Nicki Chapman is in Hampshire with a couple of retired ex-pat house hunters looking for a new rural home, finding a brick-and-timber property dating back to 1630.
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This is one of six royal hunting grounds remaining in England.
900 years ago, the law imposed here was so harsh
that to spoil the king's aim was treason.
So where am I? Can't see the wood for the trees?
Well, stick around and all will become clear.
'Today, our retired ex-pat house hunters are swapping Cyprus
'for the patchwork landscape of the great British countryside
'and emotions are high for the big homecoming.'
-Sorry, yeah, I am.
-You're choked up, aren't you?
A country house with character is on the agenda.
I don't believe that that is the house we're going to look at.
-Over there, look.
-Struth. The size of that fireplace.
'And they certainly sound like they're coming home for good.'
I could easily live here.
Today, I'm in Hampshire and this is the New Forest,
named by William the Conqueror in 1079,
not because it was a heavily wooded area
but because forest was the legal term,
meaning land the king had the right
to keep deer, hunt and impose strict forest law to protect game.
By the 13th century, a third of England came under forest law
and here in the New Forest, nearly 1,000 years later,
some of those laws still apply,
which have helped shape this part of Hampshire,
making it one of the most unique and diverse landscapes
in the country.
In the south of England, Hampshire is flanked by five counties,
but it's the coastline that has given the county its long maritime history.
Hampshire's name was taken from the original port of Hampton,
which is now known as Southampton.
Heading inland from the coast, 85% of the county is classed as rural
and much of the countryside is devoted to grain production,
dairy farming and market gardening.
But it's the forest that has made this county famous.
Known for its semi-feral ponies,
the ancient woodland this is the New Forest
makes up 15% of Hampshire
and is nearly wholly owned by the Crown.
However, the properties are owned by the common folk
and reflect a rich thatching heritage,
originating from 6th century Saxon settlements,
a taste of history framed by the county's natural beauty.
With its excellent road and rail links to London,
Hampshire remains one of the most popular rural destinations
for high-earning city folk in search of the good life.
Combine demand with restricted development
across the county's national parks
and the result is premium house prices,
25% above the national average.
And if you choose to live within the New Forest itself,
you'd be looking at up to 20% on top of that.
So let's take a look at what's currently on the market county-wide.
First up, this grade-II listed mid-terrace two-bedroomed thatch
in St Mary Bourne is on the market for just under £250,000.
The kitchen is compact but functional.
The living space has traditional features
and the rear garden has a glorious rural outlook.
Further up the property ladder at £545,000,
this two-bedroom period cottage is tucked away
in a prime forest position near Godshill.
Inside, there's a light and airy kitchen-diner
and a spacious dual-aspect living room.
And finally, situated in Lyndhurst, overlooking the New Forest,
this 18th-century cottage is on the market at £800,000.
The kitchen boasts the latest fittings.
The five bedrooms are tastefully decorated
and to the rear there's a large garden.
So an excellent range of properties on offer here in Hampshire.
But what are today's buyers after? Let's find out.
Retired couple Ray and Sally left the UK for Cyprus in 2003.
Seven years later, they're back in the UK,
living in their Wokingham crash pad
they bought before they became ex-pats.
So, why have they returned?
I will miss my sailing and some of the other things that I can do
but, by the same token, I'm looking forward to coming here
to do the things that I can't do in Cyprus.
I miss the family. I love the grandchildren
and I think we need time to come back and settle into a community
that we choose.
As avid gardeners,
they've also the missed the green gardens and soft English soil.
The garden in Cyprus is like concrete
and to dig a hole, you have to start with a pickaxe
just to get through the top layer.
And it's the cool of the pastoral English countryside
that has really pulled Ray and Sally back to Britain.
'I've missed the greenery of the UK.'
Coming back into land on our return from Cyprus,
looking out of the window and seeing the patchwork quilt
And the New forest seems to be the quilt of choice.
It's a lovely area. It's full of wildlife. We've walked there.
I can go fishing.
And it's a place where I would be more than happy
for the grandchildren to visit.
