Jules Hudson visits Monmouthshire to help a couple with a budget of £500,000 find some rural peace and space for pigs, chickens and alpacas.
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These are the remains of one of the last great aristocratic homes of the 17th century.
But where are we? Well, stick around, and I'll tell you.
In today's show, I'll be helping a Welsh boy return to his homeland.
And it's a roller-coaster of emotions.
I hate to use the word "perfect", but...
It's getting close, it's getting close!
Use perfect! Please use perfect!
And I'm desperate for our properties to hit the mark.
Does it...worry you?
No, not at all. I love it.
But then, we blow them away.
Today we're in South Wales.
These are the glorious remains of Raglan Castle,
here in Monmouthshire. During the time of the English Civil War,
it was held by the Earl of Worcester, a royalist through and through,
who forbade the garrison here to either swear or drink -
possibly one of the reasons why Raglan was one of the last places to fall during the conflict.
Monmouthshire's landscape still bears the scars of its war-torn past,
claiming more castles per square mile than any other county,
due to its strategic position on the Welsh-English border.
It was only some 35 years ago when Monmouthshire's status
as a Welsh county was confirmed once and for all,
ending over four centuries of controversy.
And what a county it is!
Boasting, of course, the magnificent Wye Valley to the east,
and to the West, the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Monmouthshire's 31 conservation areas encompass many of its historic
towns such as Abergavenny, a foodie's heaven,
and Tintern, with its awe-inspiring abbey.
So it's no wonder this border county
holds such appeal for aspiring escapees.
In Monmouthshire, the average house will set you back
somewhere in the region of £176,000,
just 6% above the national average.
Hop over the border into Herefordshire, or indeed South Gloucestershire, and to be honest,
prices are pretty much the same. It really is a question of scenery.
So for my money, if you want something that feels that bit more rural,
then Monmouthshire is definitely the place to be.
For top-notch splendour, this five-bedroom
Georgian country house in Whitchurch comes in at just under £1.3 million.
It has a reception room for every occasion, whether it be an
evening's music recital or a game of billiards, or even a spot of tennis.
From the 9.5 acres of grounds, there are stunning views across the Wye Valley.
On the market at just short of £600,000,
this five-bedroom former cider mill in Llangovan
retains its character, with an inglenook fireplace to cosy up in front of and exposed beams.
Outside, there's plenty of scope for sitting and surveying your two acres of grounds.
And for £365,000,
this attractive modern four-bedroom stonefronted lodge in Bishopswood
has a welcoming kitchen, and a lounge
that leads out to a decked veranda with stunning views.
As you can see, this county does have some fantastic properties on offer.
I love house-hunting here in Monmouthshire.
All we need now are a couple of people who want to buy one.
After 17 years together, David, a financial manager and Wendy, an administrator, have decided
to realise their dream of a lifetime and up sticks from their four-bedroom house near Reading.
With retirement on the horizon, they feel there's no time like
the present to seek out a rural retreat in South Monmouthshire.
I was brought up outside a small village in South Wales,
and I look forward to being able to return to the rivers
and the valleys of South Wales.
I think a move to the country is going to be
-a change of lifestyle.
-We want to live in a village where
there's a decent community setup,
and enjoy our life in general.
And when they do finally retire, it sounds like they'll have no problem keeping busy.
One of the things I'm really looking forward to in the countryside is the wildlife.
I love birds, I love birds of prey.
The opportunity we'll have in the countryside to pursue
that side of our interest even more is really good.
With eight moves in 17 years under their belt, they certainly know what they want this time around.
The next house for me needs to be detached.
I'd need two, three reception rooms, three, four bedrooms.
Ideally, a large garden, and also, somewhere that had a view.
We really need a big kitchen, a big family room.
We'd like an open fire in the living room.
Ideally, an en-suite bathroom to the main bedroom, and a utility room.
We're not very good at DIY, David and myself, but I think
if there was a small amount of work to do, then we'd look at that.
And they both want their own space to play in.
This is my study and as you can see it's rather small.
In my next house I'd like to have a much larger room,
to have my computer,
perhaps a nice easy chair where I can come and read.
Just a place for me to come and chill out when I feel like it.
