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Today I'm in a county that's home to one of the UK's least known but most traditional country sports,
hound trailing. It's been taking place on these hills
for around 200 years, and, just like our house-hunt,
this race is off!
In today's show, I'll be helping a couple move back to their homeland,
but can we meet their grand aspirations?
Yeah, it's a good size. I could go even bigger.
Is this big enough for you? It's big enough for me.
'And will the mystery house suit their style?'
They got their wallpaper from the same place I got my shirt from!
I'm in Cumbria, a county renowned for its incredible scenery
but also home to dogs like Hunter's Dazzler here,
who, on most days between April and October,
can be found hound trailing. The sport is a legacy
to the days when hunting dogs would be exercised during the off season,
but nowadays it's as much an event in itself,
and it's almost exclusive to the Cumbrian fells.
At these meets there's a real sense of local identity,
and that's a feeling that can be found
in almost every corner of this most spectacular of counties.
Cumbria is the most north-westerly of England's counties,
and is bordered to the north by Scotland.
Its dramatic mountainous terrain and 16 major lakes
fall within the Lake District National Park,
which covers over 880 square miles of the county.
The scenic splendour that inspired the likes of William Wordsworth
and Beatrix Potter continues to attract a high volume of day trippers in the peak season,
drawn for the most part to lakeside towns such as Windermere.
Yet the remote fells and quiet Lakeland villages
are an irresistible option for many aspiring escapees.
Wordsworth's home county could entice anyone,
and today's buyers are swapping tulips for the hosts of golden daffodils.
So let's meet them!
Rhys and Angela have spent the last ten years
working in the Netherlands for an oil company,
but have recently decided to make a permanent move back to the UK,
and are biding their time renting a five-bedroom house in the Wirral.
Their three children are a key factor in why they've opted for the Lakes.
We'd really like to be within about an hour's drive of Sedbergh,
where our two elder children have just started boarding school.
'Ideally I'd like to be in the Lake District side,
'because I'm a very keen hill-walker.
If we had a place in the Lake District,
we could spend more time with the children at weekends and holidays.
Having lived in seven houses during their marriage,
what kind of property is going to persuade them to finally put down roots?
My ideal property would be a large Edwardian/Victorian-type house
that had an impressive hallway when you walk through the door
but was also warm and welcoming, and a family feel to the house.
We're open to absolutely everything -
old houses, listed buildings, bespoke architectural designed houses.
So what specific requests are on their wish list?
We would really like a house that's got at least three reception rooms.
Also we need one study that we can share,
because we both work at home at least part of the time.
'For me, I'd like to have a large kitchen,
'and to be able to eat in the kitchen
'would be a really essential item for me.'
We're really looking for five bedrooms at least.
We're looking for a garden to be an interesting garden,
maybe on different levels, lots of trees, shrubbery,
so really, you know, not a square piece of land,
but looking up to about an acre.
And finding the right location is going to be a real balancing act.
We're looking for a location that's either in a small rural village,
or it could be on the outskirts, because I'd like the opportunity
to walk into the village.
We're really not looking for a tourist destination
that, in the summertime, is inundated.
So we're looking for an authentic village.
To finance the move, they need to sell their house in the Netherlands
or a property they currently rent out in Buckinghamshire.
With that in mind, how much do they have to spend?
We're looking at a budget of about ?900,000,
but we don't necessarily have to spend all of that.
It's more important to us that we get a house that meets our criteria,
so let's say, for instance, ?750,000,
and then maybe use the remainder of the budget to renovate or change the house.
After years of following their work around the world,
Rhys and Angela are waving goodbye to the windmills
and heading back to the UK with their three children
to find a real family home. Since they've lived abroad for so long,
they really want to find a community they can get involved in.
All of that's doable with their healthy budget,
but, with the children already enrolled in school,
the question is, can we find that perfect house within an hour's drive,
and is there a property out there that could help them to end their nomadic ways?
Let's find out.
Rhys and Angela's search area hinges on being within an hour's drive
of their children's school, which lies 30 miles from Kendal.
So we'll be focusing our search in the south of Cumbria,
within close range of the Lakes.
We'll be showing them three properties that might fit the bill,
but I won't reveal the prices until they've had a guess first.
