Alistair Appleton helps a recently retired couple find a country home with a large garage and a challenging garden project, for under £550,000 in Hampshire.
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I'm in a county that was once home to some of the most powerful ancient Britons,
where, 2,000 years ago, they had a ritual that has recently been re-established.
What am I doing inside this towering fellow?
Find out in a moment on Escape to the Country.
Put those matches down!
'Today I'll be helping a couple find their perfect home in the country.
'We'll be opening the door into a whole new man's world.'
Welcome to Tony's land.
'Does it seal the deal?'
-So when do we move?
And I'll be trying to enchant them with our mystery house.
Today we're in Hampshire which was once home to one of
the most powerful and influential Celtic tribes, the Atrebates.
But today is home to this fantastic wicker man who is
going to be burned to celebrate the ancient pagan festival of Beltane.
Originally this was a fertility ritual to guarantee the new crops,
but it's been recently revived by neopagans and archaeologists.
But it's not the only thing about this amazing county to spark your interest.
Hampshire is a solid bet for seeking out unspoilt countryside,
with the likes of Dorset and Wiltshire amongst its neighbours
and around a third of the county encompassed by two of Britain's
newest National Parks - the New Forest and the South Downs.
With its border also spanning the Solent coastline, it harbours
an historic link to the sea, stretching back before Nelson's Trafalgar victory.
The walls of the Roman fort, Portchester Castle, are some of the best preserved in Europe.
Hampshire also made up part of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex,
with King Alfred making the county town of Winchester his royal seat.
Indeed, Hampshire is home to some majestic properties,
from fine Georgian detached houses to beautiful thatched cottages,
providing a rich mix of rural retreats to choose from.
Hampshire has the wilderness of the New Forest and a coastline studded
with marinas, but it also has excellent links up to London
which probably explains why a detached house here
costs 20% more than the national average.
However, there are little pockets of price difference.
For example, the M3 corridor in the east of the county,
a detached house there is about £79,000 more expensive
than those on the west with the borders of Dorset.
However, wherever you are and whatever price, the properties are beautiful.
If you have £1.5 million at your disposal, you could
splash out on this handsome four-bedroomed property in Ringwood,
with spacious, comfortable reception rooms
and a sleek kitchen/diner extension.
The one-acre grounds house a pool and it's exclusively located within the New Forest National Park.
If you fancy some colour in your life, how about this pretty pink
Georgian house in the wonderfully named village of Over Wallop?
For £650,000, you'll get three reception rooms,
country kitchen, four bedrooms and a low maintenance garden to relax in.
On the market at £350,000, this two-bedroomed lodge in North Wanborough takes on a surprising
form for a new new-build, with its octagonal glass-roofed living room,
and it has a light airy feel throughout the second reception room and contemporary kitchen.
Hampshire has enough properties to fire up the enthusiasm
of any buyer, and our couple this week certainly know all about fires.
Recently retired fireman, Tony, and his wife Rosemary
moved to their three-bedroomed house in Pinner, Middlesex
from the country 14 years ago, which was all part of their long-term vision.
The plan always was to move into London, let me finish
my Fire Service career and then move out of London.
Since I retired fully in June last year, that's really the catalyst for it.
Our main reason for moving to the country is we both absolutely adore walking.
Whenever we go anywhere, we always take our walking boots and our walking poles, and we just
disappear somewhere, anywhere for the day with our backpacks on our back and just take in the environment,
everything that's going on, the peace, the quiet.
And to have a view, to have open skies, to be able to see the stars at night, and breathe fresh air...
-It would be lovely.
Now they're free from work ties, where do they see themselves living?
The area we'd like to move to is Hampshire.
It's a very beautiful county and to be able to live down there would be lovely.
Also to be close to our sons.
-One son is in Dorset.
-Also we'd be closer to my family in Devon and Cornwall
and still fairly close to your family in Newbury, Berkshire area.
And so we'll be able to visit them and hopefully they'll all be able to come and visit us.
What kind of country property is going to light their fire?
-We definitely want a warm, airy house.