In moving to the country it's really important for me to have some outside space.
Ideally, I'd like up to five acres. I'd like to be a hobby farmer
with some alpacas and maybe some pigs.
So are there any property styles they don't want?
I think for me, I don't want to buy a house
that's dark inside.
No beams particularly. I'm not sure I'd like a barn conversion,
because they all seem to be open plan.
To me, it's quite important to have the individual rooms.
David and Wendy are in the enviable position of having sold their current property.
So, with £415,000 in the bank, how much do they have to spend?
The budget for our next house is £500,000.
It is indeed great news that Wendy and David have now sold their house
in Reading, which gives them the magical title of being cash buyers.
They've got half a million pounds weighing down their pockets,
that they're determined to spend on a house in glorious Monmouthshire.
Our house hunt is focused around the historic market towns of Abergavenny and Monmouth.
We've lined up some super country properties for them to take
a look at and, as always, I'll be asking them to guess the price.
Finally, I'll be trying to convert them with our mystery house,
where you can never predict what will happen.
-Good morning. Very nice to see you.
-Welcome to Monmouthshire.
-You're very much coming back home, aren't you?
-Something like that. I was born and bred in South Wales,
-so it's a bit like that for me.
-A trip back home.
As I understand it, you're in a very enviable position in terms of moving?
Yes, we are. We've sold our property and we're ready to go.
-Ready to go! How much money have we got in the bank?
A cool half a million pounds!
So this move now, is this another short-term hop or is this the real deal?
I hope it'll be a long-term thing. We want to move to a nice area
where it's quiet so we can have a sort of more rural way of life.
I'd like to have some livestock, a few sheep and chickens,
-and possibly a couple of alpacas.
Let's see what we can find you.
So for their £500,000, David and Wendy want a house with at least
two bright reception rooms, a cosy fireplace, and a large kitchen/diner.
An island would be a plus, but beams are a no-no.
Along with three to four bedrooms, Wendy wants her own study.
In addition, David's hobby farming dream
means he's looking for up to five acres of land.
I fear a dose of realism may have to figure somewhere.
We kick off our property search in the village of Caerwent,
around 25 miles from both Monmouth and Abergavenny.
These days it's a quiet village with a local pub
and a handy Post Office, so all the peace and charm they could ask for.
But uniquely, Caerwent's Roman past is everywhere.
These are the ruins of fourth-century shops, and they practically reach
the front door of our first property -
this lovely detached cottage, renovated and extended in 2004.
Let's start with this one.
What do you think?
Looks very nice from the outside.
-What is it that appeals?
I think the style of the building is quite attractive.
It's got a lovely conservatory.
It's got hills all around.
At its core, the house is about 1850.
We've also that that for you, David, the garage. That's a new addition.
-We can explore that later.
-That'll keep me busy.
-Absolutely - there's a lot to keep you busy round here! Let's go and have a look.
The style of this cottage has made a good first impression.
Let's explore what's on offer inside.
In you come.
Have a look in there, David. After you, Wendy.
There we are. What do you think? Cosy?
It's cosy, yeah. A lovely fire.
-Nice and warm. Yes.
-I know light is a big thing for you, isn't it?
-Definitely for me, yes.
-It's really important, but it's a cosy area at night. You can see the fire roaring away.
-I like the fact they've brought the stone through as well.
-Makes a bit of a difference.
It does have a certain open-plan feel, but hopefully not so open-plan that it feels impersonal?
-No, it does feel cosy.
-Good. Well, it does get a bit bigger.
Come and have a look through here.
There we are. The kitchen. You did say you wanted an island.
I did, yes. That's very nice.
-It's very sweet. I think it's great.
Through that door, to the right, quite a useful little utility area and a downstairs loo as well.
-OK, and this one has got a nice view out the window as well.
-Good. So the kitchen is working?
-Yes, it is.
Let's explore that conservatory, because that is enormous.
Step up there...
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-Isn't it great?
Double-glazed, and you'll notice, no radiators anywhere.
Underfloor heating. What would you expect in a Roman town?!
There's nothing new, you know.
-And the views, of course, are terrific.
-It's lovely out there.
-And the great thing about being in the middle
of a scheduled monument like this is that none of that is going to change.
