Hampshire Escape to the Country


Hampshire

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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Transcript


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This is one of six royal hunting grounds remaining in England.

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900 years ago, the law imposed here was so harsh

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that to spoil the king's aim was treason.

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So where am I? Can't see the wood for the trees?

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Well, stick around and all will become clear.

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'Today, our retired ex-pat house hunters are swapping Cyprus

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'for the patchwork landscape of the great British countryside

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'and emotions are high for the big homecoming.'

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-Sorry, yeah, I am.

-You're choked up, aren't you?

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A country house with character is on the agenda.

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I don't believe that that is the house we're going to look at.

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-Over there, look.

-Struth. The size of that fireplace.

-Beautiful.

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'And they certainly sound like they're coming home for good.'

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I could easily live here.

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Today, I'm in Hampshire and this is the New Forest,

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named by William the Conqueror in 1079,

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not because it was a heavily wooded area

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but because forest was the legal term,

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meaning land the king had the right

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to keep deer, hunt and impose strict forest law to protect game.

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By the 13th century, a third of England came under forest law

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and here in the New Forest, nearly 1,000 years later,

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some of those laws still apply,

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which have helped shape this part of Hampshire,

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making it one of the most unique and diverse landscapes

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in the country.

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In the south of England, Hampshire is flanked by five counties,

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but it's the coastline that has given the county its long maritime history.

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Hampshire's name was taken from the original port of Hampton,

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which is now known as Southampton.

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Heading inland from the coast, 85% of the county is classed as rural

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and much of the countryside is devoted to grain production,

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dairy farming and market gardening.

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But it's the forest that has made this county famous.

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Known for its semi-feral ponies,

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the ancient woodland this is the New Forest

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makes up 15% of Hampshire

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and is nearly wholly owned by the Crown.

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However, the properties are owned by the common folk

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and reflect a rich thatching heritage,

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originating from 6th century Saxon settlements,

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a taste of history framed by the county's natural beauty.

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With its excellent road and rail links to London,

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Hampshire remains one of the most popular rural destinations

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for high-earning city folk in search of the good life.

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Combine demand with restricted development

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across the county's national parks

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and the result is premium house prices,

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25% above the national average.

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And if you choose to live within the New Forest itself,

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you'd be looking at up to 20% on top of that.

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So let's take a look at what's currently on the market county-wide.

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First up, this grade-II listed mid-terrace two-bedroomed thatch

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in St Mary Bourne is on the market for just under £250,000.

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The kitchen is compact but functional.

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The living space has traditional features

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and the rear garden has a glorious rural outlook.

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Further up the property ladder at £545,000,

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this two-bedroom period cottage is tucked away

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in a prime forest position near Godshill.

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Inside, there's a light and airy kitchen-diner

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and a spacious dual-aspect living room.

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And finally, situated in Lyndhurst, overlooking the New Forest,

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this 18th-century cottage is on the market at £800,000.

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The kitchen boasts the latest fittings.

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The five bedrooms are tastefully decorated

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and to the rear there's a large garden.

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So an excellent range of properties on offer here in Hampshire.

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But what are today's buyers after? Let's find out.

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Retired couple Ray and Sally left the UK for Cyprus in 2003.

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Seven years later, they're back in the UK,

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living in their Wokingham crash pad

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they bought before they became ex-pats.

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So, why have they returned?

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I will miss my sailing and some of the other things that I can do

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but, by the same token, I'm looking forward to coming here

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to do the things that I can't do in Cyprus.

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I miss the family. I love the grandchildren

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and I think we need time to come back and settle into a community

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that we choose.

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As avid gardeners,

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they've also the missed the green gardens and soft English soil.

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The garden in Cyprus is like concrete

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and to dig a hole, you have to start with a pickaxe

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just to get through the top layer.

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And it's the cool of the pastoral English countryside

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that has really pulled Ray and Sally back to Britain.

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'I've missed the greenery of the UK.'

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Coming back into land on our return from Cyprus,

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looking out of the window and seeing the patchwork quilt

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is lovely.

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And the New forest seems to be the quilt of choice.

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It's a lovely area. It's full of wildlife. We've walked there.

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I can go fishing.

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And it's a place where I would be more than happy

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for the grandchildren to visit.

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It's a wonderful location to live in or visit

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but what should the grandchildren expect when they arrive?

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The essentials for our next move are three bedrooms,

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a reasonable size kitchen, two reception rooms

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and a reasonable amount of outside space -

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a quarter of an acre or more.

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A unique feature that I would like to be able to achieve

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would be an inglenook fireplace or an open fireplace of character.

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An achievable list, then.

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To fund the move, Ray and Sally will be selling their Wokingham home,

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so what price can they expect from the sale?

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This is a well-presented, four-bedroom, detached family home

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set in a pleasant cul-de-sac location

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and because of its close proximity to local schools and shops

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and Wokingham train station,

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I would value this property at £410,000.

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Which leaves us with one last piece of the puzzle - the budget.

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If the property had everything to offer that we require,

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we could stretch to £650,000.

