go very well.
-You're probably not going to give too much away at this moment. Let's hit the road.
One of the gems of Devon's landscape must be
the 368 square miles of rugged wilderness
that make up Dartmoor National Park.
But it's agriculture that has shaped much of Dartmoor's environment,
and 90% of the national park is given over to farming livestock,
a practice which has existed here for thousands of years.
We sent Terry and Florence to brave the elements
at a late-Bronze-Age settlement called Grimspound
where they met local archaeologist Deborah Griffiths.
We've got this large area encircled by a massive dry stone wall,
and in the middle of it, we've got the remains of 24 round stone houses.
200 years ago, antiquarians looking at this thought
that it was the druid capital of the south-west,
and that all sorts of weird things went on here.
It's called Grimspound because "Grim" is one of the early names for the Devil.
So they were imagining all sorts of devil worship and the rest of it.
-On a day like this you could think, "Yeah"!
-It's certainly very grim.
But actually it was excavated in 1894,
and they found out, in fact, it's just the village of Bronze Age farmers,
and those are their various houses. So the Bronze Age farmers
would have been farming this
much as today's farmers are, with their animals roaming around,
grazing on the open moorland.
The granite tors make modern Dartmoor a haven for climbers.
But, for the less adventurous, the practice of letterboxing
is an exciting and mysterious way to explore the moors.
Letterboxers put a notebook and rubber stamp in weatherproof containers,
which are hidden across Dartmoor, as well as in hotels, shops or pubs.
So we sent out buyers into the warmth to find out more from enthusiast Roger Poole.
It started in Dartmoor in the 1800s, so it's been going a long time,
since Victorian times.
But it has spread. In most parts of the world, there is a letterbox.
It might be in an embassy, or up the top of the Alps.
Once the box has been found, finders collect an imprint of the stamp,
and then leave their own stamp on the letterbox's visitors book with the date and a short message.
The boxes are found by learning the coordinates or solving clues,
by word of mouth, on the internet or in catalogues.
-Once a year, a catalogue's produced.
-That's just letterboxes?
-That's just letterboxes, yes.
-There's a couple of thousand in there.
-Just on Dartmoor?
-Just on Dartmoor.
Terry and Florence have collected their first stamp,
but there's still a few thousand to unearth.
So we'd better help them orienteer their way to a new Devonshire home
where they can continue the letterbox quest.
Next off, we're travelling 15 minutes east of our first house,
to Doddiscombsleigh, a small village situated
in the picturesque Teign Valley on the eastern edge of Dartmoor.
The former mining village of Christow is the nearest place to purchase essentials.
It has a local store, a Post Office and a couple of pubs.
A mile out of Christow, our second property overlooks the village,
and is part of a small complex of former farm buildings,
that have been converted into four residential dwellings.
-I like the look.
This was made into a house in 2001, so quite a recent conversion.
First impressions of the house are good,
first impressions of the countryside are beautiful.
The views and the rolling hills - it's lovely.
-Let's take a look.
This beautifully converted detached barn is laid out over three storeys,
and the focus is geared towards the impressive views
across the surrounding farmland and beyond.
Come on through.
Were you expecting this as an entrance?
Um, I don't know, I'm not sure what I was expecting,
but it's very interesting.
-The steps lead straight into an extremely large kitchen.
-Now THIS is what I wanted!
-This is brilliant.
I love the space, love the stone work,
I can even see where things could go, it's great.
And if the kitchen wasn't big enough, it leads into a great snug,
which could also double up as an office.
But it's not the only sitting room in this house.
So, another very large room.
-This is nice.
-Love the beams.
Is this cosy, or what?
-It feels very cosy.
-Yeah, it's the low ceiling, isn't it?
But it's open.
As you said, love, because of the beams and the lowish ceilings,
it just sort of kind of has a hug-around feel.
-Can you imagine cosying up in here on a winter's evening?
That wraps up the ground-floor living areas,
but we still have another two levels to explore.
So, let's see what's upstairs.
To one end of the long landing, is the family bathroom,
and two of the three bedrooms.
There's a double bedroom with exposed feature wall and an en suite,
as well as a single room.
But we're heading to the opposite end of the landing.
I want to show you the master bedroom.
Definitely, this has a wow factor in here, there's no doubt about it.
Does this feel right for you, Terry?
Looks fine to me.
-Now, you like your en suites, don't you?
Bigger than a postage stamp.
Take a step up there, open that door,
peek inside and I'll follow you.
Oh, yeah, I think this'll do.
This is not a "wow", this is an "Oh, my goodness gracious me!"
'And beyond the large, stylish bathroom, there's more.'