You'll have those views forever.
The only thing that's going to change are the seasons.
In terms of reception areas, this is obviously the biggest and,
I suppose, one would say the family room, if you like, because of the way it works.
But the way they've heated it and insulated it and so forth, this is good all year round.
Let's go upstairs. After you.
I love the fact that this cottage has kept its warm feel,
but the renovations have made it spacious and light, great for Wendy.
I think they're quietly positive.
Perhaps a surprise upstairs will get them excited.
But first stop, a potential guest room.
Let's start in this one.
Probably the lightest room in this part of the house,
-and certainly anybody staying in here will find that view quite memorable.
-Yes, it's lovely.
Nice top shot there of part of the ruins of the old city of Caerwent.
-And of course, the view as well.
-Fantastic, isn't it?
You can see for miles.
Also on this floor are two other bedrooms -
one which could be a small double and a light single room.
The bright, modern family bathroom has a bath and a corner shower cubicle.
But here's a surprise - the master is upstairs again, in the roof space.
Is your very own little eyrie.
-If you have got guests, you're well out of the way of them.
-That's a great space, isn't it?
It really does make a big addition to this place, because it's effectively quite a compact,
albeit well-appointed cottage.
Coming up into the roof space gives you a very generous master,
I think, in some respects, with some storage all round.
And it's bright and airy as well.
Really bright and airy, and again blessed with the views and the dual aspect through these skylights.
Yes, in terms of lightness, waking up, sound of the birds, in the middle of a Roman city.
What more could you want?
You could have an en-suite, which you've got through that door!
-Which is rather nice. Big shower room, etc. Do you like it so far?
-Very nice. Thank you.
-Good. Well, let's continue back outside and see what else we've got amongst the ruins. After you.
Internally, this cottage answers a lot of the demands on Wendy and David's wish-list.
It is light and there would be no work for them to do.
Let's see if the garden and its historic surroundings can clinch it.
Let's settle where we started.
Now you've had a chance to look around the inside, are your feelings still as encouraged?
Yes, it had a nice feel inside.
I'm not sure the garden is quite big enough, but...
That is the kind of rub with this one, that's the compromise.
It's not acres, it's probably a fraction of an acre, probably a third to a half.
Enough for some domestic chickens, as the current owners have.
Probably not enough for the alpacas, in fairness.
But rather successfully, they have of course created that
garage arrangement, and the study that comes with it,
which I'm going to the you explore your own a little bit later.
There is a lot on offer. Whether it's enough is down to you two and what you really think about it.
And of course, the price.
Yes, the price.
How much do you think you're going to have to part with to get this little number?
-I'm going to say about 440.
I think slightly less than that, I think probably about 425.
Interesting. Well, it's currently on the market for £485,000.
I suspect you probably want to be starting around the 440, 450 mark
to make a sensible and respectful offer.
-As a Welshman, I liked 425!
-Of course you did. There's a lot more for you to see.
-Go and explore the garage and the office and I'll catch up that you a little bit later.
So, under budget at £485,000, this cottage may not have space
for David's alpacas, but it's ready to move straight into.
Its clever layout offers a large kitchen diner,
a conservatory for all seasons, with underfloor heating.
Four bedrooms with a master en-suite.
And a third-of-an-acre garden.
Along with being a stone's throw from a complete Roman town and with
beautiful countryside views, you couldn't ask for a better location.
This is the office. Do you think this would be enough for you?
In a word, no.
Well, we could see what we could do with it. It's just a stud wall.
-Make it bigger and it could work then.
-We could try.
My first impression of the house was it was very pleasing from outside.
I wasn't quite sure about the size of the garden, but the area is very nice, lovely country views.
I like the house from outside but it looked small.
Then when you started to look around the house, you realised how much bigger it was than you imagined.
Outside is a reasonable size, and it would allow me to have some chickens as they have it now.
But it wouldn't be enough space for me to become a hobby farmer really, to be honest.
It's marvellous, isn't it, the Roman ruins.
-Think how long they've been here.
-It's good. It's in keeping with the house, and the wall of the house.
It looks excellent, doesn't it?
-You're soaking it all up, aren't you?
-It's pretty unique.