And there's more to our mystery house than meets the eye.
Rhys and Angela, thank you very much for bringing me to the Lakes.
So why have you chosen here? I've always loved the Lakes,
ever since I was in the Scouts as a boy and started hill-walking,
and that began my passion for hill-walking.
How important is location for you, proximity to the school?
The children come home at the weekends,
so we don't want a huge drive to go back and forth to school.
It would be great to be really close. Certainly within an hour.
And apart from location, how far are you willing to go
to get the dream home? Would you do some work?
Do some work. The house we had in the Netherlands we did renovate.
But it wasn't structural renovation. How flexible are we on the price?
How much money have we got to play with?
We're looking to spend probably up to 900,000.
Maybe a little less, maybe a little more.
Really it's more important getting the right property.
And that's what we're here to help you with.
We've got, as ever, fantastic properties,
a mystery house as well. We've got the Lakes to take in.
I say we get in the car and get going. Good idea.
Angela and Rhys are happy to spend from ?750,000 to ?900,000
on a grand period property with three reception rooms,
a large kitchen/dining room, five bedrooms along with a study,
and outside, they'd like a one-acre garden.
It must located within an hour's drive of their children's school,
and have amenities close by.
We kick off our property search on the outskirts of Ulverston,
under an hour from their children's school.
It's a thriving market town with all the amenities they could ask for,
and it's the birthplace of luminaries Stan Laurel and Sir John Barrow,
a founding member of the Royal Geographical Society,
whose commemorative monument overlooks the town.
A mile away from the centre, we find our first house.
So, property number one, and we've brought you up here
just to the south of the Lakes.
And this is the house.
So, what do you think?
Yeah. Um, I quite like the look of the house.
It's the sort of thing we're looking for, countryside, cottagey.
Property-wise, this property dates back to the 16th century,
but it's not listed. In fact it's been extended quite a bit.
So it's a sizeable property, and when you get inside,
I think you'll understand why we wanted to show it to you,
and then you'll be able to take everything into consideration.
Let's go. OK. Let's have a look inside.
'Although the farmhouse has 16th-century origins,
'it's been totally refurbished inside.'
Entrance hallway. OK.
Very impressive. It's quite a big one, isn't it?
I like the beams. Yeah. I like the height.
Lots of this is reclaimed materials, reclaimed from old ships.
It's a ship mast up there.
Step on in! OK. Thank you.
Yeah. It's really light. That's the first thing that strikes me,
and it's got windows all the way around the room,
which is really nice.
Yeah. And it's...it's big.
Indeed. And the fireplace and the split level are excellent features.
So this could work.
Yeah, it's good. It's good. OK, we're on a roll.
Let's go see the kitchen.
I think this might be another surprise for you.
Oh, right! Mmm!
What do you think of the size?
Er, yeah. It's good. Yeah, it's a good size.
I could go even bigger.
Angela! I think this is a pretty big kitchen.
Really, you'd want it even bigger? Yeah, if I was going to eat in it.
How do you feel, Rhys?
I love the feel of the floor. I like the Aga.
There is planning permission already to extend that way,
a two-storey extension. OK.
Let's have a look upstairs now, and then you can make your mind up.
All right. Good.
Tucked away off the kitchen, there's a handy utility room
and a well-decorated guest bedroom, one of five this property offers,
with its own en suite.
The impeccable interior of our traditional farmhouse
seems to get a thumbs-up, but as Angela is still after more space,
I have high hopes that the size of the master upstairs will deliver.
Is this big enough for you?
Big enough for me, yeah. This is a good-sized master.
Huge bed. You've got a walk-in wardrobe there.
OK. Very good. and a lovely en suite... Indeed. ..which is quite big,
with roll-top bath, separate shower.
A fantastic view. Look at that, yeah.
That is a really good view.
Well, there are three others up here.
Let's have a look at the one on the other end of the landing. Excellent.
Leading off the landing are two bedrooms,
one large enough to be a double, with the other currently set up as a study.
And the roll-top bath in the family bathroom is a real showstopper.
So you have another very big bedroom over this side.
OK. Yeah. With an en suite yet again.
The problem would be that the children would fight over this.