-A gentleman has to have a shower.
-Look at that, not just a shower, a wet room.
-Oh, a wet room!
Then turn around...
-and there's your view.
I certainly didn't expect what we came in to, and I definitely didn't expect this.
And the surprises aren't over,
as we've still got another level to investigate.
So, we'll weave our way back down to the lower-ground floor.
This property is over numerous levels.
And in the basement we have the area that could be perfect for office/offices.
I think this is...
the gym-cum-hobbies room,
and much as I love that office, because it's open plan,
I think Terry would end up down here, and I'd have the one upstairs.
Yeah, this is a fantastic room.
You've also have another bedroom, should you want to leave it as a bedroom,
which the current owner's using it as - that makes it four.
-I didn't anticipate this, this is really great.
-More exposed brickwork, as well.
Let's step outside, because I know the outside space,
and those views, are very, very important to you.
At the back of the barn, a two-vehicle car port sits next to a garage.
And, as well as the breathtaking rural views,
this property also comes with a lot of land.
Not only is there a fenced garden, complete with pond,
but there's also some six-and-a-half acres.
Moving to Devon, is this what you had in mind?
We didn't have it in mind, but we're impressed with what we've seen.
Certainly, the views are what we had in mind, the rolling hills
and countryside, being able to look out of the windows and look outside
and see the views and scenery, this is what we had in mind in that sense.
So you've something now very serious to tell me - the price.
How much is this house worth?
-You want to go first?
-OK, I'll go first this time.
I suppose it's going to be up towards the budget,
let's say about £630,000?
I think maybe a bit less, maybe 620.
The asking price is £675,000.
Because of the location, etc.
However, the owner is prepared to consider offers in the region of around the top of your budget.
Have another look and see if there's some options there
-and I'll catch up with you a bit later.
£25,000 over budget,
the second property is an immaculate, spacious
and modern barn conversion,
complete with period features and incredible scenery.
Set on three floors, the accommodation offers
four bedrooms, two large reception rooms
and open-plan kitchen, dining and living areas.
And let's not forget the grounds that cover six-and-a-half acres.
It's just stunning, it's just beautiful inside.
Great complex, great space.
The house itself is tremendous, the best one we've seen, without question.
The views are the best views I've ever seen in any house.
Sadly, the garage area, and the workshop area downstairs
are just not tall enough and not large enough.
-Spectacular views, I can't believe this.
-It's absolutely fantastic.
Oh, the picture of tranquillity sitting here.
-There's only one thing missing.
-The glass of wine.
-The glass of wine.
I can't deliver everything, can I?!
That's it for today, we've seen two properties.
We'll take you back, I think you've got some thinking to do.
-Let's hit the road, come on then.
With the sun setting across Devon's countryside,
our buyers have time to reflect on the properties they've seen so far
as the first day of our house hunt comes to an end.
With a budget of £650,000, married couple Terry and Florence
want to sell their Hertfordshire home for a slice of rural Devon.
We've shown them two super properties so far.
-Now, THIS is what I wanted!
-Oh, wow, yeah.
And still to come, we're going back to the 15th century in the mystery house...
Oh, this is nice.
..and I'll be flinging at the fair.
Yesterday was a typical inside versus outside space day,
but I don't think we quite got it right with either of the properties.
But today, well, it's mystery house time.
We're going to be showing them a beautiful Devonshire house.
The outside space, that's not going to be a problem,
but inside - well, open plan is definitely off the cards.
Let's see what they think of it.
So, Terry and Florence, we are now on our way to the mystery house.
I get excited at this bit.
What are you hoping to see?
I'm sure it'll be something very interesting, looking forward to it.
As long as I've got a big barn, that'll be OK.
With such high hopes for his barn, we're not going to let him down,
so time to get to our last destination,
a rural idyll just one mile from Bovey Tracey.
Known as the gateway to the Moor, Bovey Tracey is small town on the edge of Dartmoor
with a great range of amenities that include specialist shops,
restaurants, cafes, pubs and a Post Office.
Animal lovers Terry and Florence want to rescue more pets -
and possibly a donkey or two -
so our mystery property is a smallholding
which could be the perfect place to keep them all.
But as for the house itself, it's certainly not open plan.
So, here is your mystery house.
Oh, look at that door!
It is rather old.
I can tell by the height of the door it's pretty old.
-It's a 15th-century farmhouse.
-Yeah, so it is grade II listed.
It's a Devonshire long house, it's all one property.
I can't wait to get inside.
There looks loads of rooms there, perhaps enough bedrooms, even.
-So, let's step inside, I think we're ready to have a look round, yes?