It's a wonderful location to live in or visit
but what should the grandchildren expect when they arrive?
The essentials for our next move are three bedrooms,
a reasonable size kitchen, two reception rooms
and a reasonable amount of outside space -
a quarter of an acre or more.
A unique feature that I would like to be able to achieve
would be an inglenook fireplace or an open fireplace of character.
An achievable list, then.
To fund the move, Ray and Sally will be selling their Wokingham home,
so what price can they expect from the sale?
This is a well-presented, four-bedroom, detached family home
set in a pleasant cul-de-sac location
and because of its close proximity to local schools and shops
and Wokingham train station,
I would value this property at £410,000.
Which leaves us with one last piece of the puzzle - the budget.
If the property had everything to offer that we require,
we could stretch to £650,000.
After seven years in Cyprus,
it seems there's no place like home for Ray and Sally.
Now, £650,000 is a good budget for what they're looking for,
a three-bedroom, detached character property.
But this is a rather expensive county.
Now, luckily, they're not prescriptive
about wanting to live within the boundaries of the national park itself,
so fingers crossed, we should be able to find them what they're looking for.
We'll be fishing for fantastic homes around the New Forest region
on the west side of the county,
making sure they're within easy reach of the coast
in case Ray fancies a sail on the nearby Solent.
In all, we'll be showing Ray and Sally three properties
but won't be giving away the price until the end of the tour.
And then there's the mystery house,
a property thrown into the mix that promises to challenge their idea
of a dream home in the country.
Ray and Sally, great to meet you and welcome to the New Forest.
-It's all about the two of you, this move.
-No, that's the priority,
finding you your home back in the UK.
Yes. We don't have to choose a house based around the children's needs.
-We're choosing one based around...
And having had five children, that was a lot of needs in the past.
-A lot of needs.
-But now there's only two.
-And a lot of house.
-And a lot of money.
Talking of money, £650,000 your top budget.
Top budget 650, yes.
Right, well, we've got some cracking homes lined up for you to see,
-so shall we get started?
-We're looking forward to it.
-Come on, then.
For a top budget of £650,000, Ray and Sally want three bedrooms,
a good-sized country kitchen, two reception rooms
and a feature fireplace.
Finally, a large garden is a must,
so they can pursue their favourite hobby.
Having designed and built their own home in Cyprus,
Ray in particular isn't afraid of making his own mark on the property.
So if I find you the odd project, that won't throw you, will it?
Not the odd project, no.
It depends how odd it is.
The first property does have room for improvement,
so that's good news.
We're heading to Woodgreen, an archetypal Hampshire village
in the north-western corner of the New Forest district.
Situated on the side of a gentle hill,
the village is part of a conservation area
and boasts far-reaching views across the heath, moor and woodland.
And the free-range ponies won't be breaking any speed limits
when they make their way casually through the village
past the aptly named local pub.
And my first offering is a perfect fit for this rural idyll.
-So here is your first property.
-It's very pretty.
-It's very pretty.
-It's a lovely cottage.
-Are you getting the right feeling, Sally?
And... Sorry, yes, I am.
-You're choked up, aren't you?
-This is a good start.
-Do you want to hear a bit more about the cottage?
1630, the original part of the house was built.
It's grade-II listed
but you've got extensions either side which are outside the listing.
The main body of the house is grade-II listed.
-Shall we start the tour?
-OK. I'd love to, yeah.
Well, that may be a first.
The property has really struck a chord with Sally
but the tour must go on,
so we're heading inside through a small entrance hall
to the first of the two reception rooms.
So after that reaction outside,
what do you think as you step through into the house itself?
A very good-sized room, full of beautiful features.
Yes, this is a very nice room. A very nice room.
-Yeah. You've got an inglenook here.
And an open hearth at the other end.
-All the character you would wish for.
Connected to the living area is a conservatory built in the 1970s
and next door, there's a cosy dining room
that leads to the heart of every home.
-So here's the kitchen. It's a fair size.
-However, it probably does need an update.
-Yes, I think it does.
-I would agree with that.
