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If I were to ask you, "What did the Romans ever do for us?"
You may say, "Well, Jules, they gave us roads, amongst other things."
But the inhabitants of this county would probably disagree,
because hidden beneath my feet here in this glorious park
are the remains of the world's oldest man-made causeway.
So stick around as we take a very well-trodden path for today's
Escape To The Country.
On today's show, I'll be helping a couple with big natural ambitions
find their very own land of plenty in the country.
Must-haves in terms of land are 10-30 acres.
And they've high hopes of making big bucks.
We want to create a business that can turn over £100,000 plus.
But can they see the wood for the trees with our mystery house?
Today we're in Somerset and these extensive reed beds behind me
are part of the Shapwick Heath Nature Reserve, and this causeway that I'm trying to negotiate
is known as the Sweet Track.
This is a reconstruction of many that have been found here,
dating back to 3800 BC.
But the good news is that for today's trawl through the West Country,
we've got some bigger roads than that.
Commanding an enviable position on the south-western arm of England,
Somerset's ancient landscape varies hugely across the county.
From Cheddar Gorge,
with its spectacular limestone cliffs and caves,
to the grass wetlands of the Somerset Levels,
crowned by Glastonbury Tor,
which as the reputed Avalon of Arthurian legend
is an ever-popular place of pilgrimage.
Despite over 16 million visits
made by tourists to the county every year, Somerset's towns and villages
keep their integrity intact,
thanks to their distinctive local architecture,
from the blue lias stone buildings of Somerton
to Martock, built from ham stone.
As a result, there are rich pickings when it comes to seeking out
a perfect property in these rural pastures.
Here in the West Country,
property prices run around about 8% above the national average,
which means your average detached will set you back a cool £177,000.
Land? Well, that literally is like gold dust.
Nationally, land is outperforming gold in both real and current terms,
which means your average acre will set you back
anything between £5,000 to £10,000.
Add into the mix a gorgeous country house and you can see that you are
going to have to come down here with some pretty deep pockets.
But as ever, well, there's plenty on offer.
Spend top whack and £1.5 million and you'll get this five-bedroom,
Grade 2 listed manor house in Burrowbridge,
which exudes Georgian grandeur
and impeccable style throughout its interior.
And it's two for one here, with an additional two-bedroom barn
offering up a cool, contemporary space to chill out in.
All this set in 15 acres of impressive grounds.
On the market at just under £700,000 is this four-bedroom
barn conversion in Wedmore.
The high ceilings in the living room complement the exposed beams.
The open-plan kitchen and breakfast room leads up to a mezzanine snug.
Outside, the 1.5 acres of land look out on to open countryside.
£425,000 will buy you this renovated two-bedroom roundhouse
in Withiel Florey, originally built in the 1860s as two cottages.
Its curved walls are a running theme throughout its light,
bright bedrooms and living room,
with a colourful kitchen adding to its individual charm.
So if that lot has inspired you, well, you're in pretty good company,
because that is exactly why today's buyers want to make the West Country
their new home.
Ben, a head-hunter with a degree in conservation,
and Natasha, a company PA, along with six-month-old Troy,
are ready to ditch city living
and their flat in London and start a campsite business in Somerset.
We'd like to establish a campsite in the country.
I think a mixture of pre-erected tents, things like tepees,
I quite like the idea of wood-burning hot tubs,
ideally fed from spring water or something along those lines.
So that's the tubs, but what about the house?
Two reception rooms would be good,
one for us and one for Troy and all of his toys.
Large kitchen is quite important for me, because I like baking.
You love cooking, too, don't you?
Must-haves in terms of land are 10-30 acres.
And the location has to be right.
We're looking at two hours, maybe two and a half hours from London.
Ideally on a holiday sort of route.
Naturally, we have been looking towards Wiltshire, Somerset,
that sort of area.
So views and space are the driving factors with this one.
The setting's really important for us.
As idyllic as possible, ideally a mixture of woodland and water,
maybe a stream or some lakes.
And well-screened from the neighbours, something we don't get round here.
Yeah, it's important that we're a walk away from a village.
-Yeah, and a good pub.
-And a decent pub.
Now we've got Troy, at Christmas it would be great to have everyone over
and if we had an annexe or something.
But just having everyone under one roof,
where we can all spend Christmas together, would be great.
We are definitely hoping for a bit of a good life, try and grow
as much fruit and veg as we can, maybe have a few chickens and some eggs.
I'm actually a big fan of chillies, we've got about 12 different varieties now.
Tash bought me some different seeds for Christmas last year.
I'm not having a chance to grow them in our current garden,
but with any luck we can do that out in the country.
It seems that they have got it all planned out,
along with the finances.
The money from the sale of Natasha's flat will go towards the deposit
and they'll be letting out their flat.
So what's the budget for the move?
The budget for our new property is £800,000.
On the face of it, the kind of property that Ben and Natasha
are looking for sounds fairly straightforward -
three bedrooms, three reception rooms,
and all for a pretty healthy budget.
