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From this windmill, I can see miles of flat fields, waterways and dykes,
and if it was spring, there would be no shortage of tulips.
So where am I? Have we gone Dutch?
Join me in a moment to find out.
In today's show, I'll be helping a couple who are in search of pastures new,
not only for them, but for their 13 horses,
and it looks like we've got an emotional house search on our hands.
-Oh, I think I'm filling up, actually.
-Yeah, I feel all tearful.
-We've only just got started, Dawn.
And our mystery house just makes matters worse.
-It's even bigger than the last one.
No, it's not the Netherlands.
Today I'm in Lincolnshire,
and this is the Sibsey Trader Mill.
Built in 1877, it's one of only three six-sail mills left in the country.
So what is the Dutch connection?
Well, back in the Middle Ages, this part of the county was called Holland.
And just like its continental namesake,
it's mostly made up of fenland, so barely above sea level.
Over the centuries, most of this land has been drained
to reveal some of the richest arable land in England.
And Lincolnshire produces more fresh produce than any other county in the UK.
Spanning 2,200 square miles,
Lincolnshire is the second largest county in England after Yorkshire.
It's an area chiefly defined by its agriculture,
with food production and farming contributing around £1 billion to the local economy.
And windmills such as the one at Sibsey are not the county's only towering landmarks.
What with the magnificent Burghley House near Stamford,
overlooking gardens laid out by Capability Brown.
And with a vast rural landscape stretching from the Fens in the south
to the undulating Wolds in the north,
it's easy to see why aspiring escapees
would seek out a rural bolt-hole here.
Like most other parts of the country,
the Lincolnshire property market has taken a nosedive in recent years,
and the east of the county has seen the biggest percentage drop in number of house sales during the recession.
Laws of supply and demand mean that prices have been kept at bay here.
The average detached house costs £178,000,
and that's £82,000 less than the national average.
So if you're after a bargain,
take a look at what's available on the market right now.
Priced at just shy of £295,000,
this three-bedroom Victorian cottage in Tattershall Thorpe
has been sympathetically restored,
with feature fireplaces throughout its stylish kitchen diner and living room.
And there's plenty of space outside, as the grounds total two acres.
This handsome four-bedroom, Grade II listed manor house in Halton Holegate
could be yours for £395,000,
with high ceilings and large sash windows a running theme
in its grand reception rooms.
Outside there's a raft of outbuildings and two acres of grounds.
Or what about this four-bedroom barn conversion in Thirlby
on the market for £500,000?
Its interior has been impressively modernised,
with doors leading out to the terrace and lovely gardens beyond.
A bumper crop of houses to be had here in Lincolnshire.
But what are today's property shoppers hoping to bag? Let's find out.
Jim works in shipping insurance, and Dawn runs a local radio station.
They've lived in their four-bedroom house on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent
with their two children for ten years.
But now they're saddling up to make the leap to Lincolnshire.
The main reason we want to move is to get some land for the horses.
I have 13 horses at the moment.
Most of them are ill or old, so they need supervision,
and I currently rent nine acres which is a few miles down the road,
and to actually be able to keep an eye on my horses,
it would just be so wonderful just to have them on site with us.
And now that Jim has changed jobs
and he actually works from home,
that has given me the opportunity to actually say,
"Well, now is the time to move."
Because housing the horses is so important,
they're prepared for the family home to take second place.
In the new house, there are two main priorities.
It needs enough land, at least ten acres, but preferably more,
and there needs to be enough space for my office,
either inside the house or as an outbuilding that I can convert into an office.
Four bedrooms, obviously,
because moving away, we'd need the spare bedroom for guests.
Yeah, four bedrooms, two bathrooms.
Stables would be a bonus so we didn't have to build them.
I'd like a large family kitchen
so that we can all congregate in there to eat our family meals.
And the property we're living in is quite unique. It has character.
We'd like something that, um, is completely different,
whether it be an old farmhouse...
My dream would be oak beams and open fireplaces, really cosy.
Yeah, farmhouse. Character farmhouse.
They seem to agree on the wish list,
but differ on the location.