-A lovely kitchen.
If I could have a double range, that would be my absolute dream.
When people come to stay, it would be really useful to have more space.
I definitely want three bedrooms.
And they both need room for their own pursuits.
This is the room that I do my sewing in.
In our next property I would love a much bigger room.
A purpose room for my sewing would be fantastic.
This is my workshop at the moment. Not much space.
I can do a little bit of sanding and drilling, but that's about it. I really need a bigger workshop.
They currently have a generous garden, divided into two sections,
-but it's not enough for Rosemary's ambition.
-With our next property, I'd love a big productive garden.
I'm desperate to grow far more vegetables than I do at the moment.
It seems like an achievable wish list, but what will start the alarm bells ringing?
The biggest no-no for me, although they're very pretty.
is a thatched property.
I'm not over-keen on beams or very low ceilings, and anything that you feel heavy and dark.
They're thinking about putting their house on the market, so we've asked
a local estate agent to come and value their property.
This is an excellent residential location with good local schooling nearby.
In my opinion this property is worth £500,000.
So with that in mind, how much do they have to spend?
Our budget for the next property is up to £550,000.
So our couple are looking for a bright and airy property here in Hampshire.
Rosemary wants a great big, challenging garden project
and Tony would be happy with a great big workshop.
They've got £550,000 to spend which is a healthy budget,
even here in Hampshire, but what really excites me about this
is helping this couple who have lived in suburbia for 14 years escape BACK to the country.
As Tony and Rosemary have family in the south-west, it makes sense
to base our property search in rural spots around West Hampshire.
I'll be showing them a real assortment of houses
and they will have to guess the price before I reveal it to them.
And I'll be going on a charm offensive with our mystery property.
-Welcome to Hampshire.
-Welcome back to the countryside because it was 14 years ago you left the country?
Yes, it was, we moved into London for my career and left
Berkshire. We were living on the outskirts of Reading.
You've decided to sell your house, is that right?
Yes, our house went on the market last week so we've started the ball rolling.
Does that mean we have a little bit more money to play with?
Yes, we said originally 550.
We'd now like to extend that to £600,000, but that's the top end.
-And that's got to be perfect.
-The pressure's on then.
Now, in terms of the house, you're a massively keen gardener, I know.
-But land is expensive in Hampshire.
You haven't chosen the cheapest county although it is very beautiful, as you can see.
How big are we talking - acres?
An acre would be manageable without being too much.
-And you want a workshop?
-I do, yes.
So somewhere either in the garden or the garage or something like that.
-Well, the house is not going to find itself
-so we should hit the Hampshire road.
-Lovely. Look forward to it.
With a top budget of £600,000,
Tony and Rosemary want their dream house in the country to include...
What do you remember most about when you lived in the countryside?
-What is it that you've missed all these years in London?
I've really missed my big garden.
It was very quiet, very rural and you could hear the birds singing.
So yeah, I think that's probably what I've missed more than anything.
We're starting our house search in the village of North Boarhunt, a quiet rural location,
but only a couple of miles away from the pretty market town of Wickham,
with an array of independent shops and lovely Georgian buildings gracing its streets.
And we're making a grand entrance with our first house.
-So step on into the drive.
This is pretty.
I think it looks lovely.
-I love the front door.
-It is wide.
It was originally two little cottages. This right-hand two-thirds is the original building
and this is an 80s extension, although you would never guess.
-That's fitted in very well, hasn't it?
-Shall we look inside?
From its humble late 19th century origins, this property has been
transformed into a very large house, which I think will surprise them.
Come on in.
Let's go straight in here actually. This is the front sitting room.
-This is nice.
-Oh, a real fire.
-So this is actually in the newer part of the house.
It's quite a nice size.
Possibly a bit smaller than what we've got, but that doesn't mean to say that it's not big enough.
-Is it your style?
-No. But you can see
it's a very easy room to change the way you would want it.
You might spend more of your time through here.
Down the hallway brings us to the L-shaped kitchen/diner.