But should you want a project, you could move this kitchen.
-You could move it because next door, there's so much space.
This extension was done more recently.
So we've got a hallway and then you step... Come on through.
-A budgerigar. TWITTERING
The budgerigar and the parrot are trying to sell the house.
-Come on in, Ray.
-A huge area.
-Right. A very nice-sized room.
-This is new?
-This is all new. This was done in the 1990s.
-So this could be a fantastic kitchen come dining room.
-It's got access out into the garden.
-Let's head upstairs.
The ground floor seems to have hit the spot.
There's also a utility room, downstairs bathroom
and the first of four bedrooms is also on this level.
But we're heading upstairs to find out where Ray and Sally could park their slippers.
It really is old in this part upstairs.
-You can feel it as you walk up the stairs.
-Oh, it's lovely.
-It is. Very charming, isn't it?
-So this is the master bedroom.
When I saw the outside of the house, I was a bit concerned about the upstairs.
You though you might have a hunch by the end of it.
But certainly this room, very nice indeed.
Not a bad result for the inside, then.
The rest of this level includes two more good-sized double bedrooms
and a family bathroom
but will the outside continue to impress?
So, I was very keen to get you out here because you both love gardens
-and here it is.
-It's a nice shape, isn't it?
-Very, very nice.
I was, perhaps, hoping for something a little larger
but I appreciate there is land at the front
and I'm sure we could grow at least a few vegetables in here.
Well, there's something else I'm going to ask you now
and that's how much do you think this house is currently on the market for?
Go on, Ray. Start us off.
-I would say 635.
-Your top budget is 650,000.
-The current asking price, £645,000.
-I'm not surprised, not for where it is.
-I'm not surprised.
-And for the character of the property.
-It has character.
-It has most of the things we asked for.
I'm just surprised because there are one or two things that need doing, that's all.
-Why don't you have another wander around?
You can think about what those adjustments are
and I'll catch up with you a little bit later.
-Thank you very much.
A solid start for our first property.
At just under budget at £645,000,
the property offers four bedrooms,
two reception rooms and a country kitchen.
There is plenty of space in the garden
but are they prepared to modify the interior?
You are never going to find the perfect house,
so you have to be prepared to make some alterations,
-even if it's only decoration when you move into a new place.
When I first approached the house, I was in shock, a pleasant shock.
I hadn't envisaged seeing anything so pretty.
Well, what a great start to a tour
but I wonder what they genuinely think about the inside?
We'll have to wait and see.
Sadly? Oh, that's a good sign. She loves it.
-Right, let's keep going.
Although the New Forest was owned by William the Conqueror,
his presence in Hampshire extends much further
than this ancient hunting ground.
In between Portsmouth and Chichester
and just 300 metres from the mainland,
Hayling Island has a long, colourful history,
shaped in part by England's first French king.
Historian Robin Walton was on hand
to tell Sally and Ray all about this remarkable little island.
When William the Conqueror did his nasty business over here and took us over,
he gave Hayling Island to the monks of the royal abbey at Jumieges in Normandy
and one of the wonderful things that they did at the time
-was they built a dovecote.
In those days, you didn't keep cattle for the winter
because there were no turnips, there were no root vegetables,
none of the things that they now feed cattle on.
So if you were a special person, a lord or a lord of the manor, which the monks were,
-every time you fancied a meat sandwich, you'd go out and decapitate a pigeon.
So pigeons were cultivated for the pot.
Pigeons were cultivated for the pot.
Originally, it's thought there was a priory adjacent to the dovecote
but in 1777, the Duke of Norfolk built an imposing manor house
on the same site.
In 1823, that house was sold, along with the entire island,
to entrepreneur and prominent London lawyer William Padwick.
Using Brighton and Bath as inspiration,
Padwick wanted to turn Hayling into a tourist Mecca.
He built an impressive crescent and a bridge
but soon ran into financial trouble.
Once he got going, everybody else sort of gradually faded away
and William was left with this great scheme of his
not quite coming to fruition.
He died a bit of a disappointed man.