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After seven years in Cyprus,

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it seems there's no place like home for Ray and Sally.

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Now, £650,000 is a good budget for what they're looking for,

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a three-bedroom, detached character property.

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But this is a rather expensive county.

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Now, luckily, they're not prescriptive

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about wanting to live within the boundaries of the national park itself,

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so fingers crossed, we should be able to find them what they're looking for.

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We'll be fishing for fantastic homes around the New Forest region

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on the west side of the county,

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making sure they're within easy reach of the coast

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in case Ray fancies a sail on the nearby Solent.

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In all, we'll be showing Ray and Sally three properties

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but won't be giving away the price until the end of the tour.

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And then there's the mystery house,

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a property thrown into the mix that promises to challenge their idea

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of a dream home in the country.

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Ray and Sally, great to meet you and welcome to the New Forest.

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-Thank you.

-It's all about the two of you, this move.

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-Scary.

-Hopefully.

-No, that's the priority,

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finding you your home back in the UK.

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Yes. We don't have to choose a house based around the children's needs.

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-We're choosing one based around...

-Us.

-..our needs.

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And having had five children, that was a lot of needs in the past.

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-A lot of needs.

-But now there's only two.

-And a lot of house.

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-Yes.

-And a lot of money.

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Talking of money, £650,000 your top budget.

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Top budget 650, yes.

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Right, well, we've got some cracking homes lined up for you to see,

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-so shall we get started?

-We're looking forward to it.

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-Come on, then.

-Thank you.

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For a top budget of £650,000, Ray and Sally want three bedrooms,

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a good-sized country kitchen, two reception rooms

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and a feature fireplace.

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Finally, a large garden is a must,

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so they can pursue their favourite hobby.

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Having designed and built their own home in Cyprus,

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Ray in particular isn't afraid of making his own mark on the property.

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So if I find you the odd project, that won't throw you, will it?

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Not the odd project, no.

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It depends how odd it is.

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The first property does have room for improvement,

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so that's good news.

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We're heading to Woodgreen, an archetypal Hampshire village

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in the north-western corner of the New Forest district.

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Situated on the side of a gentle hill,

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the village is part of a conservation area

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and boasts far-reaching views across the heath, moor and woodland.

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And the free-range ponies won't be breaking any speed limits

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when they make their way casually through the village

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past the aptly named local pub.

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And my first offering is a perfect fit for this rural idyll.

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-So here is your first property.

-Right.

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-It's very pretty.

-Yes.

-It's very pretty.

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-It's a lovely cottage.

-Lovely cottage.

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-Are you getting the right feeling, Sally?

-Definitely.

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And... Sorry, yes, I am.

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-You're choked up, aren't you?

-This is a good start.

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-Do you want to hear a bit more about the cottage?

-Yes, please.

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1630, the original part of the house was built.

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It's grade-II listed

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but you've got extensions either side which are outside the listing.

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The main body of the house is grade-II listed.

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-Shall we start the tour?

-OK. I'd love to, yeah.

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Well, that may be a first.

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The property has really struck a chord with Sally

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but the tour must go on,

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so we're heading inside through a small entrance hall

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to the first of the two reception rooms.

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So after that reaction outside,

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what do you think as you step through into the house itself?

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A very good-sized room, full of beautiful features.

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Yes, this is a very nice room. A very nice room.

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-Two fireplaces.

-Yeah. You've got an inglenook here.

-Inglenook.

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Multi-fuel burner.

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And an open hearth at the other end.

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-All the character you would wish for.

-Lovely.

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Connected to the living area is a conservatory built in the 1970s

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and next door, there's a cosy dining room

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that leads to the heart of every home.

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-So here's the kitchen. It's a fair size.

-Right.

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-However, it probably does need an update.

-Yes.

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-Yes, I think it does.

-I would agree with that.

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But should you want a project, you could move this kitchen.

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-Move it?

-You could move it because next door, there's so much space.

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-OK...

-Oh!

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This extension was done more recently.

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So we've got a hallway and then you step... Come on through.

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-My goodness.

-A budgerigar. TWITTERING

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The budgerigar and the parrot are trying to sell the house.

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-Come on in, Ray.

-A huge area.

-Huge.

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-Right. A very nice-sized room.

-It is.

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-This is new?

-This is all new. This was done in the 1990s.

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-So this could be a fantastic kitchen come dining room.

-Yes.

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-It could.

-It could.

-It's got access out into the garden.

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-Let's head upstairs.

-OK.

-Right.

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The ground floor seems to have hit the spot.

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There's also a utility room, downstairs bathroom

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and the first of four bedrooms is also on this level.

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But we're heading upstairs to find out where Ray and Sally could park their slippers.

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It really is old in this part upstairs.

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-Ooh.

-You can feel it as you walk up the stairs.

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Wow. Yes.

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-Oh, it's lovely.

-It is. Very charming, isn't it?

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-Yes.

-So this is the master bedroom.

-OK.

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When I saw the outside of the house, I was a bit concerned about the upstairs.

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You though you might have a hunch by the end of it.

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But certainly this room, very nice indeed.

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-OK.