That's a nice room. It's nice and long, isn't it?
What do you think? Can you imagine yourself using this space?
-I can see...
-It's a useful space.
-But you want to see the kitchen, don't you?
That's a nice space. Nice and light.
It really works, this L-shaped space.
-And is that a double range?
-A double range.
So it's oil central heating here, as it often is in the country.
That's a gas bottle that fires the range.
So this is the main room downstairs. What do you think?
It's more open-plan than I think we're used to.
But it looks lovely. It looks very nice.
If it's separate rooms they're after, this house has them too.
You've also got this.
-A big sizable room which is being used as a study at the moment.
-You would love this as a study. Look at all those book shelves.
-I could fill those quite easily.
-You'd be in your element, wouldn't you?
-A sewing room?
-It is quite light for that.
-It is a lovely, light room.
You've got this space here which takes you outside, where we'll go in a minute, but you've got a big
utility room and a downstairs loo in this extension, so that's where all your washing and everything is done.
-It's actually quite a big property.
'So far, this house seems to be delivering.
'Let's see if the upstairs space measures up.'
The Tardis-like qualities of this house continue upstairs because there are five bedrooms.
Three of the rooms are doubles. Two large enough to have a desk in, so their two sons
won't have to fight over where they're sleeping when they stay.
There is also a single, currently used as a dressing room,
and a separate family bathroom.
Not that Rosemary and Tony would use it,
as they have a suite all to themselves.
This is the master.
That's a nice room, isn't it?
-A nice size.
-It is a nice size.
Lovely deep window sill that you can sit and look at the amazing view.
It's certainly a lovely view out the front.
And it's got a spectacular en-suite.
-A double shower.
The shower's nice.
It's a lovely bathroom. It's perfect to have next to the bedroom.
I love the fact that there's the shower here.
-It's a very big en-suite.
'And the rooms keep on unfolding up in the attic space
'which could be a perfect fit for Rosemary's sewing room.
'The beauty of this house is its considerable size
'and the fact they can tailor these flexible living spaces to suit their own requirements.
'And there's yet another room to explore outside which I hope will thrill Tony.'
-Ready and waiting.
-Is it big enough?
-I have to try and visualise an empty room.
Compared to what we have at the moment, it is wider.
Compared to what I've got, it's lovely. 100% improvement.
'Outside, the garden is a descent size with more than
'enough room for veggies, but will it be enough for Rosemary?'
At the moment, I can't see it,
but maybe that's something you actually have to live with and grow,
and grow...and grow your vegetables.
The thing about this garden is that it's clearly not,
you know, it's not a gardener's garden,
but you've got a huge patio area here which you could landscape.
You've got all this which is not touched at all.
You've got very pretty views over a paddock.
-The views are beautiful.
-Two potting sheds, one here and one here.
This would be something that you could put your mark on.
-The thing about Hampshire is there is a premium on land.
It will be a bit of an issue. When it comes down to finances, how much do you think this property costs?
Said with great conviction.
I tend to go a bit more than that. I reckon 550.
So this might be a bit of a shock,
-but this is on the market for 595.
It's been on the market for 12 days and it's already had eight viewings.
It is a very desirable property.
Lots of people are interested so that's something to bear in mind.
-You have a walk round and think about that.
When you're done, we'll recollect ourselves out the front and then push on.
It's always heartbreaking when you show them something that is much more expensive,
but unfortunately Hampshire is an expensive county and if you want
that huge vegetable garden then something's got to give.
Maybe the house has to be a little bit smaller.
The property is under budget at £595,000 and it offers them
The rooms, I think, they've got potential.
With regard to the workshop space, certainly compared to
what I've got now, it's you know a considerable an improvement.
The patio area's nice. I can see you doing some of your brickwork.
-Changing the walls there.
And nice and sunny. It will obviously get a good lot of the sun throughout the day.
The price of the property did hit me like a tonne of bricks.
I was quite surprised. There was a lot of room.
There was a lot of space and possibly I just hadn't appreciated how much the prices in Hampshire are.