I would like to be no near-neighbours
because I've got the horses,
they can be quite noisy sometimes,
early starts in the morning,
but I think you'd like something a little bit more into a village
so that you can have a stroll to the village shop and get your paper.
Yeah, and the kids are getting of age
where I don't want to be a taxi for the next five years.
And with so many factors at play,
their property search has so far come up short.
We've viewed about five houses over the last six months.
-And some of them have had the perfect amount of land
and the perfect layout with stables,
but the house has not been right.
It's been too small or too new.
And then some of the houses have been beautiful,
but then the land has been too small.
We're quite picky.
Jim and Dawn already have their house on the market
and are hoping to sell for £450,000.
So with that in mind, how much do they have to spend on this move?
We've discussed budget,
and realistically our budget is £500,000.
Half a million, give or take, in this corner of the country,
is a fantastic budget,
and if we only had to find a spacious character property,
then we would be home and dry.
But it's never that easy, is it? No, we also need ten acres and stabling.
If you add to the mix two self-confessed picky house-hunters
who can't even decide whether they want a village or a rural location,
well, I think we've got an interesting ride ahead.
We'll be focusing our house search
in rural locations around Boston in the south,
and Lincoln further north,
both with great schools within a 30-minute drive for their children.
We've lined up three very individual properties to show them,
but I'm staying tight-lipped on the price until they've had a guess.
And the finale will be our mystery house,
which will challenge their criteria, but could give them a property that towers above the rest.
-Oh, it is a gorgeous morning, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
You've come to Lincolnshire where there's an abundance of land,
and it is a lot cheaper than the rest of the country.
But still, you are asking for quite a bit.
So how much money do we have to play with?
Um, we've talked about this. We'd like to limit at £500,000,
but if you found the perfect property
and it was £525,000 or £530,000,
I suspect I would come under some pressure.
But if there was the right livery there
and we could make the difference, it's a possibility.
Obviously we'll do our best to get what you need,
but knowing you're willing to go that bit further
to get exactly what you need makes my job a little bit easier.
-Shall we go and look at some houses?
For a budget of £500,000,
Jim and Dawn are looking for a quirky character property
with a large, family kitchen diner.
Besides the requisite four bedrooms,
a must-have for Jim is an office, as he mostly works from home.
However, it's the outside space which is paramount to this search.
Seven to ten acres, and stabling would be a bonus.
What about the house? How much do you care what that's like, or is it all about the land?
We do quite like quirky, don't we?
We do, yeah. Two up, two down, that's not going to reach the spot, I'm afraid.
So "quirky" for you means unusual?
Just unusual, yeah. I don't think there's anything in particular.
I wouldn't say we particularly want a Georgian house
or we particularly want a thatched cottage.
We want something that is slightly out of the ordinary,
but it doesn't really matter in which way it's out of the ordinary.
Let's see what they make of our first house,
as we search in the village of Sibsey,
set in the heart of the Fens,
and served by a local pub and parish church.
Its rural heritage is reflected in the many farmhouses dotted about,
and the trader mill isn't the only one in the village,
as our first property is a Grade II listed flour mill built in 1823.
-You wanted quirky.
-Oh, I love it.
How's an old windmill for you?
-Oh, that's breathtaking, isn't it?
-Yeah, I like that.
-I'm... Oh, I think I'm filling up, actually.
-Yeah, I feel all tearful.
-We've only just got started, Dawn.
-Mm. Yeah, sorry.
-No, don't be sorry.
-No, it's lovely.
-What is it?
-It's a windmill.
Is that like your wish, your dream?
It's just absolutely beautiful. I just didn't expect that.
It's... It's lovely.
That's an amazing start, that's a great start.
-What about you?
-No, it's nice, isn't it? Yeah, lovely. It's perfect.
You might not be able to tell,
but the house which is sitting next to the windmill,
was only built ten years ago.
Just ten years ago? It's been done perfectly,
just to fit in, and obviously you can see so much care and attention
has been taken to get it right.
You know, just overwhelming, really.
Wow! The character exterior of our windmill conversion
has a resounding thumbs up.