How often do you get to live next to 2,000 years of history?
Not every day. It's quite a rare one, I have to say.
I could spend all day here, but we've plenty more to show you.
With over 50 castles in this county, I can really indulge my passion for archaeology.
But Raglan is one of my favourites, so I couldn't resist delving further into its fascinating past.
Historian John Kenyon has kindly agreed to join me to explore these dramatic ruins.
John, this is the most romantic of ruins, it really dominates
the skyline in this part of Monmouthshire. But how did it all begin?
It's one of the great late medieval buildings of Britain.
It was begun by a fairly minor member of the Welsh gentry who made two very good marriages,
and William ap Thomas, he started building Raglan with his great hexagonal tower with its own moat.
And his son continued building it, the domestic apartments
and the great gate house, and the closet tower round to the right the 1450s and 1460s.
It really showed that this Welsh family had arrived on the scene.
It's a remarkable building - a fortress palace is probably the best way to describe it.
-A fortress palace. I think we should go through the gateway and find out more.
Built as a sign of military might but also as a show of status and power, Raglan's 15th century
remains still show off its French influences, from the moated tower
to the double courtyard mansion protected by its imposing gatehouse and towered walls.
By the late 16th century, Elizabethan extravagance had kicked in,
including a banqueting hall, lavishly furnished with wooden panelling and tapestries.
This is quite something, isn't it?
-It's terrific, yes.
It's Raglan transformed. You've got a great kitchen range.
Brew houses down here.
The whole here totally rebuilt by the third Earl of Worcester as the
household grew - household staff, people coming to stay.
You've raised the building up an extra storey here and there.
How many people do you think would have comprised that household when this was operating at full strength?
When the family were here, you must have had at least 100 or so.
What a legacy to leave behind!
Although perhaps it's sad to see Raglan stripped back
to its bare bones today, it definitely retains its grandeur.
There's something undeniably fairy-tale about it,
but the site where Raglan first rose was also where it finally fell.
Here we are, John, at the base of the original tower here at Raglan.
What happened to get it in this state?
-The English Civil War in the 1640s, unfortunately.
-That'll do it, yep.
The castle held by the Somerset family, Earls of Worcester, great supporters of King Charles.
Besieged here for 11 weeks by the New Model Army and the parliamentarians.
Held out, eventually surrendered, and then the parliamentarians collapsed two sides of this
tower so it couldn't be used again. Raglan remained a ruin ever since.
So 200 years of castle building and aggrandisement is
-finished in a matter of weeks during the Civil War.
-Never the same again.
-And thus it has remained.
A very beautiful ruin at that.
One of the finest in Wales.
As the sun sets over the Monmouthshire hills,
it marks the end of our first day's property search.
David and Wendy want to swap this for a slice of this, and who can blame them?
Armed with a budget of £500,000, they're desperate to relocate to Monmouthshire before they retire.
But having moved every couple of years for the past two decades,
we're going to have to find some majestic properties.
It's a big Lord of the Rings, isn't it?
And they might mean business.
I think it's a very, very generously priced property.
I think David should be getting his chequebook out!
For our first property today, we're hopping over the border into Gloucestershire,
to the village of Alvington, just a 20-minute drive from Monmouth.
From here, the spoils of the Wye Valley are right on your doorstep,
and it's just a mile's walk from the local pub in neighbouring Aylburton,
with red sandstone properties a trademark of the area, and a pretty Victorian church.
What's more, the stone is an appealing feature of our next property.
OK, let's start our final day's house-hunting with this one.
-Looks very nice.
-Not bad, is it?
Much converted over the last 10 years by the current owners.
But there is one key thing to bear in mind as we go through on the tour.
You see this long sloping roof here. There are plans that have been drawn up and passed
to extend the whole thing out above that, to give you an extra three or four bedrooms above.
With en-suites and so forth. But who knows, maybe you don't need it? Let's have a look.
So with all the main work done, but the chance to expand if they
want to, let's check out the inside, and see if they get that warm glow from this character cottage.
How about that for a front door?
It's some size, isn't it?
Well done, David. Right.
Let's start in here.
One of the reception areas that this house can offer you. What do you think?
I think it's lovely, really nice.