-You're smiling, that's good.
-Not too disheartened.
Along with stunning rural landscape, Hampshire's heritage also looks to the sea.
Its strong naval connections and fishing trade brought prosperity
to many of its coastal towns, of which Emsworth is a prime example.
Earlier in the week, Tony and Rosemary met John Tweddell, vice-chairman
of the Emsworth Maritime and Historical Trust, to find out more.
So Emsworth was very much a town of two parts.
You had the working town where the fishermen lived, and that's in South Street, and you had the posh part.
Now the Royal Navy at Portsmouth is not far away, about seven miles, and so often admirals,
when they retired, came out of Portsmouth and got to the first nice place and settled down.
From the 18th century, Emsworth's economy flourished because of milling,
providing the navy with flour and biscuits during the Napoleonic wars.
And from this time another local delicacy was being harvested from its waters.
So here we are in the heart of Emsworth, the town quay, and this is really where Emsworth grew up.
The fishing and oyster dredging industries.
In 1788 about £1,500 worth of oysters were brought ashore.
In modern day money, about £150,000. But by the middle of the 19th Century,
nine million oysters a year were coming out of Emsworth.
By 1878, Emsworth's oyster fishing fleet was made up of some 50 vessels
and this restored boat, named Terror,
is a living reminder of how trade boomed under the Victorians.
However, the industry sank suddenly at the turn of the century
and Emsworth's oysters were struck off the menu.
Alas, on a fateful day in 1902, at a mayoral banquet in Winchester,
a number of people were taken ill with typhoid.
Three of them died, including the Dean of Winchester.
Straightaway, being an important man, there was an inquiry.
The blame was put on Emsworth oysters and the industry was closed down.
So overnight half of the population of Emsworth, that's the people in the boat building yards,
the oyster fleet itself, lost their jobs
and suddenly the whole oyster fleet was left to rot in the mud.
The tide may have turned against the fortunes of Emsworth,
but today it remains a wonderful example of a fishing port
that cultivated a grand reputation far beyond its modest size.
We continue our property search in the attractive village of Hawkley,
with its own pub and a mock Norman church built in Victorian times.
There is a range of period properties scattered about
and on the outskirts of the village is where we find this house.
Originally a stone barn with definite green finger potential for Rosemary.
-Come on in.
-This looks pretty.
Oh, this looks interesting.
-You see what the theme of this one might be.
-The garden looks beautiful.
-I think this has got lots to offer you.
What do you think from the outside?
-I think it looks lovely.
-I like the brick. I do like the brick.
-Shall we go in?
-Oh, yes, definitely.
'That sounds like a positive first impression for the garden and the house,
'which was converted into a dwelling in the 1950s and extended in the 1980s,
'with a light interior that I hope they'll warm to.'
Let's go straight into the sitting room.
-Oh, not too many beams.
-This is lovely.
This is the oldest part. This was the original stone barn and everything else
is built around it so these are token nods towards the old barn.
Everything else has been beautifully updated. This house is not as big as the last house.
-Let's have a look at the kitchen.
This is your realm, Rosemary.
This is a lovely kitchen. Beautiful, country style kitchen.
I'm just thinking dining table.
Well, as you can see it goes through there into the conservatory
which we'll look in later, which would make a wonderful dining area.
But there is planning permission at the moment, for the next three years, to extend out here,
where that bit of the wall is, all the way back
to here to take out into a garden room to the side.
If you felt this was just too small, that, I think would make it a tremendous addition to the house.
I don't think it's too small.
It flows beautifully out into the conservatory.
Now, this, I think is a lovely
space that's not really utilised.
-The present owner has it as her sitting room.
-I bet it's a lovely sun trap.
-This probably might be what we're looking for
-to extend the kitchen a little bit.
To be able to dine out here as well.
Ah-ha, Rosemary seems to be putting on her creative remodelling hat, which is a good sign.
This converted barn is all on one level with all three bedrooms leading off the long hallway.
One is currently set-up as a study with doors leading out to the garden.
There's a light, bright, twin room, so enough space for their sons to stay over.