Let's hope they're equally charmed by the inside.
Come through and have a look at the first reception room.
-What do you think of this?
-Isn't it great?
Oh, look, they've even put beams in, and look at the view, Jim.
That's really nice.
See your horses from here while you're having breakfast or dinner.
What a dream.
Size-wise, I know we're downsizing.
For a dining room, how does this work?
This is absolutely perfect.
Let's see if the kitchen further down the hallway
captures their imagination.
Right, come on in.
Recently done in the last couple of years. But what do you think?
-Look, a range.
-This is nice.
Where are the appliances? Are there any appliances?
They've got this lovely layout where they're hidden,
so you do have a fridge and dishwasher,
but you have a utility room over there,
which is where your other white goods are.
This kitchen is the perfect size for the moment
so it's good, it's all good.
-Do you agree?
-Yep, no, I agree.
-I'm counting. I think that's the third perfect.
They seem to be taking the notion of downsizing seriously, which is great,
but will the quirky dimensions of the living room work for them?
So, we're into the windmill now.
-Come on through.
-Look at this.
It's a round room.
-It's great, isn't it?
-It's got real character, hasn't it?
So now we've seen the downstairs, pretty much,
this would be your main living area.
You wanted two reception rooms.
You've got a dining room and here. Would that work for your family?
I think so. I don't see why not.
This is a nice size.
-Another reception room would have been good, but size-wise, it's fine, isn't it?
Hopefully, that positive, pragmatic approach will continue upstairs,
where there are the four bedrooms that they're after.
Now, this is the master.
Look at the view, Jim.
Oh, that's incredible.
Yes, look at that. Triple aspect again.
It's a nice size.
Smaller again. Not that much smaller, though.
Not that much smaller.
You do have an en-suite just here. Just poke your head in.
-It's an en-suite shower room.
-Oh, that's perfect, yes.
-Everything we need there.
You've got your own private bathroom, looking out onto the wonderful views.
-Waking up in the morning, peeping your head out,
"What are they up to? Oh, OK, then."
Keep your eye on your horses.
-That is your dream, isn't it?
-It is. I'm living the dream now.
-It is the dream, though. It really is.
The other three bedrooms include two singles next door to each other,
with a family bathroom opposite.
And at the end of the landing, we go round again.
We are back in the windmill.
-Jim, look at this.
It's your study.
-What do you think of this, then?
-Come on up.
Obviously they've been using this as the study.
But you have got another level up, and that's a double bedroom up there.
So that's how they've organised it.
Is this big enough for your study?
It's tight for my study. It would make a great kids' den, though.
A sort of TV room for the kids.
If there was a bedroom upstairs there for guests,
and this is then the kids' den.
So compromising on their bedroom sizes might not be such an issue
if they've got their own den, playroom.
It's something for you to think about.
What's important now is that we get back outside,
have a look at that land, and get back to the horses.
Yes, yes, get back to them.
Outside, beyond the immediate garden,
the yard provides perfect accommodation for Dawn's horses
in the five stables with an adjoining hay stall.
What's more, there's an outbuilding currently used as a workshop,
which Jim could convert into an office.
So let's survey the land which could be theirs and think about the price.
Right, eight and a half acres in total, all laid out for paddocks.
Look at this. It's beautiful, isn't it?
Pretty much everything you can see fenced is yours.
-You've even got an all-weather outdoor arena.
That would be well used.
So, this is it. We've come to the end of the house tour,
and you know what happens next.
Yeah, you're taking a big, deep breath.
We need to work out how much this property would cost you.
I'm guessing it's close to the top end of the budget.
OK, well, give me a number, Jim.
I would go more than that at £515,000, I would say.
-I'll put you out of your misery.
This property is on the market for £539,950.
So it's over your top end of your budget.
Yes, it is.
What's interesting, it's been on for about three months.
It's already come down about £30,000.
But they do want to sell, so I know they're open to offers.
Mm, plenty to think about.
Why don't you wander off, start scoping out what you'd do if you lived here,
and tick that over in your minds?
-OK, Denise, thank you.