I know light is a thing for you, Wendy.
It's beautifully decorated, but a change of colour would let more light in, certainly.
It would, but I actually like the colour.
-It's got a nice feel about it.
-Yeah? Good. Feeling is all-important.
It's got to feel right. So that's a good start. Let's continue.
Follow me through here.
Now, coming back to this idea of this extension that would go above us now.
that would give quite a few extra bedrooms.
The idea being that you would replace these two bedrooms down here,
so you'd release them to be studies or whatever you want them to be.
You could have a good old explore of these a bit later.
But just to put that in your mind.
There we are, Wendy.
-Yeah, you've got your island!
Really good kitchen diner, this.
-It's a good size.
-It's terrific, and very comfortable, too.
Huge sofa over there.
And these two double doors going out to the patio and the decking beyond.
It's nice and light in here, as well.
Yeah. The dining table there, again, I would suspect that would be your everyday kind of thing.
But we do have a separate dining room for you across the hallway.
Come and have a look at this. This is quite special.
Wow, those chairs!
They are amazing, aren't they?
Very grand, all this, really.
It's a bit Lord of the Rings, isn't it?
Whether you keep this as a dining room, or you use it as a separate study, it would work
-either way. I get the sense this would be your little domain.
-It could be, yeah!
Right, let's go out there.
Tucked away off the entrance hall, there's also a nice cloakroom with a WC.
They certainly seem impressed by the generous rooms downstairs,
so let's head upstairs and see if they do actually need to build those extra bedrooms.
This is the master bedroom as it is currently configured.
Again, like the rest of the house, suitably opulent in the way it's furnished.
-Very rich, very lavish, very warm, I think. But you don't have an en-suite, of course.
But the family bathroom is literally right next door.
Up here, it's just this bedroom and a tiny box room across the corridor.
So again, making sense of these plans to extend, if you did want
an extra four bedrooms, with two en-suites, that's what's on offer.
In terms of size of what you've seen so far, the house without the extension,
-would it work for you?
-Yes, I think it would.
And we've got the box room for clothes and storage.
That's what the current owner is using it for, really, a walk-in wardrobe.
So really, it's just you up here.
OK. Let's go outside and explore some land for you.
I'm delighted they feel the house is large enough for them, as it is, and I'm very excited,
because outside there's the land, which I think will suit David down to the ground.
Come through here, David.
Master of all you survey - look at this!
-Can you see these three paddocks here?
There's a menage at the end.
All of that's yours. All in all, about three acres.
-Gosh, that's a lot!
-It's a lot.
-Is it too much?
-No, it's not.
-There's no such thing as too much!
-Exactly, you can't have too much.
And of course, you've got that lovely little brook.
-It's a lovely setting, it really is.
-I hate to use the word "perfect", but it's getting close.
-Use it! Use perfect, please!
Lovely, very nice, yeah.
Let's have a think about the price, shall we? What do you think, Wendy?
-I think we're over budget this time.
I think perhaps 550, even in excess of that.
-I'd probably even go above Wendy. Maybe 575.
That's very interesting, actually.
-It was on the market for 575 - it's now on the market for 475.
-I think David should be getting his chequebook out!
Well, don't do it just yet, go and have an explore, see what you get, and enjoy!
I'll catch up with you later! Off you go.
Well under budget at £475,000, this property looks like it's in the running, giving Wendy and David
two reception rooms with those lovely stone fireplaces.
An enormous kitchen diner, which Wendy loved.
Three bedrooms with planning permission for more, should they wish to build upwards.
And more than 2.5 acres of land
for David's alpacas and the rest of their menagerie.
Along with their own brook!
So what do you think about the land?
I think it's excellent. It's just what we want - plenty of space,
it's got the brook, which will bring the wildlife in.
In the summer it'll be fantastic.
And with three acres, and the paddocks, it's going to have
plenty of room for some alpacas and some donkeys and some sheep.
I think the house is lovely. I think you've brought us to somewhere that we could easily make a home.
It just feels very relaxed in here, and comfortable.
What do you think of this room?
It's not a bad size for a single bedroom.
We've got the option to go upstairs if we want to.
The house is great. It offers us what we want.
There's plenty of room as it is at the moment.