Next door, there is an impressive family bathroom.
-This is magnificent.
-It is, isn't it?
-Look at that shower.
-I was just going to say what a fantastic shower.
-It's a Showerama.
Let's have a little peek in your master bedroom, which is right next door.
And here is the master bedroom.
-That's a nice size. I like the built-in cupboards.
-Lot of storage.
A nice view when you're lying in bed.
-That leads us nicely out into the garden.
Let's go and have a look at garden.
'Although this house isn't huge, there is certainly enough space
'to accommodate the two of them and visiting guests very comfortably, with minimum upkeep.
'But it is the garden that will be make or break for Rosemary.'
Step out into the garden.
This might take a bit of a while to get your eyes
used to all this, because it is a quite complicated garden.
It is not your usual flat, long, suburban garden.
It certainly isn't. I'm just concerned about the steep drop there.
It is a quarry. It's the quarry from which the building was built.
-So your house is built from your garden.
Fascinating. I think I'm just thinking health and safety, being a bit paranoid, I suppose.
It is fenced all the way around.
It's quite... I imagine people have thought of that before.
Yes. But it is certainly a magnificent garden.
'This three-quarters of an acre terraced garden is unusual,
'but the quirky landscaped zones really enhance the setting of the house.
'But let's lift the lid on what could be Tony's secret world.'
OK. So, Tony, this is your land.
-Are you ready for this?
-You've got to buy the house now!
Welcome to Tony's Land!
-It gets better and better.
OK, so when do we move?
You may not like the garden, Rosemary, but unfortunately...
-The workshop is lovely.
-Oh, it is, yeah.
'The workshop is a dream come true for Tony, but can Rosemary see potential for the garden?
'Let's go up on to higher ground to survey all that could be theirs.'
So, up here, you get, you don't quite get a view of the whole garden from anywhere, because it
is all wrapped around the house, but you get different aspects.
Beautiful. The view is gorgeous.
What do you think this property is worth?
I'm going to go for £525,000.
I'm going to stick with 550.
Again, you are both being optimistic. This is on for 589.
-It is still quite high in your budget...
..because of the location and the nature of the property.
-It is expensive.
Here we go again!
Have a wander around, because there is probably more to talk about and to explore the garden.
-You should head up there. Don't fall down into the quarry!
Gosh, I think that 525 was definitely a vote of no confidence in the garden,
because this is a beautiful property and this is a stunning garden,
but it is really interesting, because Rosemary has it in her head what she wants.
It doesn't matter how beautiful it looks, if it is not what she wants, she doesn't want it.
That could be a real bone of contention when you're looking at the market, as it is today.
'However, coming in £11,000 under budget, at £589,000,
'this converted barn features a bright kitchen diner,
'with planning consent to be extended,
'three bedrooms, a superb workshop hideaway for Tony
'and three-quarters of an acre of garden, in an idyllic rural setting.
'The workshop scores highly, but is the garden a challenge too far?
It has got a beautiful feel to it.
Although it is remote, it doesn't have a remote feeling, somehow.
The garden is gorgeous,
-but I just have this concern of this drop here.
-And the practicalities of looking after it.
-That's right, yes.
In respect of the workshop, I fell in love with that straightaway.
I can see it being a fantastic workshop. Incredible, yeah, superb. I'm really pleased with that.
-Are you all done?
-Thank you, yes.
Lots to think about, eh?
-Oh, definitely. Definitely
-Let's go and rest and recuperate.
'As dusk draws in over the South Coast, it marks the end of the first day of our property search.
'Tony and Rosemary are poised to find a Hampshire country home
'with his dream workshop and her Garden of Eden.
'They have been very enthusiastic so far, but shocked by what
'they can get for their £600,000 budget.'
The price of the property did hit me like a tonne of bricks.
'Coming up, Tony is building a nest with a difference, in our mystery house.'
I can see boot room with a shower.
I can see all sorts of things happening.
You're taking this to another level. Boot room? Shower?