-Excellent.

-Good.

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Not a bad result for the inside, then.

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The rest of this level includes two more good-sized double bedrooms

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and a family bathroom

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but will the outside continue to impress?

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So, I was very keen to get you out here because you both love gardens

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-and here it is.

-We do.

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

-It is.

-Very, very nice.

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I was, perhaps, hoping for something a little larger

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but I appreciate there is land at the front

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and I'm sure we could grow at least a few vegetables in here.

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Well, there's something else I'm going to ask you now

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and that's how much do you think this house is currently on the market for?

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Go on, Ray. Start us off.

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-625.

-OK.

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-Sally?

-I would say 635.

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-Your top budget is 650,000.

-Correct.

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-The current asking price, £645,000.

-OK.

-OK.

-Mm-hm.

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-Surprised?

-No.

-Reactions?

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-I'm not surprised, not for where it is.

-I'm not surprised.

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-And for the character of the property.

-It has character.

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-It has most of the things we asked for.

-Yes.

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I'm just surprised because there are one or two things that need doing, that's all.

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-Why don't you have another wander around?

-OK.

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You can think about what those adjustments are

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and I'll catch up with you a little bit later.

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-OK.

-Thank you very much.

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A solid start for our first property.

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At just under budget at £645,000,

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the property offers four bedrooms,

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two reception rooms and a country kitchen.

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There is plenty of space in the garden

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but are they prepared to modify the interior?

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You are never going to find the perfect house,

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so you have to be prepared to make some alterations,

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-even if it's only decoration when you move into a new place.

-Yeah.

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When I first approached the house, I was in shock, a pleasant shock.

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I hadn't envisaged seeing anything so pretty.

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Well, what a great start to a tour

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but I wonder what they genuinely think about the inside?

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We'll have to wait and see.

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-Ready?

-Yes.

-Seen enough?

-Yes, sadly.

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Sadly? Oh, that's a good sign. She loves it.

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-Right, let's keep going.

-OK.

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Although the New Forest was owned by William the Conqueror,

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his presence in Hampshire extends much further

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than this ancient hunting ground.

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In between Portsmouth and Chichester

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and just 300 metres from the mainland,

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Hayling Island has a long, colourful history,

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shaped in part by England's first French king.

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Historian Robin Walton was on hand

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to tell Sally and Ray all about this remarkable little island.

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When William the Conqueror did his nasty business over here and took us over,

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he gave Hayling Island to the monks of the royal abbey at Jumieges in Normandy

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and one of the wonderful things that they did at the time

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-was they built a dovecote.

-Really?

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In those days, you didn't keep cattle for the winter

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because there were no turnips, there were no root vegetables,

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none of the things that they now feed cattle on.

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So if you were a special person, a lord or a lord of the manor, which the monks were,

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-every time you fancied a meat sandwich, you'd go out and decapitate a pigeon.

-Oh, right!

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So pigeons were cultivated for the pot.

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Pigeons were cultivated for the pot.

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Originally, it's thought there was a priory adjacent to the dovecote

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but in 1777, the Duke of Norfolk built an imposing manor house

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on the same site.

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In 1823, that house was sold, along with the entire island,

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to entrepreneur and prominent London lawyer William Padwick.

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Using Brighton and Bath as inspiration,

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Padwick wanted to turn Hayling into a tourist Mecca.

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He built an impressive crescent and a bridge

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but soon ran into financial trouble.

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Once he got going, everybody else sort of gradually faded away

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and William was left with this great scheme of his

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not quite coming to fruition.

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He died a bit of a disappointed man.

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And he built this bridge or the original bridge,

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which is a big span for the early 19th century.

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It is but these were ambitious men.

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But Padwick wasn't the only man of ambition on Hayling.

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Over a century later, one of the world's favourite water sports

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is said to have been invented right here in 1958.

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Well, there we are, then. Chichester Harbour.

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-This was the birthplace of windsurfing.

-Really?

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A chap called Peter Chilvers as a young boy of about 13 or 14

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was the first person ever to put a lump of wood onto the water,

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put up a post, put a sail on it and windsurf.

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The sailing club was also the headquarters

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of a Special Services group called COPP during World War II,

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Combined Operations Pilotage Parties.

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That was a group of very young men, 18, 19, 20, 21,

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and they operated throughout the world, recceing beaches

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before Allied invasions.

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Their most famous one was, of course, the Normandy invasion in 1944

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and they probably saved tens of thousands of Allied lives

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by ensuring that we weren't going into beaches

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which were unsuitable for landing craft, tanks and so forth.

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A wonderful group and it all started here

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at Hayling Island sailing club.

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Marvellous.

0:19:560:19:57

If that hasn't satisfied Ray's penchant for sailing,

0:19:580:20:02

then I do have a surprise for him later in the show.

0:20:020:20:05

But right now it's back to the New Forest

0:20:050:20:07

and on with the property hunt.

0:20:070:20:10

So we're heading to a hamlet near the town of Fordingbridge.

0:20:110:20:14

The stone and flint church listed in the Doomsday Book in 1086

0:20:150:20:19

reflects the town's long and often colourful history.