I was going to ask. Because you've got the smaller ones,
it would be who would get this. Yeah. Yeah.
'Maybe the potential two-storey extension could solve that issue.
'Outside, the double garage also has planning permission,
'and could be converted to serve as their office.
'The raised patio and gardens look out over the wonderful countryside
'and two and a half acres of paddock.'
We're standing now in what really is your garden.
The time has come to tell me how much you think this house is on the market for.
I'd say 600, 625,
so I'll go for the 625.
I would say... I'd go with the 600, actually.
OK. I'm impressed.
That's very good, considering you've been out of the market.
It's on at 599,500. Oh, OK. Yeah.
So it's quite a way under your top budget.
True. True. Sets the scene for you. Indeed it does!
Priced at just under ?600,000,
our substantial farmhouse addresses many of the criteria
on their wish list, and gives them a huge reception room,
a large kitchen/diner, five bedrooms
with planning for a two-storey extension,
and scope for converting the garage into an office,
and it's all set in two and a half acres
and located within an hour's drive of their children's school.
I could stand here all day, but we've got to go. OK! Let's go.
I couldn't pass up the chance to catch the end
of one of Cumbria's oldest sporting traditions, hound-trailing.
Dating back to the 1800s, this is a sport with humane bait.
So to find out more, I went to Bower House in Eskdale
to meet Maurice Bewley, who's been out laying race trails
since he was a young boy.
So, what have you got in your hand there, Maurice?
Right. This is the official rag. It's got to be two foot long,
six inches wide, made of wool.
And that is steeped with aniseed and paraffin.
And it still relies on local farmers and landowners
to give up their land for the sport?
Otherwise we have no sport.
There are stringent rules around hound-trailing
that start with the rag mixture, which has to be formulated by an appointed chemist,
and the people entering their specially bred hounds
need to be registered with the Hound Trail Association.
Typically, at a day's meeting,
there will be a series of trail races,
including a five-mile course for the under-twos,
which takes them 15 to 20 minutes, and a ten-mile trail
which the senior hounds complete in around half an hour.
Amazingly, these hounds can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour,
with the best not being deterred by rabbit scents
or even pausing for a drink.
WHISTLING Oh, and now the whistling starts.
What's all this about? That's to encourage the dogs on the finish,
and then, when they get over to their owners,
they get a treat. It could be chicken, rabbit,
'This sport is a prime example of a surviving tradition
'that continues to define the Cumbrian countryside.'
As the sun sets over the Lakes,
it marks the end of the first day of our property search.
I think we got off to a positive start with Angela and Rhys,
but two things have become very clear - they need a bigger property,
and after so long away,
they really do want to be in the heart of a community.
And that's what we're going to address today.
With location firmly in mind,
we're continuing our house search in Ravenstonedale,
just a 15-minute drive from their children's school
and close to the National Park.
Along with St Oswald's church, dating back to the 18th century,
the village has a local pub and its own shop.
Among the period properties dotted about is our next house,
located on the edge of the village.
And this is property number two.
Oh, this is very nice. Yeah. Really like the look of this one.
Ah! It's a Georgian property.
It dates back to 1820, but actually,
it was taken over by a very wealthy landowner around about 1890,
and he added lots of Victorian features
which you'll really appreciate once you get inside.
So far, so good? It's looking good. Indeed.
All right. Let's have a look inside. OK. Good.
'One of the later Victorian additions
'is the attached coach house to the rear,
'which is now a separate property.
'But let's see if the inside makes a grand impression.'
We've entered the house probably what feels like a strange way,
but from that side you could see that the property's attached.
You probably picked up that it's a bed-and-breakfast at the moment.
We have walked into what is the guest living room at the moment,
and this is the third of the reception rooms. OK.
You do get three reception rooms with this property.
How are you feeling so far? Good. Good.
'These Victorian safes used to hold the estate's deeds
'back in the 1890s, and really set the tone
'for the grand interior.
'The main drawing room has lots of character,
'with a splendid fireplace as the focal point,
'and the third reception room serves up similar grandeur.'
Yeah. That's a... It is a big room.
I love this. I love the floor, again, the decor and the features.
Um... Look at that fireplace!
That one's even better than the other room.
So, you've seen three good-size reception rooms.