And he built this bridge or the original bridge,
which is a big span for the early 19th century.
It is but these were ambitious men.
But Padwick wasn't the only man of ambition on Hayling.
Over a century later, one of the world's favourite water sports
is said to have been invented right here in 1958.
Well, there we are, then. Chichester Harbour.
-This was the birthplace of windsurfing.
A chap called Peter Chilvers as a young boy of about 13 or 14
was the first person ever to put a lump of wood onto the water,
put up a post, put a sail on it and windsurf.
The sailing club was also the headquarters
of a Special Services group called COPP during World War II,
Combined Operations Pilotage Parties.
That was a group of very young men, 18, 19, 20, 21,
and they operated throughout the world, recceing beaches
before Allied invasions.
Their most famous one was, of course, the Normandy invasion in 1944
and they probably saved tens of thousands of Allied lives
by ensuring that we weren't going into beaches
which were unsuitable for landing craft, tanks and so forth.
A wonderful group and it all started here
at Hayling Island sailing club.
If that hasn't satisfied Ray's penchant for sailing,
then I do have a surprise for him later in the show.
But right now it's back to the New Forest
and on with the property hunt.
So we're heading to a hamlet near the town of Fordingbridge.
The stone and flint church listed in the Doomsday Book in 1086
reflects the town's long and often colourful history.
In the 18th century, a famous smuggler, Captain Diamond,
was said to have used the town as a base
but these days it's less about the black market,
with plenty of local shops to choose from.
The parks and gardens in the town are perfect
for when the grandchildren come to visit
and our next property has loads of space for any visiting relatives.
Sally, you said you were quite up for considering a modern property.
-I did, yes.
-And thinking modern, you don't have to lose character and charm.
They can come hand in hand
and this is your next property, which is indeed modern.
Yes, it's very different from the last one, from the outside.
-First impressions? I like it.
-It was practically rebuilt in the 1990s.
-So shall we start the tour?
-Yes. I'm looking forward to it.
No tears from Sally this time
but they seem positive about the modern styling of the house.
-So you step into a nice big hallway.
-I like that.
It's very nice.
Let's hope you're impressed with the rest of the house.
-I'm sure we will be.
-Follow me through here.
So here you have your dining room.
-What a good size!
-It's quite an impact, isn't it?
-That's a nice-sized room.
-It is a nice size.
Does this feel like a modern room to you
or does it feel like it's got plenty of character and could be any age?
-It still holds character.
-It still holds character, yes.
Let's see what you think of the next room.
Oh, look at that, Ray.
-Oh, wow. Over there.
-The size of that fireplace.
-It's impressive, isn't it?
That would be impressive in any house.
And what a lovely sized room.
-I could spend Christmas afternoon curled up in front of that.
This is good.
Is that after you've washed up?
-No, the children wash up.
-On Christmas Day.
-The children wash up.
-Shall we have at look at where they're going to be washing up?
-That's a good idea.
Maybe the outside didn't quite have the impact of our first property
but the interior is really impressing Ray and Sally.
How does this kitchen fit a family of five children?
-That's perfect for you, Ray.
-I can see that.
-And room for a table again.
So through those doors, you've got a very generous utility room,
beautifully fitted out - nearly the same standard as this kitchen -
-and a downstairs cloakroom.
'But the living space doesn't end there.'
And you've got the added bonus of a conservatory,
so somewhere else where you can relax, entertain...
Very nice. Nice flow from there to out here. Very nice.
-The whole place has a nice flow at the moment.
-I like it.
-I like it.
-I thought that was what you said.
I like it. I feel it's more comfortable.
'Heading upstairs, the space is as impressive as the downstairs.
'There are four bedrooms and a large family bathroom
'but we're making our way to the luxurious master suite.'
-So, generous rooms upstairs, as well.
-Oh, yes, very much so.
Again, a good-sized room.
-Now this is your master.
-And you've just spotted the en suite.
-There's an en suite, yes,
which is always helpful.
-Lovely. Very, very nice.
Shall we check out the garden? After you, Ray.
Thank you very much.