0:20:190:20:23

In the 18th century, a famous smuggler, Captain Diamond,

0:20:230:20:27

was said to have used the town as a base

0:20:270:20:29

but these days it's less about the black market,

0:20:290:20:32

with plenty of local shops to choose from.

0:20:320:20:34

The parks and gardens in the town are perfect

0:20:350:20:38

for when the grandchildren come to visit

0:20:380:20:40

and our next property has loads of space for any visiting relatives.

0:20:400:20:45

Sally, you said you were quite up for considering a modern property.

0:20:490:20:53

-I did, yes.

-And thinking modern, you don't have to lose character and charm.

0:20:530:20:57

They can come hand in hand

0:20:570:20:59

and this is your next property, which is indeed modern.

0:20:590:21:03

Yes, it's very different from the last one, from the outside.

0:21:030:21:07

-First impressions? I like it.

-Yeah?

-Yes.

0:21:070:21:11

-It was practically rebuilt in the 1990s.

-Uh-huh.

-OK.

0:21:110:21:16

-So shall we start the tour?

-Yes.

-Yes. I'm looking forward to it.

0:21:160:21:19

No tears from Sally this time

0:21:200:21:22

but they seem positive about the modern styling of the house.

0:21:220:21:26

-So you step into a nice big hallway.

-Yes.

-I like that.

0:21:310:21:37

It's very nice.

0:21:370:21:39

Let's hope you're impressed with the rest of the house.

0:21:390:21:42

-I'm sure we will be.

-Follow me through here.

-OK.

0:21:420:21:45

So here you have your dining room.

0:21:470:21:49

-What a good size!

-It's quite an impact, isn't it?

0:21:490:21:53

-That's a nice-sized room.

-It is a nice size.

0:21:530:21:55

Does this feel like a modern room to you

0:21:550:21:57

or does it feel like it's got plenty of character and could be any age?

0:21:570:22:01

-It still holds character.

-It still holds character, yes.

0:22:010:22:05

Let's see what you think of the next room.

0:22:050:22:07

Oh, look at that, Ray.

0:22:090:22:11

Love it.

0:22:110:22:13

-Oh, wow. Over there.

-Struth.

0:22:130:22:15

-The size of that fireplace.

-Beautiful.

0:22:150:22:17

-It's impressive, isn't it?

-Very.

0:22:170:22:19

That would be impressive in any house.

0:22:190:22:22

And what a lovely sized room.

0:22:220:22:24

-I could spend Christmas afternoon curled up in front of that.

-Yeah?

0:22:240:22:28

This is good.

0:22:280:22:30

Is that after you've washed up?

0:22:300:22:32

-No, the children wash up.

-Oh, right.

-On Christmas Day.

-Do they?

-The children wash up.

0:22:330:22:38

-Shall we have at look at where they're going to be washing up?

-That's a good idea.

0:22:380:22:42

Maybe the outside didn't quite have the impact of our first property

0:22:440:22:48

but the interior is really impressing Ray and Sally.

0:22:480:22:51

How does this kitchen fit a family of five children?

0:22:530:22:56

-That's perfect for you, Ray.

-I can see that.

0:22:560:22:59

-And room for a table again.

-Exactly.

0:22:590:23:03

So through those doors, you've got a very generous utility room,

0:23:030:23:08

beautifully fitted out - nearly the same standard as this kitchen -

0:23:080:23:12

-and a downstairs cloakroom.

-OK.

0:23:120:23:14

'But the living space doesn't end there.'

0:23:150:23:18

And you've got the added bonus of a conservatory,

0:23:190:23:23

so somewhere else where you can relax, entertain...

0:23:230:23:27

Very nice. Nice flow from there to out here. Very nice.

0:23:280:23:32

-The whole place has a nice flow at the moment.

-I like it.

0:23:330:23:36

-Sorry, Ray?

-I like it.

-I thought that was what you said.

0:23:360:23:39

I like it. I feel it's more comfortable.

0:23:390:23:44

'Heading upstairs, the space is as impressive as the downstairs.

0:23:460:23:51

'There are four bedrooms and a large family bathroom

0:23:510:23:54

'but we're making our way to the luxurious master suite.'

0:23:540:23:58

-So, generous rooms upstairs, as well.

-Oh, yes, very much so.

0:24:020:24:08

Again, a good-sized room.

0:24:080:24:11

-Now this is your master.

-OK.

0:24:110:24:14

-And you've just spotted the en suite.

-I have.

-There's an en suite, yes,

0:24:140:24:18

which is always helpful.

0:24:180:24:21

-Lovely. Very, very nice.

-Very nice.

0:24:210:24:23

Shall we check out the garden? After you, Ray.

0:24:230:24:26

Thank you very much.

0:24:260:24:28

'Outside, the terraced garden is beautifully maintained,

0:24:280:24:32

'perfect for our avid gardeners,

0:24:320:24:34

'but it's the mature willow that really gives the garden that finishing touch.'

0:24:340:24:39

-So here is your garden, complete with willow tree.

-OK.