When Jules told us the price, I was absolutely flabbergasted.
I couldn't believe that it was under budget, and
it just makes it a serious contender, I think, for both of us.
It's definitely a 9.5 out of 10, from our perspective, it's probably a 10.5, so...
I think this has all gone rather well, you know.
Ah, there you are. Out you come, Wendy, grab the door, David.
I should think you are. Great price, great house.
Certainly is, yeah.
Keep thinking about it!
Wales is proud of its well-preserved past, with over 120 protected historic sites across the country.
And more recently, it has also championed its food heritage.
Monmouthshire has more than 100 local food producers across the county,
and is home to one of Britain's finest food festivals, held in Abergavenny every September.
And the town's weekly market is a real draw for people from the surrounding valleys.
David and Wendy are meeting town guide Sandi Gosden to get a taste of what's on offer.
So you've come to see our wonderful market?
We had a campaign in 2001 to keep out
the big fast food people, and we've succeeded, they're still not here,
so local people buy local food, and it's all in the market here.
-Would you like to come and have a look?
-Thank you, yes.
This thriving market dates back to Norman times, and among the locally
made jams and regional cheeses, there are some meat faggots to get their taste buds going.
-Mm! That's lovely!
As well as celebrating its local food producers,
Abergavenny has also conserved its architectural treasures.
The remains of its Norman motte and bailey castle still stand,
as does the restored 12th-century tithe barn.
St Mary's Priory Church is another of the town's well-preserved gems.
Inside, among the tombs of medieval dignitaries is this mysterious figure.
This is Jesse. This is made of one solid piece of oak.
And it shows Jesse, who was the father of King David, and it would originally have shown the lineage of
Christ, would have had a tall piece in the middle,
and would've had the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus on the top.
It's said to be one of the finest pieces of medieval sculpture.
-It is excellent, isn't it?
-It's beautiful, isn't it? It really is.
And very precious to Abergavenny!
With all this potentially on their doorstep,
Abergavenny would be a superb local haunt for Wendy and David.
Our final property is just a few miles away, the mystery house.
Any ideas, Wendy, as to what we might have lined up for you?
I think you're going to probably give us a project of some sort.
-I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of a Welsh chapel or something!
You did say you didn't want that.
I know, and it would scare Wendy to death.
That would be very unkind, to give you a chapel.
I know the mystery property is always challenging.
Well, this one is no exception.
But I think you might like it.
Well, I'll be able to enlighten you soon enough, David.
Our mystery house is a ten-minute drive from Abergavenny
in the village of Llanvihangel Crucorney.
Its location is idyllic, set right on the edge of the Black Mountains,
and with Skirrid mountain rising up impressively nearby.
It's got all they could want from a quiet Welsh village,
reputedly the oldest pub in Wales and a mix of eye-catching properties.
So, time to see if they like what we've lined up for them.
Right, the mystery house.
-In the rain.
-You said you didn't want a chapel. We haven't got you a chapel.
-We have got you a barn conversion.
Just remind us all of your thoughts on barn conversions.
They all tend to be open plan, so...
Have you seen many?
-No, I've never seen one.
Now then! How the wise have spoken!
So, here's your chance. If you've never seen one, this is a great place to start.
-Maybe this is the barn to convert you.
Will it change your mind, I wonder?
-Let's have a look, come on.
Even though this is new territory for Wendy, I'm pretty sure that when
she sees inside our mystery barn, those preconceptions will fly right out of the window.
Come on. This is an induction into barn conversions.
-It is, it looks lovely.
-What do you think?
-Come and have a look at this.
Yeah, it's lovely and cosy.
It really is nice.
Nice little wood burner there. Underfloor heating.
Nice big window over there and one in the corner.
Let's follow the floor and the heating through to here,
because, Wendy, you wanted a big kitchen with an island.
There you go.
-This is more like an island with a kitchen!
Well, indeed. It's pretty good.
-You've excelled yourself.
Well, you can't not love it, can you?
-And I think you get the idea that it really has been done to a fantastic standard.
-Yeah, it's beautiful.
Let's continue through here, because, again, as dining rooms go,
kitchen diners go, this is quite exciting and it makes the best of those views. Look at that.