-I'll see you later on.
Priced at just shy of £540,000,
our listed windmill conversion is open to offers.
Along with historic character,
it answers many of the demands on their wish list,
including two reception rooms, a spacious kitchen diner,
four bedrooms with a circular study upstairs,
and eight and a half acres of land with equestrian facilities,
along with an outbuilding for Jim's office.
The house itself is fantastic.
I know we want to downsize.
It's obviously smaller than what we've previously had.
I think we could probably live with that.
It is a little bit over budget,
um, but no money to be spent on stabling or paddocks or fencing.
That's all there for us.
So all in all, it has just really blown me away, this property.
It's absolutely beautiful. I love it.
I wonder if they still think it's a dream home.
Time to go, I'm afraid.
Have you seen enough?
-No, not really.
Split decision. We're not finished yet so come on, let's keep going.
The Lincolnshire Fens constitute some of the flattest
and most productively-farmed land in Europe,
which has historically fed into the local market towns.
In the heart of the South Holland district,
Spalding made good use of the River Welland
as a conduit for trading corn, seed and wool,
the wealth of which flowed into its historic buildings.
Much of its centre is now a conservation area,
and also home to a vibrant market.
Earlier in the week, Dawn and Jim met local expert Sharon Dabell
to find out more about its significance.
-Lincolnshire's the food bowl of England.
So we do get a lot of local stalls,
and some coming over from the East Midlands.
Very, very popular, and it's thriving, which is good news for the town.
The centre of commerce, the whole district, South Holland, which Spalding is the capital of,
20 per cent of the country's food
touches South Holland in some way or other.
South Holland has literally kept its head above water
thanks to man's efforts to drain this land,
which lies only a few metres above sea level.
1660 saw the reclamation of some 17,000 acres,
and with the onset of the industrial age,
new engineering solutions to drain the land were introduced,
like the Pinchbeck Pumping Engine, now a local museum piece.
This amazing machine was built in 1833
following the invention of steam power in 1820, round about that date.
Without machines like this, quite simply, this area wouldn't exist.
Machines like this began to be replaced in the 1900s
as technology advanced,
so it was replaced by diesel and electric power.
The amazing thing is that
the new machines can process 4,800 gallons of water per second.
-That's absolutely incredible.
And when you see the land out there,
there are 52,000 acres of fenland that are drained in that way.
This fertile terrain gives rise to a thriving food-producing industry.
One man who benefits from this is local farmer David Bowman,
who, over the past 40 years,
has become the biggest single grower of pumpkins in Europe,
harvesting a staggering three million a year.
-What's the name of this particular pumpkin?
-This one's Harvest Moon.
-And that's the most common pumpkin?
-The most common in this country.
So how do you pick them?
Well, mainly with the harvester, which is working down there.
They go through on the harvester, through the washer.
And they go in dirty and come out clean.
It's the only one in the world, that is.
And you designed it yourself?
Yeah. Now it's attracting people from all across North America.
It's impressive that this relatively small corner of the country
grows around a third of England's outdoor vegetables.
Our house search continues in the quiet village of Linwood,
14 miles from Lincoln, with its Victorian church,
and the chance to pick up local produce from neighbours.
For more amenities, they can pop into the town of Market Rasen,
less than three miles away.
With Dawn's horses in mind,
our second property gives them a rural location
set on a small, no-through lane.
This is quaint.
"Quaint". Another quirky property for you.
-Oh, it is, isn't it? Yes.
-I like that.
This is good. So, getting an expression of like from you, Jim.
-I like that.
-It looks really interesting so I'm excited to find out more about it.
It's very interesting. It's the old schoolhouse.
And the old schoolmaster's house, so two houses in one, almost.
But it's also got a quirky layout inside
so you'll need your imagination to see how you could re-jig it to fit your lifestyle.
-How do you feel about that?
-We're up for a challenge, aren't we?
-You're so enthusiastic. I love it. Let's have a look.
This schoolhouse was built in the 1860s from traditional red brick,
and inside, the schoolroom really makes a statement.
Come on through.
Come on up and have a good look.