0:24:390:24:44

-How attractive does that property look?

-It looks very nice.

0:24:440:24:47

I think this fits the bill,

0:24:470:24:49

as far as I'm concerned, much better than the last one, yes.

0:24:490:24:54

-Good.

-I like it.

-You like it, I know.

-I do.

0:24:540:24:57

So I have had very positive vibes from you both about this property.

0:24:570:25:02

Let's see if the price matches.

0:25:020:25:05

How much do you think this house is currently on the market for?

0:25:050:25:08

-Who wants to go first? Your turn, Sally?

-It's my turn.

0:25:080:25:11

Well, learning now and what I know now and there isn't a garage...

0:25:110:25:18

625.

0:25:180:25:20

OK. Yeah. Ray?

0:25:200:25:22

I would say because of the greater accommodation inside and out,

0:25:220:25:28

-I will go for 650.

-OK.

0:25:280:25:31

-Sally, you're right on the money.

-Yes.

-£625,000.

0:25:310:25:38

-Wow.

-So, if you decided to buy this property,

0:25:380:25:43

you've still got £25,000 left in your budget

0:25:430:25:46

-for a fantastic garage.

-Yes.

0:25:460:25:48

-So go and take a second look...

-OK.

0:25:480:25:50

-..and I'll catch up with you in a little while.

-OK, lovely.

0:25:500:25:54

And I thought the first property hit the mark.

0:25:580:26:00

Clearly, this house is going to be hard to beat

0:26:000:26:03

and it's well under budget, at £625,000.

0:26:030:26:07

The property boasts four bedrooms, a large modern kitchen,

0:26:070:26:11

the spacious living area comes complete with a feature fireplace

0:26:110:26:15

and the garden is a real hit with Ray.

0:26:150:26:18

This is what I was thinking of.

0:26:190:26:21

There's plenty of space here for me to do what I want to do,

0:26:210:26:26

to make a vegetable garden or whatever.

0:26:260:26:28

Walking through this door into that nice entrance hall,

0:26:280:26:32

I had a very good feeling.

0:26:320:26:35

I could easily live here.

0:26:350:26:38

This is the sort of house

0:26:380:26:42

in which I think we would be very comfortable.

0:26:420:26:45

Two very different properties and two fantastic reactions.

0:26:450:26:50

-OK?

-Yes, thank you.

-Ready?

-Yes, ready.

-Good.

0:26:520:26:55

As the sun settles behind the New Forest,

0:27:060:27:09

Ray and Sally have plenty to consider.

0:27:090:27:12

Today's house-hunters are ex-pats coming back to the fold.

0:27:170:27:21

Keen gardeners, they're after a detached period property

0:27:210:27:25

-with loads of outside space.

-This is what I was thinking of.

0:27:250:27:29

But what will they make of our very attached mystery house?

0:27:290:27:33

Open-minded and open to making compromises, maybe.

0:27:330:27:38

Yesterday, we saw two very different houses,

0:27:410:27:45

both of which would make the perfect escape to the country for Ray and Sally.

0:27:450:27:49

But I wonder what they'll make of our mystery house?

0:27:490:27:52

Let's find out.

0:27:520:27:54

Our mystery property today lies east of the New Forest's district borders,

0:27:590:28:04

in Warsash, a village with a long maritime history.

0:28:040:28:07

By the time of the French wars in the late 1700s,

0:28:070:28:11

the ship-building industry was developing here

0:28:110:28:13

and has since given the town much of its personality.

0:28:130:28:17

The location should appeal to Ray, as he enjoys getting out on the water.

0:28:170:28:22

And for the landlubber,

0:28:220:28:24

there's a variety of independent shops and public houses to enjoy.

0:28:240:28:28

With views over the water and just a short stroll to the sailing club,

0:28:280:28:33

today's mystery property is a real change of tack from our previous properties.

0:28:330:28:37

OK. I don't believe that that is the house we're going to look at.

0:28:400:28:46

-It is the mystery property, you two.

-OK.

0:28:470:28:50

I've brought you to something a little bit different.

0:28:500:28:53

All of it or some of it?

0:28:530:28:55

-Some of it.

-Some of it. OK.

0:28:550:28:58

So don't worry about the cleaning. You haven't got to do...

0:28:580:29:01

-Quite hard going, yes.

-OK.

-So it is part of it.

0:29:010:29:06

Originally the house was built in 1910 for Sir Warden Chilcott MP.

0:29:060:29:11

-Right.

-Right.

0:29:110:29:12

-It was used during the war, so injured servicemen stayed here.

-OK.

0:29:120:29:16

But about 13 years ago, it was completely refurbished,

0:29:160:29:19

brought back to its original splendour

0:29:190:29:22

and turned into houses.

0:29:220:29:23

-There's three houses within this property.

-Oh, OK.

-Lovely.

0:29:230:29:26

So, Ray, being a very keen sailor, this is a fantastic spot, isn't it?

0:29:260:29:32

Well, it is. There's the Solent there.

0:29:320:29:36

There's Hamble with all its marinas. There's Cowes just across the water.