'I take a tour of a thatched cottage in the pre-historic style.'
This house hunting in Hampshire is proving slightly tricky, not least because it is an expensive county
and what Tony and Rosemary want is difficult to find.
Particularly the garden. Rosemary's vision of her garden is so personal,
that it doesn't really match up to anything that's on the market.
For the mystery house, we're going to take a shot in the dark and show them something
that's quintessentially Hampshire and hope that that gets their vote.
Day two - the mystery house. Which, as you know, is always bit of a curve ball.
What are you hoping it is not going to be?
A thatched cottage by a stream, right on a main road, next to an airport, you know, that...
Ah! There is a plane coming!
'Well, Tony, we can't come to Hampshire and not see thatch,
'so for our mystery house we're heading to Monkston,
'an idyllic country village,
'and if there's any place to convert them to thatch, it will be here.
'What's more, there is a charming local pub.
'In the heart of the village is our mystery property, but have no fear,
'fireman Tony, this roof has been treated with a fire retardant, so it won't be going up in smoke.'
So we don't have a stream, we don't have a main road but we do have a beautiful thatch.
It does look very pretty.
It does. Chocolate-box.
It wasn't on our wish-list.
I would be interested to know, have you ever put out a thatch, in your years as a fireman?
Yes, yes. They are hard work.
-Once they go up?
-Once they go up.
But it has a lot of historical and a lot of good press around it. It is extremely green.
It is extremely good insulation, it is self-ventilating, you don't need to ventilate the loft.
You have netting over the top, to stop birds getting in and weakening it.
Insurance-wise, this house has negotiated with their insurers that it is the same as any other house.
-Oh, right, that is interesting.
-And they have just had a bit repaired, so it does work.
That's my sermon about thatch over.
'This 18th-Century Grade II listed cottage has huge kerb appeal,
'but will Rosemary be impressed by what lies behind the garden gate?'
Now, after the avant-garde garden I showed you yesterday,
this is a much more conventional country cottage garden.
My question is, is it big enough for you?
It does look a bit small.
Although, I see the fruit trees that I'm after.
-There is, I can see, the potential for a lawn, veg plot.
I can see it would divide quite naturally into that sort of split.
We will come back here, but let's look inside.
'After a glimpse of the garden, let's hope the interior will charm the socks off them.'
Come straight into the kitchen.
-This is cute.
-We are into country cottage dimensions here, so it is not massive.
It is not your vision of a kitchen?
No, it's not. I have quite a distinct vision.
I do like a lot of work surfaces, although I like an island.
-But perhaps with a little more space around it?
I think that's probably what it is.
'Rosemary may have concerns about the size of the kitchen,
'but I think the room next door will really speak to them.'
-This is the first property that we've shown you that has a properly separate dining room.
-This is a lovely room.
-It is, isn't it?
-I did say I didn't like beams, but that looks quite authentic.
-You said "beams". There's just one!
I can see this being used for a family or, you know,
a get-together. And I can hear the room.
'For a traditional cottage, it is unexpectedly light
'and will they get a warm glow in here?'
Mind the step. Come into the main room, the main sitting room.
-This is a nice, big room.
-A big room, yeah.
Again, I can feel, it is a warm room.
I can feel it is a room that you would relax in.
Even though this property is not big, it is much more traditional
in its distribution of rooms - there is the kitchen and dining room and a relatively big sitting room.
'And there is a useful room tucked away at the end of the hallway.'
A nice downstairs cloakroom there. I wanted to show you this little room.
It is not huge, but it has a separate entrance.
It takes you out into the back garden.
So I was thinking, if you had visitors this might be a nice
room they could stay in, without disturbing you.
Lots of potential. I can see study.
I can see boot room with a shower. I can see all sorts of things happening.
Wow, you are taking this to another level. Boot room? Shower?
Forget the guests.
-They can bunk down in the front room!
-That's a much better idea.
'Happily they don't have to, as there is space for guests upstairs.'
The house has got three bedrooms.
-This is one.
It's, once again, a very sweet room.
-It's a bed and breakfast room.