-Look at that.
-I know, it's a lot to take in, isn't it?
-Look at these high ceilings.
Come over here cos I want you to be able to look at this and this.
-It's a mezzanine, isn't it?
So here, the journey begins. I did say, quirky layout.
-So this is my office.
-Aha. I thought you might say that.
What you do have here, obviously, is this amazing room
with the hugely vaulted ceilings.
And the current owners kind of at times used it as a holiday let,
as a space for her, that's why you've got a kitchen.
Through that door is a little single bedroom and shower room, bathroom.
So it is a self-contained little bit.
This is right.
Even though Dawn absolutely loved the last one.
I think it's got bags and bags of character
and it's given me a really warm feeling.
We'll keep the momentum going and explore the other wing,
where a small study leads through to a breakfast area.
Let's see what they make of the kitchen.
-OK, we are in the old schoolmaster's part of the house.
And this is the kitchen.
This is nice.
Perhaps just a little bit small.
Cupboard space again might be an issue.
But downsizing, we are again,
so I need to address that.
Come through here, cos there's more to this part of the house.
Oh, this is all right.
So you have got this just off the kitchen.
-Patio doors out there.
-It would make a nice little dining room.
It would. It's just calling out dining room.
Kitchen's there, dining room here. Eating, looking out.
And the dining room flows through
to another sitting room with wood burner.
The downstairs layout is quirky, but gives them lots of scope to make their mark.
Hopefully they'll see that same potential
in the remaining double bedrooms,
two of the four this property provides.
Right, come in here.
This good-sized double is one of two double rooms up here.
-That's a good size. Plenty of storage.
-It is a good size, yes.
Deep wardrobes. Double hanging.
You've got extra storage behind there. Shoes, handbags, whatever.
And out there you've got another room, which is used as a sewing room.
It would be a lovely dressing room. And the family bathroom.
So if you add it all up, there are just two bedrooms up here.
-Right, OK. Yes.
-What do you think about that?
Children's bedroom next door. Perhaps we could have one of these.
And we have a spare room.
The challenge is, it is two, um, properties,
as you said, for the price of one.
And it's actually how we're going to make them work together.
That will be the challenge.
I reckon it's worth serious consideration,
given what outside delivers.
Beyond the paved terrace, there's a storeroom, four stables, and a tack room.
What's more, the lawned gardens give Jim ample space
to put down a ready-made office structure.
And there are two enormous paddocks for Dawn's horses,
giving them a generous ten acres in total.
But at what cost?
-Lots for you to play with.
But it does all come at a price. So we've reached that point.
How much do you think you'd have to pay for this?
I would say £495,000.
I was thinking slightly lower at £475,000.
-£475,000. Do you think it's that low? With ten acres?
Dawn's much closer. £499,500.
-OK? What do you think about that price?
You are getting a great, quirky property and ten acres,
so I personally think that's what I would expect to pay for this type of property.
-The most important thing is your office space.
-Yeah, that's going to be an issue.
I think you're swaying towards, the horses can freeze
while you use the stables for the office. I don't think so.
While you work that out, why don't you have a wander round the paddocks?
-I'll see you later on.
Ooh, well. I didn't expect that, actually.
They really like the property,
but as we said, it's quirky and will require some imagination.
It's also going to require some compromise.
Can they decide whether it's the horses or the office? Who knows?
Nudging in under their £500,000 budget,
this schoolhouse delivers on many fronts.
Besides that stunning living room with timbered ceiling,
there are four bedrooms,
and crucially, the property comes with ten acres,
stabling, and the potential for an outside office for Jim.
Beautiful in its own way.
Um, very quaint, very quirky.
The house is lovely.
There's no space inside for the office,
which means the office outside,
but that's not a problem, I don't mind that at all.
You've shown us two amazing properties.
-There you are.
-You've fallen in love with this one as well, haven't you?
-It's certainly put the cat among the pigeons, Denise.
-Lots for you to think about. Come on.
As the sun sets over the Lincolnshire Fens,
it marks the end of the first day of our property search.