0:29:360:29:42

It's the centre for yachting in the south of England.

0:29:420:29:45

Very different, I'm sure, from what you've been thinking of buying.

0:29:450:29:50

Let's see if this mystery house can work its magic on the both of you.

0:29:500:29:53

-Come on.

-Let's hope so.

-Thank you.

0:29:530:29:55

'It's a great location

0:29:570:30:00

'but it will be interesting to see how this Victorian conversion rates

0:30:000:30:04

'against the previous detached properties.'

0:30:040:30:06

-So, come on through.

-Thank you.

0:30:070:30:11

SHE GASPS

0:30:110:30:13

-Isn't that beautiful?

-What a lovely staircase.

0:30:130:30:16

It's really ornate. You can see that's one of the original features from when this house was built.

0:30:160:30:21

It's lovely.

0:30:210:30:23

-Let's continue through.

-OK.

0:30:230:30:25

-So how's this for a sitting room?

-It's a lovely sized room.

0:30:270:30:30

Yes, that's a lovely room.

0:30:300:30:32

Lovely light.

0:30:320:30:34

Views across the water and the gardens, which are quite extensive.

0:30:340:30:38

Apparently, this house had the most amazing parties

0:30:380:30:42

when the MP owned it.

0:30:420:30:43

-Sir Winston Churchill himself stayed here.

-Really?

-Really?

0:30:430:30:47

-Shall we see your kitchen?

-Yes, please.

-OK. Through here.

0:30:470:30:51

-So this is very much the galley-style kitchen.

-Yes.

0:30:550:30:59

So two sections. You've got the sink down there,

0:30:590:31:02

-loads of storage space and you've got the hob up here.

-Right.

0:31:020:31:06

I can see you're taking it all in.

0:31:060:31:09

I had set my heart on a big kitchen

0:31:090:31:12

-but we'll see as we move on through.

-Yes. Open-minded.

0:31:120:31:17

Open-minded and open to making compromises, maybe.

0:31:170:31:20

'Sally has the right idea

0:31:220:31:24

'because if it's space she's after, there'll be no need to compromise

0:31:240:31:28

'with the three bedrooms on the next two levels.'

0:31:280:31:31

-An impressive landing.

-Very. Large area.

-Very impressive.

0:31:330:31:38

Nice.

0:31:380:31:39

And here's the master bedroom.

0:31:390:31:41

-OK. That's a good size.

-It is a good size.

0:31:410:31:45

-En suite.

-Large en suite

0:31:450:31:47

-and you've also got a walk-in wardrobe just round the corner.

-OK.

-Lovely.

0:31:470:31:52

If you've got the luxury of space, with the walk-in wardrobe, it does make a difference.

0:31:520:31:57

-It does, a huge difference.

-It does.

0:31:570:31:59

-We're going to head upstairs to the third floor.

-OK.

0:31:590:32:02

After you, Ray.

0:32:020:32:04

On this level, there's also another large double bedroom

0:32:070:32:10

and a family bathroom

0:32:100:32:11

but on the second floor, there's another option for a master suite,

0:32:110:32:15

a real room with a view.

0:32:150:32:18

So here we are at the top of the house

0:32:180:32:21

and the top of the house benefits from this amazing view.

0:32:210:32:26

-Oh! Oh, wow.

-Lovely.

0:32:260:32:29

-Right across the water.

-Yes, it's lovely.

0:32:290:32:32

-The current owner uses this as his study.

-Yes.

-Yes.

0:32:320:32:36

He said the disadvantage of being up here is...

0:32:360:32:39

-That he doesn't get a lot done.

-You just gaze out over there every day.

0:32:390:32:43

-It's also got an en suite, just round the corner.

-Really?

0:32:430:32:47

So out of the three bedrooms, two of them are en suite.

0:32:470:32:51

So this, I think, could be a fantastic master bedroom.

0:32:510:32:55

-You've certainly got the space.

-You've certainly got the space.

0:32:550:32:58

-It's worth moving upstairs for, isn't it, the view?

-Yeah.

0:32:580:33:02

Yes, yes, it's lovely.

0:33:020:33:04

'The views over the garden are incredible,

0:33:040:33:08

'so we're heading down to take a closer look

0:33:080:33:10

'and where Ray and Sally are likely to be spending a fair amount of their time.'

0:33:100:33:15

-So here's the garden. It's around an acre in size.

-OK.

0:33:170:33:22

It's not all yours. The residents of the house actually share this garden.

0:33:220:33:28

-OK.

-I think I can see a big smile on your face.

0:33:280:33:32

-It's a lovely view and it's nice to see the yachts and the boats.

-Yeah.

0:33:320:33:38

It makes for interest.

0:33:380:33:40

The question is, how much do you think it's on the market for?

0:33:400:33:44

-I am going to go for 620.

-OK.

0:33:440:33:50

I would say 650.

0:33:500:33:52

I think Sally's going to have another career as an estate agent.

0:33:530:33:57

-Oh, no, really?

-You're absolutely on the money again.

0:33:570:34:01

-The asking price is £650,000.

-Right.