How's this for a welcoming hallway?
This is a lot bigger than I anticipated coming through the door.
Love the floors, these old stone floors.
Original stone floors, perfect for the animals,
loads of space, muddy boots, coats.
A great welcome, because you want to keep your feet clean for walking in here.
-Oh, this is nice!
Oh, look at these...oh, there we go, fireplaces.
Not one, but two inglenooks.
They are the most amazing fireplaces, that's fantastic, and I like the height.
It actually does look like two rooms, doesn't it?
Even though the mystery house hasn't given you that open-planness
you're after, in a way it has.
It's given a nice, big family room.
I'll take you upstairs in a minute,
but first I want to show you the kitchen, that's close to your heart.
This is the Victorian extension.
Right, so this would have been the outer door.
That was the outside wall, absolutely.
You've got a farmhouse kitchen, pretty big.
It's a very good sized kitchen.
We wouldn't let you down with the kitchen.
-You mean too much to us.
-Aw! You're such a sweetie.
And a range.
To one end of the kitchen is a large pantry with lots more storage,
and the utility room is at the other end of the house, across the hallway.
Next to that is a cosy snug or TV room,
again featuring a huge fireplace with wood-burning stove.
The third reception room is at the opposite end of the house,
and could make a good office space,
with private access through a door out to the front garden.
Yes, didn't think of the gym.
'There are three separate staircases in this farmhouse,
'and each one serves a different part of the first floor.
'Up the stairs in the right-hand wing is one of the two family bathrooms,
'as well as two bedrooms - a single and good-sized double.
'There are six bedrooms in total, and the other four bedrooms
'stretch side by side the length of the property across to the left-hand wing.'
Here's another one of the bedrooms.
Again, it's a fair size.
I like the fireplace.
Yeah, beautiful. And it leads through to another bedroom and another bedroom.
So let's take you through...
so you don't get lost!
That was one of the characteristics of a long house - they all fed off each other.
You might want privacy for your guests.
You'd have to be very friendly, obviously.
The last two bedrooms and the other family bathroom are situated
at the far end of the landing.
So that concludes the house tour with its somewhat quirky layout.
Time to size up what's in store outside,
starting with something big to please Terry.
Come on in. Terry, talk to me.
Come on in, this is your domain.
-This is definitely big enough, isn't it?
-High enough, dear?
-You could hang a lot from the rafters.
You've also got the driveway,
so you have easy access in and out of the property.
And it's not overlooked. There's a little bit of work
that needs to be doing, but relatively safe,
because I can imagine some of these cars are worth a few pounds.
You need a door on.
Yes, but that wouldn't be too much of a problem.
We've explored the farmhouse and the thatched barn,
but there's lots more on offer here, and it's all spread across
some eight acres of farmland, divided into five level paddocks with a charming copse.
There's a block of stables and another large agricultural barn.
So, plenty of out buildings.
Finally, closer to the house, there's an enclosed private garden
with a selection of fruit trees.
So you've seen the house, that amazing workshop/barn,
got all this land...
-..how much do you think it's worth?
You have to fight against all the animals.
I think this is going to be right at the top of the price range,
I think we're talking £700,000.
I will go just a little under, just for fun, £685,000.
Terry's got a new job as an estate agent, absolutely on the nose.
-I'm not surprised. Quite a place, isn't it?
-There's an awful lot here.
There's a lot to see, why don't you go and have a wander round?
I know you're dying to do it.
Yes, we'll go have good wander round.
Fight your way through the wildlife...
-Let's hope we don't upset the goose again.
-No, they make a racket.
For £700,000, the mystery property combines
a wonderful six-bedroom Grade II listed farmhouse,
a substantial thatched barn,
and a smallholding, all set in eight acres.
It may be £50,000 over budget, but this place delivers on all fronts.
It's got the space for Terry's cars, plenty of land for rescue animals
and it's full of Devonshire charm.
You'd have trouble getting permission to knock through the walls.
Maybe less a question of knocking walls down as putting something in to separate them
by stairway to have one set as offices...
You just block off the corridor through the rooms
and use the staircases to access the ends of the house.
Amazing place. It's got everything we need.
It's a little frightening to take on something like this.
The barn and that is everything I need.
The only concern is that it's right at the top of our price range
and it needs quite a bit of money spent on it.
Right, you two. Have you seen enough?
Yeah. A lot to see.
I could do with another day to see it all, but...
Unfortunately, we're out of time, so let's take you somewhere quiet
where you can have your own discussions,
-cos you've got some serious thinking to do.
-We have that.
Rural life has always centred on the changing seasons,
and after the harvest, the early autumn markets became
a permanent fixture in the agricultural calendar.