Armed with their budget of £500,000,
Jim and Dawn, along with their two children,
are champing at the bit to find a character home in Lincolnshire,
that has enough land for Dawn's 13 horses.
So far, she's backing the windmill,
whereas he's fallen for the schoolhouse.
But coming up, our mystery property throws everything up in the air.
Oh, you've done it again. Oh no!
But how will they deal with the bump back down to earth?
I've not sunk so much. You've lifted me back up again.
It's a lovely morning here in Lincolnshire
for the final day of our property search.
And I have to say, yesterday could not have gone any better.
Dawn was bowled over by the windmill,
and Jim succumbed to the quirky charms of the old schoolhouse.
And with both, I think we really did strike the balance
between land and property.
But today we're hoping to tip the scales
in favour of the house over the horses.
Our mystery house takes us close to the village of Scopwick,
12 miles from Lincoln.
With a population of just 1,000, it's a peaceful location,
with the chance to meet the locals at the village pub,
and the beck provides a hub for the resident wildlife.
Just outside the village, against the backdrop of the Fens,
our mystery house comes in the form of this rural skyscraper.
A Grade II listed windmill,
which, as they'll discover, might prove a squeeze at ground level.
-Here we go.
-It is huge.
-In the countryside.
I was going to say, what is it?
Oh, you've done it again. Oh, no!
It's even bigger than the last one!
I don't believe it.
That is just...
Amazing, isn't it?
With this mystery house, you get six floors.
Two floors of accommodation there, and another four in the tower.
It dates back to 1862.
It was just the windmill when the current owners moved in, and they've done all of this work.
-Excellent, let's go and have a look.
-Let's have a look.
Wow. First impressions to our mystery house have their hearts soaring.
And although we'll be throwing the mystery ingredient into the mix later,
let's see if inside raises the roof.
-Yes, isn't it?
This is incredible.
-It really is.
-A spiral staircase.
The spiral staircase will take you right the way up the six floors of the tower.
Obviously, there's still a bit of work to do here, to finish it off.
But all the structural stuff is done with this property.
Right. We could really put our own print on this.
The special thing about this property, Jim, for you, is that,
the way I see it, that tower, particularly the three floors towards the top, could be yours.
-Don't know if I'd get any work done.
-It would make a stunning office.
Now for a stunning kitchen. Come this way.
-Big enough for you, Jim?
-Oh-ho, it's the square kitchen!
-Got the big fridge.
-It is a big kitchen.
-You've been so good with the other properties.
-A table in the middle!
It just gets better and better, doesn't it?
-This is just awesome, isn't it?
Behind this kitchen you've got a big utility space.
-And through there, a huge dining room as well. Big table.
Imagine yourselves in here?
Oh yes. I can just imagine all of us sitting there and chilling out.
-You're here, aren't you?
-I can feel it.
Washing up there, looking at that view.
What about you, Jim?
Great, isn't it? It's fantastic.
-Are you speechless?
-Are you choking up a little?
No, no, I'm fine. But it's lovely.
They seem totally smitten so far,
and they won't have any worries about having to downsize in the living room.
And for you, Dawn...
The inglenook fireplace.
-Jim, look at the fireplace.
-Yeah, this is...
They're reclaimed bricks here, not new.
These are reclaimed bricks, and you've got the beam across the inglenook.
I can just imagine this place in the winter.
-And it's the perfect size, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's lovely, isn't it?
The downstairs living areas offer fantastically spacious rooms,
with family living in mind,
and it's all finished to an excellent standard.
Upstairs, beside the galleried landing, is a ready-made wing for the children,
with a well-furnished family bathroom and two of the four bedrooms, both good-sized doubles.
On the other side is another generous double room with en-suite shower,
but I can't wait to show them the master.
Now, here you've got a huge en-suite bathroom.
His and hers sinks, big spa bath, and a walk-in shower.
-And then this would be yours.
-Wow, what a size!
-What a size!
-That's nice, isn't it?
Yes, and look at the ceilings, Jim.
It's just beautiful.
And when you're lying down,
your eye line will be just the right level
for looking out onto those fields.