Fantastic view out there.
As a space, I think this is all rather good.
And again, although you've got this sort of free-flowing feel to it, Wendy,
does it worry you?
No, not at all, I love it.
I knew. Have a look at this.
Just round the corner there's another room which could be a perfect little retreat for Wendy.
And there's yet another surprise.
Look, it goes on. How about this for your guests?
-This is for the guests?
-This is for the guests, yeah.
-Anywhere else, this would be a great master.
You've got a little en-suite, plenty of room for the bed, loads of light and storage.
-Again, pretty generous dressing area over there.
-This is for me when I've misbehaved.
Well, you could have it as a bit of a den.
If you just took the bed out, then it's another study if you wanted it.
I think I could move here tomorrow.
You could, it's up for sale!
It's great. So, this is guests.
Let's find somewhere for you. Come and have a look at this.
If any barn will make Wendy change her mind, it'll be this one.
It's a fantastic conversion, completed some seven years ago and
with no expense spared, from its oak timbers to slate flooring.
Let's go upstairs and look at the other three of the four bedrooms.
One is just large enough to be a double, and the other a bright single with exposed beams.
But time to take a peek at the master.
There. This is for you two, the master.
It's a good size.
-It's a lovely room, it's nice and bright.
-It's lovely and light.
Really bright. Now, I know you had a thing about beams, Wendy.
-Do these beams work for you?
They do, yes, they're not too dark and I think the wood's beautiful.
You're gradually converting me.
Good! Have a look in here, this is great.
Very well-appointed en-suite for you.
-Yeah? So, you're happy with the house?
-Happy with the house and the location, actually.
And if Wendy's happy with the house, you're happy with the house?
-So, we need to get you happy with the land.
-Right, let's go and have a look. Brave the weather.
Wendy might be holding back a bit with her emotions, but I'm pleased
she's delighted with what she's seen.
Outside, the paddock comes in at around an acre, so David can hobby farm on a manageable scale
to his heart's content, while enjoying the wonderful views.
There we are, look, Monmouthshire, in the mist!
Not bad, though, is it?
-Imagine that on a nice sunny day, or a crisp winter's morning.
Even on a day like today, though, it's still a beautiful view. You just can't beat it, can you?
And of course the key thing, though, is that, which I love.
It's just really nicely done.
It is, it's perfect, actually.
-Yes, I'm converted.
-You're converted to the barn conversion, hurrah!
Well, if nothing else, we've achieved that, which is great. David, you're happy with it?
-Oh yeah, very happy with it, yes.
-There's enough land, and if Wendy loves the house, that's the key to it, really.
Well, the final bit of the jigsaw, then, is going to be the price.
I think it's over budget again.
I think maybe a bit lower, I think 525.
525 would be pretty amazing, I would say.
If it was 525, could you stretch to that? Would you think about stretching to that?
Yeah, we'd definitely think about stretching to that, yes.
OK. So, you'd definitely think about it if it was £450,000?
-Look at your face!
Yep, it really is £450,000.
-Give it to the lady in the black coat!
Sold to the lady in the black coat, brilliant!
Look, I'm not going to delay this any longer.
Go away, go and have a good look around, soak it up, move in.
-Off you go. Brilliant.
That's the thing I love about Escape To The Country - when it all works you really can put a broad smile
on your buyers' faces, as we have just done.
£450,000 for this is an absolute snip, and it fits them like a glove.
So, our mystery barn has hit the jackpot.
Not only is it a whopping £50,000 under budget, but it's done to an impeccably high spec,
featuring three reception rooms, a large modern country kitchen, four bedrooms with master en-suite,
and an acre of land for David's small herd of animals,
surrounded by fabulous scenery.
What do you think about the house now?
I think it's beautiful. I don't think you can fault it, really.
It's just in a perfect location, and
it's just been designed, and there's been so much thought put into it.
Hey, don't be silly.
I think it's lovely as well, so there's no point in getting upset.
I feel emotional because hopefully this is going to be
our last move, and to be in such a beautiful location
is just beyond...
my wildest dreams.
It's a wonderful house, there's nothing I can say to criticise it, it's perfect in every way.