0:34:010:34:05

-It is luxury.

-It doesn't surprise me.

0:34:050:34:08

Luxury and prime location.

0:34:080:34:10

So why don't you wander round the grounds

0:34:100:34:12

-and then pop back in and have another look around?

-OK.

-Thank you.

0:34:120:34:15

Thank you.

0:34:150:34:17

With excellent proximity to the water,

0:34:170:34:20

today's mystery house has certainly given Ray food for thought.

0:34:200:34:24

At the top of their budget at £650,000,

0:34:240:34:27

this Victorian conversion offers three good-sized double bedrooms,

0:34:270:34:32

an impressive living space and a large communal garden.

0:34:320:34:36

The views over the River Hamble are a real selling point

0:34:360:34:39

but will the whole concept be too much for the couple

0:34:390:34:42

that said they wanted a detached home?

0:34:420:34:45

It's a lovely apartment in a beautiful building

0:34:450:34:51

in a beautiful setting.

0:34:510:34:54

The only thing for me is the size of the kitchen.

0:34:540:34:57

-I don't know.

-I think that is a problem.

0:34:570:35:00

I think it's... it's too small.

0:35:000:35:04

The location for Ray is marvellous.

0:35:040:35:08

The room sizes are good.

0:35:080:35:11

I'm just not sure that it's quite me.

0:35:110:35:15

-OK, the both of you?

-Yes, thank you.

-Yes, lovely, thank you.

0:35:170:35:21

-So that mystery house has got you thinking, hasn't it?

-It has.

0:35:210:35:24

You thought yesterday was complicated!

0:35:240:35:26

-Let's take you somewhere quiet and you can make some decisions.

-Thank you.

0:35:260:35:31

'The famous ponies and other livestock that wander through the New Forest

0:35:410:35:45

'are actually the property of local people

0:35:450:35:48

'who enjoy traditional grazing rights.

0:35:480:35:50

'Known as New Forest common rights,

0:35:500:35:52

'the law was introduced by William the Conqueror.

0:35:520:35:56

'These rights today are taken up by approximately 500 people,

0:35:560:35:59

'known as commoners.

0:35:590:36:01

'For a nominal fee, they have the legal right to graze livestock

0:36:010:36:04

'in the 45,000 acres of open forest.

0:36:040:36:08

'Although the skills needed to practise the art of commoning are centuries old,

0:36:090:36:14

'they are in danger of being lost,

0:36:140:36:16

'so I'm meeting Rachel Bailey from Natural England

0:36:160:36:19

'to find out more about commoning

0:36:190:36:21

'and why it's so important to keep this tradition alive.'

0:36:210:36:25

So, Rachel, being here in the New Forest,

0:36:260:36:28

you have pictures of the ponies and the cattle grazing

0:36:280:36:31

and I always thought they were wild but that's not the case, is it?

0:36:310:36:35

No. All the ponies and the cattle that you see in the New Forest

0:36:350:36:38

are owned by somebody and we refer to them as commoners.

0:36:380:36:41

They're not actually common people,

0:36:410:36:43

they're people with rights to graze their animals on the common,

0:36:430:36:46

rights are associated with the properties they live in.

0:36:460:36:49

So why do we need animals grazing in the New Forest?

0:36:490:36:53

Why is it so important?

0:36:530:36:55

Well, without those animals, all of the heathland and the grassland

0:36:550:36:59

and the pasture woodland you've seen today,

0:36:590:37:01

those habitats that are of international importance would scrub up

0:37:010:37:05

and turn to sort of unkempt woodland

0:37:050:37:08

which is of much less biological and landscape importance.

0:37:080:37:12

Even though the forest supports the animals in the summer months,

0:37:140:37:17

private land is required by the commoners

0:37:170:37:20

to house the animals in winter.

0:37:200:37:22

But prohibitively high property prices

0:37:220:37:24

and the labour-intensive nature of commoning

0:37:240:37:27

have put many young people off.

0:37:270:37:28

Today, most commoners are in their sixties and seventies,

0:37:280:37:32

so a £60 million conservation agreement is underway,

0:37:320:37:36

to encourage the younger generation to take up the baton.

0:37:360:37:40

It looks idyllic on the ground - the ponies and cows look happy -

0:37:400:37:44

but it takes an awful lot of work to keep them that way

0:37:440:37:47

and it's really important to find ways

0:37:470:37:49

in which to support that next generation to continue it.

0:37:490:37:53

So it really is an investment,

0:37:530:37:55

getting the younger generation through

0:37:550:37:58

-to preserve what we see today.

-Very much so.

0:37:580:38:00

It's really important to preserve this special place for the future.

0:38:000:38:04

'Head of the Young Commoners association, Lyndsey Stride,

0:38:040:38:08

'understands first hand how much hard work is needed

0:38:080:38:12

'and important this tradition is to the ecosystem.

0:38:120:38:15

'By day, Lyndsey is a teacher

0:38:150:38:18

'and most of her time away from teaching

0:38:180:38:20

'is spent maintaining her animals.'

0:38:200:38:22

-You just pour it in.

-Are they hungry?