To see the fields and what's going on out there.
-Oh, it's beautiful, isn't it?
-I could move into this tomorrow.
This is just... For me, I could live here.
It looks like our mystery house has them reeling,
and this staircase unravels four more levels,
so Jim could have his own office garret,
offering up a bird's eye view of the surrounding countryside.
They love the unique character of our mystery windmill,
and it could be their perfect family home.
But will the mystery rub outside be a deal breaker for Dawn?
It is the mystery house.
I think you've got to agree, the property itself is stunning.
-But there has to be some compromise.
So this property comes with two acres.
What you can see in front of you.
However, what you can also see is, there is a lot of land around.
And in particular, at the back over there, and round the side here,
a couple of areas of land owned by people who might be amenable to rent.
In fact, the land over here, four and a half acres in total,
the owner is amenable to selling.
She's looked at selling it in the past.
-So it's an option.
-That makes it more interesting.
Yes, it certainly does.
I've not sunk so much now. You've lifted me back up again.
-That is good news. Yes, Denise.
-That makes a difference.
That all brings us to the point of
how much you'd have to spend to get this fabulous house.
I am actually going to go for just bang on budget at £500,000.
Oh. That's a bit of a reversal. So you're at the lower end this time, £500,000, you're at £550,000.
-I've been too low all day.
-I'm going to stop you there and we'll call it even.
Because this is on the market at £525,000, that's right.
Oh, wow, £525,000.
So it's within your extended budget.
It's come down quite a bit already. It's been on the market for a while.
The seller is open to offers,
and I think, so long as you're in the 500 range somewhere...
Mm, that's interesting.
There's a chance.
It's been a great surprise as a mystery house, it really has.
Well, it's a beautiful property, regardless of where we end up,
and I think you should spend a bit more time
running up and down that spiral staircase.
Jim can do that. I think I'll just admire from afar.
You look at the fields where the horses will be, you check out your office.
-We'll catch up later when you've digested it all.
-Thank you, Denise.
Priced at £525,000 but open to offers,
our landmark mystery windmill conversion
gives them a beautiful family home,
including two large reception rooms,
an enormous kitchen diner, which Dawn loved,
four bedrooms with two en-suite,
and four levels to develop in the tower for Jim's office
with amazing views.
But, are the two acres of land for Dawn's horses a stumbling block?
First impressions of the mystery house was just, "Wow".
What to do with the windmill side of it is just a fantastic project,
and that's where, I think, Jim and I would be able to make it ours.
It's been an education.
Um, we've got to make a decision
whether we want all the land we want
and not quite the house we want.
Or whether we want the house we want
and not necessarily get all the land we want.
And that's a decision we're going to have to
sit and decide and choose on.
Right, let's see if we can get them out of the tower,
and if they're still talking to each other, and to me.
Hello? Hi, are we still friends?
Mm, just about.
Yeah, the mystery house always throws the cat amongst the pigeons
and gives you plenty to think about.
-Let's find somewhere for you to sit and mull it over.
-Do I have to leave?
Lincolnshire is home to the richest amount of Grade 1 soil in England,
and as a result, is one of the most intensively-farmed regions in the UK.
But with renewed interest in environmentally-friendly farming,
for some, the drive for high productivity doesn't sit well.
One man championing the organic cause in Lincolnshire is Andrew Dennis,
who, in 1996, decided to convert his 1,700-acre farm to organic status.
His sustainable farming methods
last year won him the title Farmer Of The Year.
I went to meet him in his 50-acre market garden.
-Hello, Andrew, I'm Denise.
-Hello, nice to meet you, hi.
-Is this where I'd normally find you in the morning?
-With the courgettes.
-Yes, this is where we grow speciality crops
for the farmers' markets and the box scheme.
I can see the smile on your face. You love being here, don't you?
I do, yeah. I love it.
It's good energy. I can feel it. But I imagine it is a lot of hard work.
There is a perception that it costs more to buy organic
because it's labour intensive.
What are the biggest challenges
of moving from conventional or industrial farming to organic farming?