'Outside, the terraced garden is beautifully maintained,
'perfect for our avid gardeners,
'but it's the mature willow that really gives the garden that finishing touch.'
-So here is your garden, complete with willow tree.
-How attractive does that property look?
-It looks very nice.
I think this fits the bill,
as far as I'm concerned, much better than the last one, yes.
-I like it.
-You like it, I know.
So I have had very positive vibes from you both about this property.
Let's see if the price matches.
How much do you think this house is currently on the market for?
-Who wants to go first? Your turn, Sally?
-It's my turn.
Well, learning now and what I know now and there isn't a garage...
OK. Yeah. Ray?
I would say because of the greater accommodation inside and out,
-I will go for 650.
-Sally, you're right on the money.
-So, if you decided to buy this property,
you've still got £25,000 left in your budget
-for a fantastic garage.
-So go and take a second look...
-..and I'll catch up with you in a little while.
And I thought the first property hit the mark.
Clearly, this house is going to be hard to beat
and it's well under budget, at £625,000.
The property boasts four bedrooms, a large modern kitchen,
the spacious living area comes complete with a feature fireplace
and the garden is a real hit with Ray.
This is what I was thinking of.
There's plenty of space here for me to do what I want to do,
to make a vegetable garden or whatever.
Walking through this door into that nice entrance hall,
I had a very good feeling.
I could easily live here.
This is the sort of house
in which I think we would be very comfortable.
Two very different properties and two fantastic reactions.
-Yes, thank you.
As the sun settles behind the New Forest,
Ray and Sally have plenty to consider.
Today's house-hunters are ex-pats coming back to the fold.
Keen gardeners, they're after a detached period property
-with loads of outside space.
-This is what I was thinking of.
But what will they make of our very attached mystery house?
Open-minded and open to making compromises, maybe.
Yesterday, we saw two very different houses,
both of which would make the perfect escape to the country for Ray and Sally.
But I wonder what they'll make of our mystery house?
Let's find out.
Our mystery property today lies east of the New Forest's district borders,
in Warsash, a village with a long maritime history.
By the time of the French wars in the late 1700s,
the ship-building industry was developing here
and has since given the town much of its personality.
The location should appeal to Ray, as he enjoys getting out on the water.
And for the landlubber,
there's a variety of independent shops and public houses to enjoy.
With views over the water and just a short stroll to the sailing club,
today's mystery property is a real change of tack from our previous properties.
OK. I don't believe that that is the house we're going to look at.
-It is the mystery property, you two.
I've brought you to something a little bit different.
All of it or some of it?
-Some of it.
-Some of it. OK.
So don't worry about the cleaning. You haven't got to do...
-Quite hard going, yes.
-So it is part of it.
Originally the house was built in 1910 for Sir Warden Chilcott MP.
-It was used during the war, so injured servicemen stayed here.
But about 13 years ago, it was completely refurbished,
brought back to its original splendour
and turned into houses.
-There's three houses within this property.
So, Ray, being a very keen sailor, this is a fantastic spot, isn't it?
Well, it is. There's the Solent there.
There's Hamble with all its marinas. There's Cowes just across the water.
It's the centre for yachting in the south of England.
Very different, I'm sure, from what you've been thinking of buying.
Let's see if this mystery house can work its magic on the both of you.
-Let's hope so.
'It's a great location
'but it will be interesting to see how this Victorian conversion rates
'against the previous detached properties.'
-So, come on through.
-Isn't that beautiful?
-What a lovely staircase.
It's really ornate. You can see that's one of the original features from when this house was built.
-Let's continue through.
-So how's this for a sitting room?
-It's a lovely sized room.
Yes, that's a lovely room.
Views across the water and the gardens, which are quite extensive.
Apparently, this house had the most amazing parties
when the MP owned it.
-Sir Winston Churchill himself stayed here.
-Shall we see your kitchen?
-OK. Through here.
-So this is very much the galley-style kitchen.
So two sections. You've got the sink down there,
-loads of storage space and you've got the hob up here.
I can see you're taking it all in.