Tick-tick-tick, Rhys? Yep.
Kitchen. I know we have issues about the size of kitchen.
Let's see if this one's big enough for you, Angela. After me.
Yeah. No, yeah. This is... This is a great kitchen.
I don't think it's much bigger than the one I showed you yesterday.
It feels bigger,
so maybe that's to do with the decor.
It feels very homely.
Well, we'll head upstairs
and see if we can continue that feeling with the bedrooms.
'The lower floor gives them a cellar currently fitted with a mini-gym,
'along with the workshop. But we'll head upstairs
'to the main landing, off which lead five of the six bedrooms
'this property offers.'
Right. This is a fine example, I think,
of one of the bedrooms up here. Great-size double.
And that - I mean, they call it an en suite,
but it's huge. Poke your heads in. Have a look.
Oh, right! Great. I love these kind of baths.
Never had one. Always wanted one. It's a really big bathroom.
'Their children won't need to fight for a big room,
'as the remaining ones are just as generous.
'There's a double which makes a real feature of its bay window,
'and has the benefit of its own en suite,
'and another double room served by its own bathroom.
'A period fireplace and high ceiling are a feature of the fourth,
'with the family bathroom next door. They'll be pleased with the fifth,
'set up as a study for two.
'But we'll go upstairs again to the second floor,
'which could be their domain.'
This could be your bedroom.
Oh, wow! This could. This is a big room.
This is a big room. I like this, cos it's unusual. Definitely.
You're sort of self-contained, aren't you, up here?
Now time to go out and check out the beloved gardens. OK.
I'm going to try and please you. I'm easily pleased.
I don't know about that. You're a tough cookie. Come on.
'It's exciting that this property so far seems to fit the bill.
'And outside shouldn't disappoint,
'with gardens that stretch to two acres.'
You wanted a garden with features. What do you think, Rhys?
Is this what you were looking for? Exactly what I was looking for.
It's the right size, it's the right feel. It's great!
How much do you think you'd have to pay to get all of that?
I would have thought it's in the area, maybe lower, of 800,000-ish.
I'm going to go a bit lower and say 750.
You could get your hands on this property
It's a big house. That is a lot of house for that money.
And a lot of land. Shocked you?
THEY LAUGH I'm shocked!
Comfortably under their budget at just shy of ?700,000,
this country house would give them the ultimate family home -
three reception rooms packed with period features,
an enormous kitchen/diner,
six bedrooms, five of which are en suite,
and two acres of mature gardens, all set in a village location
within easy reach of their children's school.
Hello! Hi. I've counted.
It's about 25 paces from here to the pub.
That's not bad, is it? No, that's really good! Come on.
We've got one more house to see. OK. OK.
So far on our property search,
we haven't got that close to the Lakes,
and after all, that is why Rhys and Angela want to move to this part of the world.
So for our mystery house, we're coming right to the heart
of the National Park, but the property may take some vision.
For our mystery house, we're taking them right into the National Park
to the village of Satterthwaite, just a 45-minute drive
to their children's school. Set in the Grizedale Valley,
there's a welcome pint on tap in the local pub,
and a parish church which dates back to the 16th century.
In the heart of this typical Lakeland setting,
our mystery house comes in the form of a handsome period property,
which serves up a surprise challenge inside.
Funnily enough, your mystery house - the show in the Lakes,
we've brought you to a property that actually is in the Lakes!
We're in the National Park here. OK, good.
You're in the centre of everything. And this is it.
It's Georgian. It dates back to about 1834.
You have said you don't mind doing a little bit of work. OK. This is a project.
Has it got an inside? It has. There is an interior.
It's one where you will have to use your imagination
to see how it would work for you, but it's worth considering. OK.
Good. Come on. Let's go.
'So let's see quite how much of a project
'lies behind these listed walls.'
Right! Oh! First reception room.
Oh! It's in need of some work.
THEY LAUGH Yes.
I'd go with that. However,
you've got a pretty good template to work with.
Sash windows. Yeah, period features. Shutters...
OK? Let's keep looking. OK.
'So let's see if they can see the potential
'in the second reception room.'
The living room's got a nice shape, but what I want you to look at
is that view. That's really good, isn't it?