-It is like a bed and breakfast room.
-It would work as a guest bedroom, wouldn't it?
-Wait until you see the master bedroom.
18 times the size of that!
'Opposite, there is also a useful smaller bedroom, with a family bathroom next door,
'but let's explore where they would sleep.'
This is the master bedroom.
This is very sweet.
-I keep saying "sweet". Lots of beams.
-Lots of beams.
It does have these windows pierced through, so you get a lot of light.
-It is a charming room.
-It is a charming room.
What is interesting is that through here, they have knocked through into another bedroom,
there was a fourth bedroom, they have turned it into a dressing area and a master en-suite.
Let's go and have a look.
-Look at this.
-I didn't expect this at all.
Well, that's a nice size.
So, what's in there?
Have a look.
-I'm all intrigued.
Washing machine and tumble drier.
-That's a very clever arrangement.
'Our mystery cottage, on paper, is everything they didn't ask for,
'but it seems to have wooed them with its charm and clever use of space.
'Outside is the bare bones of a workshop, where Tony could make his mark.'
The last house was a hard act to follow, in terms of the work space.
-So what you have is a single garage,
with all this space at the back, and it hasn't been developed.
I can see there would be space, if you took that bit down and did a bit to it.
So again, compared to what I've got now -
a much better improvement.
'Time to soak up the natural serenity of the garden and ponder on the price.'
It really is a charming garden.
Actually when you come down here, you really get the full charm of it, I think.
What do you think this property costs?
Because it is a very attractive thatched cottage in a very popular village and a nice garden.
I'm going to go for...580.
I'm going to go slightly lower.
-Right. Again, rather shockingly, this is on the market for £599,000.
-Right, oh, crikey.
Have a walk around and I think maybe think a little bit about Hampshire and Hampshire prices.
Just draw some thoughts together and we'll meet out the front.
OK, thank you.
'Priced absolutely at the top of their budget, at £599,000,
'our chocolate-box mystery cottage would offer them
'a kitchen and separate dining room,
'three bedrooms, with a master en-suite,
'a workshop space, which Tony could develop,
'a cottage garden, with established fruit trees -
'all set in a desirable village location.
'I love their positive approach to our mystery property,
'but will the workshop and garden give them enough at that price?'
We have normally associated thatched property with dark, dingy small rooms.
I was very pleasantly surprised with this property, especially the dining room.
I could see us enjoying that room. I'm really pleased that they have shown us a thatched cottage.
Never viewed one before and I certainly wouldn't discount one in the future.
The rooms were very sweet and quaint and there were lots of beams everywhere.
-It may be small, but it is a very tranquil garden. Hello!
Are you all finished? The mystery house is over.
It is time to reflect.
'Hampshire's landscape still bears the hallmarks of its rich history, from William the Conqueror
'founding the first royal forest in the 11th century, to Winchester being named England's first capital.
'But on Hampshire's chalk slopes, this ambitious archaeological site
'has recreated the pre-historic life of Iron Age Britain.
'I'm meeting Maureen Page from Butser Ancient Farm
'who can shed some light on how our ancestors lived 2,000 years ago.'
Maureen, talk me through what exactly we are seeing here.
It looks very impressive, but, you know, I don't know Iron Age from my elbow.
This is an Iron Age reconstructed site and the site was set-up to test archaeological theories.
They are all copies of houses that people lived in.
Until you can practically try it out, then you have no real evidence that that was how they could have done it.
What we have done here is choose houses where there has been a considerable amount of evidence
from the archaeology. We used that to build the houses.
'Among the Iron Age roundhouses here is the reconstruction of one
'of the largest found in Britain, with a diameter of over 50 feet.'
Wow, it is really a roundhouse.
-It is definitely round.
-How do we know this is accurate?
From the archaeological evidence. So this house is a copy of a house that was excavated at
a place called Little Woodbury, on the outskirts of Salisbury.
That is interesting, because we have the fire going here and it is quite smoky. There is no chimney.
There is no hole. I hope you can't see any holes up there!