I had set my heart on a big kitchen
-but we'll see as we move on through.
Open-minded and open to making compromises, maybe.
'Sally has the right idea
'because if it's space she's after, there'll be no need to compromise
'with the three bedrooms on the next two levels.'
-An impressive landing.
-Very. Large area.
And here's the master bedroom.
-OK. That's a good size.
-It is a good size.
-Large en suite
-and you've also got a walk-in wardrobe just round the corner.
If you've got the luxury of space, with the walk-in wardrobe, it does make a difference.
-It does, a huge difference.
-We're going to head upstairs to the third floor.
After you, Ray.
On this level, there's also another large double bedroom
and a family bathroom
but on the second floor, there's another option for a master suite,
a real room with a view.
So here we are at the top of the house
and the top of the house benefits from this amazing view.
-Oh! Oh, wow.
-Right across the water.
-Yes, it's lovely.
-The current owner uses this as his study.
He said the disadvantage of being up here is...
-That he doesn't get a lot done.
-You just gaze out over there every day.
-It's also got an en suite, just round the corner.
So out of the three bedrooms, two of them are en suite.
So this, I think, could be a fantastic master bedroom.
-You've certainly got the space.
-You've certainly got the space.
-It's worth moving upstairs for, isn't it, the view?
Yes, yes, it's lovely.
'The views over the garden are incredible,
'so we're heading down to take a closer look
'and where Ray and Sally are likely to be spending a fair amount of their time.'
-So here's the garden. It's around an acre in size.
It's not all yours. The residents of the house actually share this garden.
-I think I can see a big smile on your face.
-It's a lovely view and it's nice to see the yachts and the boats.
It makes for interest.
The question is, how much do you think it's on the market for?
-I am going to go for 620.
I would say 650.
I think Sally's going to have another career as an estate agent.
-Oh, no, really?
-You're absolutely on the money again.
-The asking price is £650,000.
-It is luxury.
-It doesn't surprise me.
Luxury and prime location.
So why don't you wander round the grounds
-and then pop back in and have another look around?
With excellent proximity to the water,
today's mystery house has certainly given Ray food for thought.
At the top of their budget at £650,000,
this Victorian conversion offers three good-sized double bedrooms,
an impressive living space and a large communal garden.
The views over the River Hamble are a real selling point
but will the whole concept be too much for the couple
that said they wanted a detached home?
It's a lovely apartment in a beautiful building
in a beautiful setting.
The only thing for me is the size of the kitchen.
-I don't know.
-I think that is a problem.
I think it's... it's too small.
The location for Ray is marvellous.
The room sizes are good.
I'm just not sure that it's quite me.
-OK, the both of you?
-Yes, thank you.
-Yes, lovely, thank you.
-So that mystery house has got you thinking, hasn't it?
You thought yesterday was complicated!
-Let's take you somewhere quiet and you can make some decisions.
'The famous ponies and other livestock that wander through the New Forest
'are actually the property of local people
'who enjoy traditional grazing rights.
'Known as New Forest common rights,
'the law was introduced by William the Conqueror.
'These rights today are taken up by approximately 500 people,
'known as commoners.
'For a nominal fee, they have the legal right to graze livestock
'in the 45,000 acres of open forest.
'Although the skills needed to practise the art of commoning are centuries old,
'they are in danger of being lost,
'so I'm meeting Rachel Bailey from Natural England
'to find out more about commoning
'and why it's so important to keep this tradition alive.'
So, Rachel, being here in the New Forest,
you have pictures of the ponies and the cattle grazing
and I always thought they were wild but that's not the case, is it?
No. All the ponies and the cattle that you see in the New Forest
are owned by somebody and we refer to them as commoners.
They're not actually common people,
they're people with rights to graze their animals on the common,
rights are associated with the properties they live in.
So why do we need animals grazing in the New Forest?
Why is it so important?
Well, without those animals, all of the heathland and the grassland
and the pasture woodland you've seen today,
those habitats that are of international importance would scrub up
and turn to sort of unkempt woodland
which is of much less biological and landscape importance.