Let's see what you think of the kitchen. Lead on.
'Next door there's a third reception room,
'which also benefits from those fabulous views.
'But let's see what creative vision Angela has for this room.'
OK, the kitchen has a warm glow to it!
I think it's the orange walls. Don't let that put you off.
You've seen the downstairs now.
Could you do anything here to make this work?
It depends what you can do on the listing side.
You could extend at the back,
I'd move the kitchen to the back of the house.
That, I think, could work.
That's it for the downstairs.
Let's have a look upstairs. And the good thing up there
is that you've got plenty of bedrooms. OK. OK.
Off the back of the kitchen is a large utility room
and a separate larder.
'Our mystery house requires a complete decorative overhaul,
'but can they apply the same imagination
'to the five bedrooms upstairs?'
This is one of the five bedrooms on this floor,
and there are two bathrooms. None of the rooms are en suite.
Yeah. OK? OK.
What you do get, yet again, is the stunning view,
and you can see it even better up here, in the elevated position.
It's excellent. Yeah.
They got the wallpaper from the same place I got my shirt!
The other four bedrooms on this floor are all well proportioned,
with a spacious double, and another offset by a bay window,
with light streaming in the third double bedroom,
and the fourth serving as a study. There may be no en suites,
but there are two separate family bathrooms,
and what's more, there's a second floor
which is crying out for their creative touch.
and probably...some of the most potential for change.
You could change it into a bedroom,
and you could probably put an en suite in it,
reconfigure the walls.
You might even get two bedrooms. That's such a great attitude.
I'm glad you've enjoyed looking at the inside of the house. Let's have a look outside. Yeah.
'Outside, the 0.7 acre of a garden
'that wraps around the property is a real sweetener,
'what with its landscaped areas, vegetable patch
'and glorious views of the countryside beyond.
'But at what cost?'
OK, it's the moment. You've seen what the house has to offer.
You know the location. But what do you think the price is?
Er, I'm going to say 650.
This is on the market at 850.
Well, that just shows you, it's where it is. Yeah.
Absolutely. We are in the National Park. Yeah.
Priced at ?850,000,
our mystery house really highlights the premium paid
for living within the National Park. However, it is under budget,
and throws down the gauntlet for them to get stuck into a renovation.
It includes three reception rooms, five bedrooms,
a large garden that offers fabulous Lakeland views,
and it's set in a desirable village location.
But even with their generous budget, is it a challenge too far?
Seen enough? Yep.
Yeah. You've seen all the houses, that's for sure.
Time for you to find somewhere to sit down and have a think. Good.
From Holland to the Lakes, it's a big move for you and your family,
and we have seen three interesting properties.
It's been a bit of a journey, hasn't it?
Let's go through them one by one and reflect on what you've seen.
The first one, when we got inside, I was quite surprised
to see how beautifully renovated it had been,
and the taste was impeccable, I have to say.
I think on the downside, it wasn't big enough for us downstairs.
And whilst it had the two acres of agricultural land,
I didn't really see how that could easily be turned into a garden.
From a rural property, we took you to something
that was smack-bang in the middle of a village.
What did you think of that?
I just loved the look of it, and it had the most fabulous garden.
In the house itself, I liked the rooms.
The hallway and the staircase I felt was a bit dark and gloomy,
so it didn't draw me in in the way that the first house did.
So our final property, the mystery house.
It was a bit of a project.
I think the house itself was full of character,
and the views at the back of the house were stunning.
The mystery to me was why it's been priced at that level.
I'd expect that in certain areas of the National Park,
but I didn't expect it in that particular village,
because it didn't seem to me a touristy hot spot,
so I was quite surprised.
OK. So, what next? What will you do next?
Keep looking, yeah, and start spending our weekends
trekking round the countryside.
Thank you, guys. I've really enjoyed spending some time with you.
Welcome back to the UK. Thank you. Cheers.
There's no doubt about it - Cumbria is stunningly beautiful,
and it's easy to see why Angela and Rhys are so keen to move here.
We may not have found them their dream home,
but with the children already settled in the area,
I'm sure they're going to follow on soon.
And although, as we've discovered, surroundings like this do come at a price,
it may just be a price worth paying. I'll see you next time
on Escape To The Country.
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