We don't believe there were any holes in the roof.
The smoke will gradually trickle out through the thatch. So it is really important.
Smoke is a preservative. It preserves the roof.
It preserve the thatch, but it stops any insects living in it.
If there aren't any insects living there, birds won't come
pull the thatch apart to eat the insects.
They know there won't be any insects.
'Life in Iron Age Britain was first documented by the Romans, who not only recorded what
'Britons' homes looked like and the farming communities they lived in,
'but also their religious rituals, including the pagan summer festival of Belltaine,
'with its notorious effigy, described by the most famous Roman of all.'
Julius Caesar talks about it.
Yes, in his writings he wrote that Iron Age Britons built big men like this out of sticks and filled them
with people and animals and burned them alive as a sacrifice to their gods to ensure a good harvest.
-Wow, so proper Wicker Man stuff.
-Yes, we don't do the burning people alive.
But it is built in the big hoolie.
For us here, it is. Just because the weather is so lovely
and this offers us an opportunity to attract lots of people to the site, so they can see what were doing.
-And burn a big man!
-And burn a big man.
'The site has fired my imagination of what it would have been like
'to live in this very early era of British civilisation.
'Now that Tony and Rosemary's property search is at an end,
'they have a moment to reflect on what we've shown them.'
It will be interesting to see whether our thatched mystery house experiment paid dividends.
Let's go and find out.
Now, so it has been a couple of powerful days in Hampshire, so if
you can spin back your mind to the very first property we looked at.
-What are your thoughts about that now?
-Very, very pretty.
-Inside there was a lot of space.
-Quite versatile, as well.
The garden for me was a little bit small and although you quite liked
the workshop, it probably wasn't as big as you would have liked.
-The second house had a much bigger garden and a lovely workshop.
Let's talk about that one.
I was taken with the location. I thought it was absolutely beautiful.
There probably wasn't enough room for us.
I would have preferred a bigger kitchen.
The garden, for me, I think would have challenged my muscles.
-It would have been fine for you, I think.
It was a very interesting garden.
I was surprised I liked it as much as I did and the workshop
just sold it. I mean, you know, if that's what I was buying, then...
You loved it, didn't you? He really loved it.
It has really shown me what I know I want.
I know now that I want something that sort of size.
What about the mystery house, because this was, sort of, a curve ball?
We have never visited a thatched property before.
We have always discounted them. If it is thatch, we're not going to go and look at it.
I think now having done that once, we won't discount a property just because it is thatch.
The fact that you wanted a much bigger workshop
and the garden, for me, it was just a little bit too small, although very pretty.
It wasn't quite what I had in mind.
One of the things I've noticed is you have had, all the way through, this incredibly specific idea
of what you want your garden and, I have to say, your kitchen, to look like.
Do you think that might get in the way of actually finding the property that you want?
I think I'm going to have to be a little bit more open
on the garden, but I still would prefer a level garden.
I'm just thinking of the next ten years.
The prices haven't driven you away from Hampshire?
They haven't driven us away, but it has just highlighted that it is more expensive than we anticipated.
And if this is where we want to move, we've just got to bite the bullet and go for it.
Looking into all three properties, is there anyone that stands out as a favourite?
For me, obviously, the quarry house.
For me, also, the quarry house.
-What happens next? It was your favourite, but will you put an offer on?
I don't think we will. I think the accommodation for us probably wasn't what we're looking for.
No. I would see it very difficult to extend sufficiently
the property to provide us with what we would need.
So what does happen next?
Well, I think lots more trips away to look at properties.
I hope we've given you not too bumpy a start in the Hampshire
house market and wherever you end up buying, I wish you all the best and enjoy your garden.
-Enjoy your workshop.
It is not the first time that a couple have come a cropper on Hampshire property prices,
but I am convinced that, with their clear vision of what exactly they want,
they will find their dream property soon enough.
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Alistair Appleton helps a recently retired 'young at heart' couple find a country home in Hampshire. With a budget of £550,000, their priorities are a large garage and a challenging garden project.