Even though the forest supports the animals in the summer months,
private land is required by the commoners
to house the animals in winter.
But prohibitively high property prices
and the labour-intensive nature of commoning
have put many young people off.
Today, most commoners are in their sixties and seventies,
so a £60 million conservation agreement is underway,
to encourage the younger generation to take up the baton.
It looks idyllic on the ground - the ponies and cows look happy -
but it takes an awful lot of work to keep them that way
and it's really important to find ways
in which to support that next generation to continue it.
So it really is an investment,
getting the younger generation through
-to preserve what we see today.
-Very much so.
It's really important to preserve this special place for the future.
'Head of the Young Commoners association, Lyndsey Stride,
'understands first hand how much hard work is needed
'and important this tradition is to the ecosystem.
'By day, Lyndsey is a teacher
'and most of her time away from teaching
'is spent maintaining her animals.'
-You just pour it in.
-Are they hungry?
-Very hungry. They've been waiting.
So when will these be released into the forest?
The pannage season starts in the middle of September.
-And pannage is?
-The season when pigs are allowed out in the forest.
We want the pigs to go out and eat the acorns
because acorns are poisonous for ponies and cattle.
So there's a logic to everything that happens in the forest.
Absolutely. It's a really holistic system.
And what do you get out of it? It's not just feeding cute piglets, is it?
There's something wonderful about going out for a walk in the forest
and feeling part of it,
knowing that our actions are part of creating the landscape.
And New Forest ponies and cattle, so commoners' stock,
are known as the architects of the forest
and that means that they've shaped it
and because we're the owners of those animals, we're part of that, too.
Well, Lyndsey, thank you so much
and may the young commoners keep the tradition alive.
-Let's hope so.
Well, our property search is over and I think it went pretty well.
Now it's time to find out what Ray and Sally think.
Well, guys, have you had a good few days?
-We have, I think.
-We've really enjoyed it, yes.
Now, the very first property that we saw
was in a beautiful village called Woodgreen
and I don't think that I've ever had a reaction like it, Sally.
Yes. It was everything that I'd always imagined.
It was a house that had so much potential.
You really could make that your own, couldn't you?
It would have required quite a lot of work
to actually achieve what we would have liked to achieve
-for us inside.
-You could see the potential.
The potential was there.
Now, from there we travelled to a little hamlet outside Fordingbridge
and saw a completely different type of property.
It was actually a new build.
-To find period features inside a modern property...
..gave it, I think, a wow factor
that we really didn't expect.
-It ticked every box that we were hoping for.
Maybe except one but it could be easily remedied.
It didn't have a garage at all, which I would like.
But there was plenty of space available to build a garage,
which is a relatively simple thing to do.
Now, we can't forget our mystery house.
It was quite a drive, about half an hour from the New Forest
and, well, a completely different type of property again,
something, perhaps, that you might not have considered.
What can I say? A curve ball of epic proportions.
It was a lovely apartment
but the kitchen, unfortunately, was a galley kitchen,
and, fond as I am of sailing, it's a little unfair
-to ask Sally to be in a galley...
and at sea.
So having seen the three properties that we selected for you,
what's going to be your next move?
We have actually decided to have a drive around the second property,
To learn a bit more and go from there, I think.
I think we're both agreed that we could well put in an offer.
Well, it sounds like we've got really close
and I'm particularly pleased
that we're helping to tempt you back to this country
for a new life together in Hampshire.
I think you've managed to do that successfully
and we're really looking forward to the next stage in our lives.
-Well, I hope it goes really well for you both.
After seven years away, Ray and Sally are ready to return to the UK
and find a new house in the country.
Now we showed them three very different properties
and I truly believe they're now a step closer
to finding that perfect home here in the New Forest.
We wish them all the best.
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Nicki Chapman is in Hampshire with a couple of retired ex-pat house hunters who have a budget of £650,000 for their new rural home. Emotions run high for the big homecoming when they set eyes on a pretty brick-and-timber property dating back to 1630. Nicki also finds out what it takes to be a commoner in the New Forest National Park.