And, yeah, I think Wendy, because it's our final move, hopefully our
final move, Wendy's really fallen in love with it straight away.
I'd just love to live here.
Well, that's it, chaps, I'm afraid.
House tour of the mystery house is over.
In fact, all of our house tours are now over.
Do you feel like it's been a bit of an ordeal?
It's been a bit of a journey.
A bit of a journey?! I think you rather liked this one, didn't you?
Yeah, it's blown me away, actually.
Caught you a bit by surprise?
Ah, bless you. Let's go and get you somewhere where you can have a good old think about it,
warm up a bit, and we'll have a chat about everything we've shown you, see what you think. Yeah? Come on.
Wendy and David's incredible property search is at an end,
and it's time for them to catch their breath and have a serious think about where to go from here.
Well, Wendy and David are having a good old think about all that we've shown them.
She said it had been quite a journey. More, I think, an emotional roller-coaster.
They have had a lot to think about,
We've shown them some fantastic properties, but, as ever, the choice is up to them.
Which one will it be, I wonder?
Well, chaps, here we are. Our final conversation of the week, to bring our house tours to a close.
It all started with, I thought, a very charming little cottage in amongst the Roman ruins.
-What did you make of that one?
-The house was in...
a good spot, but I think, for me, it was too open, and, although it
was in a village, I didn't feel it was a village community.
Hmm, interesting. David?
I really liked the cottage.
It didn't offer us quite what we wanted.
A nice kitchen but a bit too small, and it didn't have the land that I was really looking for.
OK. Well, we brought you back from the end of our first day's house hunt, fed you, watered you,
put you to bed, and woke you up for our final day, which began, I think, with a quite interesting property.
What did you think of that one, Wendy, when we got there?
It worked, in a way, for me. It had quite a lot of space inside, lovely
kitchen, and the acreage outside and the position were very pleasing.
I was quite taken by that property because it offered us everything we wanted.
-I think you said it was perfect?
-It was 10.5 out of 10!
-Yes, indeed! Now then, you said, "Get your chequebook out."
-Yes, I did.
-Well, certainly a great property, and I think you had almost made your minds up.
-We certainly had, yes.
But of course there was one more to come, the mystery house.
Well, I don't like barn conversions, but you're talking to the converted now.
It was fantastic, that house. Erm...
Are you all right? It's clearly a little bit overwhelming, isn't it,
in some respects? David, what did you think?
I thought that the mystery house was there to challenge us, and that's what it certainly did.
It completely turned our feelings upside down,
which was great for me because I did love it, it was a lovely house, and, most importantly for me,
Wendy fell in love with the property even before she'd walked through the front door, really.
Let's cut to the chase, shall we, because it's tradition at this point to say, what happens next?
But I think we all know what's going to happen next.
Yes, we want to see the property again tomorrow, but we
have no questions about the property or the land.
I think the thing with coming these last few days is you really have no idea what your money will buy, and
you hope it will buy your dream, and in reality it's actually bought our dream and more.
Well, I have to say I'm absolutely delighted that we've been able to find you, I think genuinely,
your dream property, in a great spot,
for the right price and you're able to move in tomorrow, potentially.
So I wish you the very best of luck with your second viewing.
I hope your offer, if you make one, is accepted. I'm sure it will be.
And I wish you all the very best of luck. Cheers, guys.
-Thank you for all your help this week. It's been great.
Well, how about that, then?
The mystery house has delivered once again, and in the process has provided
one of the most emotional responses to any house tour I think I've ever seen
on Escape To The Country.
But I have to confess, when we set out on our house search with David and Wendy,
the idea of trying to satisfy a couple
who've moved every couple of years in their 17-year relationship, well, it did seem pretty daunting.
But, as it is, it looks like Wendy may have ended up with the house of her dreams in a property, a barn,
that she could never, ever have dreamt of living in.
It just goes to prove the old adage that good property always sells.
I'll see you next time.
And the good news is that Wendy and David have had their offer accepted
on our mystery barn, so they should be moving in some time soon.
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Jules Hudson is in Monmouthshire helping a couple with a budget of £500,000 find some rural peace and space for pigs, chickens and alpacas. There are tears of happiness when the house buyers' barn aversion becomes the barn conversion of their dreams.