-Very hungry. They've been waiting.

0:38:250:38:29

So when will these be released into the forest?

0:38:360:38:39

The pannage season starts in the middle of September.

0:38:390:38:42

-And pannage is?

-The season when pigs are allowed out in the forest.

0:38:420:38:46

We want the pigs to go out and eat the acorns

0:38:460:38:49

because acorns are poisonous for ponies and cattle.

0:38:490:38:52

So there's a logic to everything that happens in the forest.

0:38:520:38:56

Absolutely. It's a really holistic system.

0:38:560:38:58

And what do you get out of it? It's not just feeding cute piglets, is it?

0:38:580:39:03

There's something wonderful about going out for a walk in the forest

0:39:030:39:07

and feeling part of it,

0:39:070:39:09

knowing that our actions are part of creating the landscape.

0:39:090:39:14

And New Forest ponies and cattle, so commoners' stock,

0:39:140:39:19

are known as the architects of the forest

0:39:190:39:21

and that means that they've shaped it

0:39:210:39:23

and because we're the owners of those animals, we're part of that, too.

0:39:230:39:27

Well, Lyndsey, thank you so much

0:39:270:39:29

and may the young commoners keep the tradition alive.

0:39:290:39:32

-Let's hope so.

-Thank you.

0:39:320:39:34

Well, our property search is over and I think it went pretty well.

0:39:390:39:44

Now it's time to find out what Ray and Sally think.

0:39:440:39:47

Well, guys, have you had a good few days?

0:39:540:39:58

-We have, I think.

-We've really enjoyed it, yes.

0:39:580:40:01

Now, the very first property that we saw

0:40:010:40:04

was in a beautiful village called Woodgreen

0:40:040:40:06

and I don't think that I've ever had a reaction like it, Sally.

0:40:060:40:11

Yes. It was everything that I'd always imagined.

0:40:110:40:15

It was a house that had so much potential.

0:40:150:40:18

You really could make that your own, couldn't you?

0:40:180:40:21

It would have required quite a lot of work

0:40:210:40:24

to actually achieve what we would have liked to achieve

0:40:240:40:28

-for us inside.

-You could see the potential.

0:40:280:40:32

The potential was there.

0:40:320:40:35

Now, from there we travelled to a little hamlet outside Fordingbridge

0:40:350:40:39

and saw a completely different type of property.

0:40:390:40:42

It was actually a new build.

0:40:420:40:44

-To find period features inside a modern property...

-Yeah.

0:40:440:40:49

..gave it, I think, a wow factor

0:40:490:40:52

that we really didn't expect.

0:40:520:40:55

-It ticked every box that we were hoping for.

-Yes.

0:40:550:41:00

Maybe except one but it could be easily remedied.

0:41:000:41:03

It didn't have a garage at all, which I would like.

0:41:030:41:08

But there was plenty of space available to build a garage,

0:41:080:41:13

which is a relatively simple thing to do.

0:41:130:41:15

Now, we can't forget our mystery house.

0:41:150:41:18

It was quite a drive, about half an hour from the New Forest

0:41:180:41:22

and, well, a completely different type of property again,

0:41:220:41:26

something, perhaps, that you might not have considered.

0:41:260:41:29

What can I say? A curve ball of epic proportions.

0:41:290:41:34

It was a lovely apartment

0:41:340:41:37

but the kitchen, unfortunately, was a galley kitchen,

0:41:370:41:44

and, fond as I am of sailing, it's a little unfair

0:41:440:41:49

-to ask Sally to be in a galley...

-Permanently.

-..on-shore

0:41:490:41:52

and at sea.

0:41:520:41:54

So having seen the three properties that we selected for you,

0:41:540:41:58

what's going to be your next move?

0:41:580:42:00

We have actually decided to have a drive around the second property,

0:42:000:42:04

-the area.

-Really?

-Yes.

0:42:040:42:06

To learn a bit more and go from there, I think.

0:42:060:42:10

I think we're both agreed that we could well put in an offer.

0:42:100:42:14

Well, it sounds like we've got really close

0:42:140:42:18

and I'm particularly pleased

0:42:180:42:20

that we're helping to tempt you back to this country

0:42:200:42:23

for a new life together in Hampshire.

0:42:230:42:25

I think you've managed to do that successfully

0:42:250:42:29

and we're really looking forward to the next stage in our lives.

0:42:290:42:33

-Well, I hope it goes really well for you both.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:42:330:42:36

After seven years away, Ray and Sally are ready to return to the UK

0:42:400:42:46

and find a new house in the country.

0:42:460:42:49

Now we showed them three very different properties

0:42:490:42:52

and I truly believe they're now a step closer

0:42:520:42:55

to finding that perfect home here in the New Forest.

0:42:550:42:59

We wish them all the best.

0:42:590:43:01

Join us next time on Escape To The Country.

0:43:010:43:04

If you'd like to Escape To The Country

0:43:050:43:07

in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland or England

0:43:070:43:10

and need our help, please apply on-line at:

0:43:100:43:17

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:360:43:38

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:380:43:40

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.


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