I think marketing has been quite an interesting, um, challenge,
um, because when we were farming conventionally, most of our produce went to the supermarkets.
Now it's only 40 per cent,
and in order to sort of get a balance there,
we've needed to develop other markets.
For Andrew, the box scheme is about
providing organic produce to local people,
and despite a recessionary dip last year,
such delivery schemes brought home
nearly £155 million in sales nationwide.
Economics aside, there's also a personal motivation for him
that runs deep.
This is part, not only of the heritage of Lincolnshire, but your heritage.
Your great grandfather was out here growing potatoes.
He was, yes. I mean, he was a migrant, actually.
A migrant farm worker, who walked to this area
from another part of Lincolnshire as a penniless farm labourer,
and, you know, he developed a very successful business
based around the potato,
of which he became a sort of Victorian pioneer, in a sense.
He developed a system known as "chitting", where seed potatoes are grown in a cool, light place
so that sturdy shoots grow, before being planted in the ground.
Andrew is a pioneering farmer in his own right,
as, unusually for Lincolnshire,
he is a mixed organic farmer,
raising rare and native breeds of turkeys, Lincoln Red cattle,
and the curly coated pig.
Why have you decided to bring animals into the farm?
And particularly, rare breeds?
Well, in terms of why rare breeds,
because they are part of our heritage,
and I think it's important that we preserve the gene pool,
and they should be valued, I think, really.
With the area of farmed land organically managed
increasing by nine per cent last year,
it's an approach that's gaining momentum,
and as organic farmers like Andrew show,
a seasoning of entrepreneurial spirit can breed a viable business.
Well, I think we've still got everything to play for here.
Three properties, and they like every one of them.
So let's find out what they've decided.
So let's just take a moment to go back through every property.
We started with that first windmill,
which set us off on that journey.
It just completely took my breath away, to be perfectly honest.
I was very emotional because it was just very overwhelming.
I just didn't expect that you'd be able to find us a property like that
really within our budget.
I just loved the lounge.
The rest of the house just didn't quite do it for me.
I loved it. The stables, for me, were the icing on the cake.
And the eight and a half acres were just immaculate.
Now, from your emotion with the first property, you got all emotional with the schoolhouse.
The schoolhouse was fantastic.
Right from the drive up, I was blown away by the actual school part,
with the mezzanine floor,
and yeah, I could see a lot of potential in the whole house.
I was having difficulty, Denise,
in trying to sort out how we were going to make the two houses liveable as one.
The acreage was good. It was a really quaint, charming property.
-No, I liked that one.
-And then we took you to the mystery house.
-Didn't think we could, but we found a second windmill for you.
-You certainly did.
That house is just amazing. There's just nothing you can...
The family accommodation in the mystery house is everything we need.
Everything about it was right.
That spiral staircase. How they got it in there, I will never know.
A fantastic place to have an office.
I'm not sure how to get my desk up the stairs. Perhaps I'll build one up there.
Now, the compromise with that gorgeous house was the land.
How are you feeling about that now?
We'd made the decision to move here
to find land to accommodate the horses,
and not having the land and therefore not getting the security,
which was the whole reason we were moving,
is a problem.
But, I mean, if the other land around it is for sale,
and we can find a way of doing it,
then it gives us some security, anyway.
So we'll have to consider it.
Was the mystery house the one that brought you both together?
-Are you on the same page with it?
I think, yeah. All things being equal,
if we could get everything within a budget we could afford,
we would go for the mystery house.
It's the property that has really blown BOTH of us away,
and that's what's important.
That we BOTH feel exactly the same about a property.
It's our home at the end of the day.
I am so pleased. I know you said at first, it was for the horses,
but I think it's become clear, it's just as much for the two of you as it is for everyone else.
-I hope it happens soon.
-Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure.
It's been good fun. Thank you.
Dawn and Jim started this journey
looking for acres of land for their horses,
and a quirky little property for themselves.
But in the end, our mystery house was the only property they both agreed on
and that had the least land.
It just goes to show, sometimes you have to challenge your own criteria
when you're in search of your dream home.
I'll see you next time on Escape To The Country.
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