Apart from their economic importance, these markets had great social significance,
and by the 19th century, had evolved into what we now recognise as country fairs,
typified in the West Country by the annual spectacle at Widecombe-in-the-Moor.
Why is this fair so special, do you think?
It's a real country fair in the true sense of the word.
It's a show and a fun day and a real village event.
Even though it is such a miserable day here today...
-It's liquid sunshine!
-You've got liquid here, I can see.
You've got to keep a good man going, haven't you?
Held on the second Tuesday in September,
the earliest written record of Widecombe Fair dates back to 1815,
but it's thought that a cattle, sheep and pony sale was held here long before then.
Every year, dozens of competitions are held,
from the best local livestock to the more eccentric terrier racing.
And in honour of the lyrics to the folk song,
another highlight is the unique Uncle Tom cobbly race,
first run in 1923.
However, one of the major attractions this year must be the lamb-shearing contest.
With four different classes,
the aim is to shear off the fleece as cleanly as possible against the clock.
This takes strength as well as skill and speed.
You know what? It's got quite a greasy feel to it.
That's the lanolin in the wool, you see.
That's what you ladies will be paying for for your hand creams and all the rest of it.
-It's the lanolin.
-I should cut out the middleman, shouldn't I?
-When you shear, your hands get very soft.
-I can feel it already.
-It's very greasy, isn't it?
-So I know a good shearer cos he's got soft hands.
As well as professional tournaments, there are plenty of opportunities for anyone to join in and have a go,
though I doubt hay-bale throwing will do the same wonders for my hands as the sheep's wool.
But it's not just traditional skills that are put to the test at the fair.
Owners of vintage agricultural machinery come from all over Devon
to exhibit their trucks and tractors,
and all sorts of local produce are on sale.
Despite the appalling weather conditions,
it's clear to see why thousands of people flock here every year.
It's a true celebration of Dartmoor life at its best and quirkiest.
-And God save the Queen!
-DOG HOWLS ALONG
We've given Terry and Florence some time to weigh up
the three very different properties of our house tour
so now it's time to find out if any of those houses have tempted them.
Well, you two,
I think Devon has shown us all the seasons in a few days, hasn't it?
-It certainly has.
-We've all got wet at some point.
But it has been fantastic. We really have travelled around.
Have you enjoyed yourselves?
-Very much indeed.
-It's been a lot of fun.
Cast your minds back to the very first property we saw.
Tell me what you thought about that.
Fantastic views, great outbuildings,
lots and lots of land. House just didn't work for us, unfortunately.
It would need a lot of work to make it do what we need it to do
and also the basic house wasn't really big enough to start with.
The second property we went to see was very different,
situated in a courtyard.
It was the old barn with that beautiful creeper going over it.
First impressions, you were both really struck by it, weren't you?
And I actually loved the house and the interior of the house,
the whole barn effect,
the open plan, the three floors,
lovely land, absolutely phenomenal views outside as well.
Just...just stunning views.
-I've never seen as good views as that before.
it didn't have Terry's workshops or space outside.
There was no workshops that would work, as such.
What was there was far too small and far too low.
-Lastly, of course, we can't forget it, the mystery house.
I have two thank you, Nicky, and Escape To The Country,
because, to be quite honest, on paper,
we wouldn't have gone to look at that house
because thatched, old cottage,
I would have imagined small rooms,
low ceilings, beams would have been pretty and inglenook fireplaces,
but very small, perhaps dingy, little windows,
so we wouldn't have gone to look at it
and I was very, very surprised at how spacious it was,
and how light it was when we went to have a look at it, so a big thank you there.
It was an impressive house. It was huge, wasn't? All that land.
And it had its own thatched barn.
Even I was getting excited and I don't need a workshop!
-Grade II listed.
So there's lots of pluses.
Any concerns with that one or were they all surmountable?
Just a few, mainly financial.
It was right at the top of our budget, which was OK,
but it did need a lot of money spent on it, really.
So, Terry and Florence, what's the next step,
having seen these properties, explored the county,
what's the next move?
The next step is to get our house sold,
so we're in a position to put bids in and seriously go after something.
And as soon as we've got a sale on our property, we're both agreed
we'd be very interested in going back to the mystery property...
-..seeing if it's still on the market and if we can go with it.
Well, I hope you manage to sell your property very quickly.
-And that you come back down here as soon as you can.
-Thank you both.
-Thank you as well, and thanks to the whole team.
Well, it looks like the mystery property has worked its magic again.
Let's hope Terry and Florence manage to sell up quickly
and make that beautiful Devonshire longhouse their new home.
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