But throw into the mix this whole campsite idea,
this whole lifestyle change they're trying to take on,
and all of that within two and a half hours of London, that's going to be tricky.
This campsite's going to take a lot of planning and preparation and money.
I wonder... It's a tall order, this.
As Ben and Natasha have such a demanding brief, we are casting
our net wide to ensure we show them the best options on the market.
So with North Somerset at the heart of our search, we'll not be deterred
from looking across the borders to Wiltshire and East Devon.
I'll be showing them some enticing properties,
but as ever, I won't be revealing the price tag straight away.
And finally, there's the mystery house,
which will really test their passion for a project to the limit.
-Hi, guys, nice to see you.
Welcome to sunny Somerset, albeit a bit chilly first thing in the morning, but it should get warmer.
It's a great day to start looking at some houses.
-Whose idea was it, camping?
-It is something we've been looking at for some time.
It's something we enjoy doing ourselves
and I think the time's right for us as a family to make that change,
step out of London.
Well, let's have a think about the budget,
because you are trying to bite off quite a big chunk
of the West Country.
What's the maximum, absolute maximum?
Well, if there was an existing business in place,
which I think in an ideal world that would be what we're looking for,
we could probably stretch it to £950,000.
If we are talking just land and house,
then around up to £750 - £800,000.
Above that would be a bit much.
How practical are you?
How much effort are you prepared to put in to actually create something
and get your hands dirty?
I think, ideally, that's what we'd like to do.
For us, it's the setting that's important.
So finding the right spot and then building on it from there.
I do hope we can get you what you're looking for.
It will be tough, we'll have to cover a fair few miles,
-but we're used to that sort of thing so let's see what we can find you.
Ben and Natasha's base budget comes at £800,000
for just the house and land, topping out at £950,000 for a property
with an established business.
Essentially, they're after:
on which to grow their campsite
and in a setting to die for,
The picture of this happy campsite with you two working from home
and Troy growing up, running around and enjoying the constant change of people coming and going
and the seasons, I mean, it's a very romantic idea.
It is, I think it could be very idyllic.
If we can make it work.
It will be hard work, let's not forget that.
It's going to be all hands on deck and a lot of work
to get where we want it to be.
Our first house is in a great location in the village
of West Lydford, around two and a half hours' drive from London.
Set in beautiful countryside and with the likes of Wells
and Glastonbury close by, it's well located for their camping business,
with practical amenities and local charm.
Its church is surrounded by a cluster of attractive properties
and the local stone is a feature of this one.
What do you reckon?
It's quite pretty, from the outside.
The core of it, that's about 1725, and this is a feature of Somerset,
blue lias, this stone that you've got.
On the right there, those four windows are a new extension.
In the last ten years, it's been doubled in size basically.
Blends in quite nicely, doesn't it?
The setting's not quite perhaps as I'd pictured it,
proximity to the road and neighbours.
One of the things you're interested in is a certain sense of isolation,
but you also want a sense of community and a pub
and you really want to get involved in the local community.
So to a certain extent,
neighbours and so forth are sort of part of the territory,
certainly with this property anyway. Come on, let's have a look.
Let's see if they like the feel of the interior
as we go straight into the old part of the house.
In you come, grab the door, Ben.
There, what do you think on the inside?
-It's quite cosy.
-It's really cosy.
What about you, Natasha?
It's a bit small and it's a bit dark,
but it's the first room we've seen.
-Let's see how it goes.
-The fireplace is nice.
But if you want light and space, the dining room's through there.
Off you go, after you.
We're still in the old part of the property.
Do you get the sense, Natasha, that it gets a bit lighter as we go through?
Let's continue through here.
Downstairs is deceptively large
and, as we'll see, is a perfect blank canvas.
I think in this third reception room,
things get a lot more contemporary.
And this is the new extension.
Not only a whole new reception room here, but above us,
a purpose-built study for two.
Which I'm going to let you two explore on your own, later on.
Is this the sort of layout that would appeal?
A think so.
Obviously, it's not necessarily all to our taste.
It'll only take a lick of paint. It's in good condition, really well made.
Who's the real interior designer here?
Yeah, let's not talk about that.
-It's a team effort.
OK, one team, one dream, brilliant.
I'm glad they're starting to appreciate the space on offer
in the three reception rooms.
And the kitchen definitely builds on that.
OK, Natasha, come on in.
How about this?
It's nice, it's very new.
It's another addition to this property.
We've got one over there and this one as well.
It gives you loads of light and space.
I think as kitchen-diners go,
it's one of the lightest that one would see.
-I like this a lot.
-It is lovely.
Very generous utility room through that door as well, with a downstairs loo in it.
It's a nice space, isn't it?
I mean it's all finished to a really high spec.
Time to head upstairs and check out the four potential bedrooms,
which include a large, light double
with a bright, modern family bathroom next door.
There's also a quiet space to retreat to in the attic
with views over the garden.
But will they like the master bedroom?
Wow, look at all this.
There's all this. Oh, look, you see, Natasha's come to life.
Loads of storage. And then this is your master.
Very nice, it's a perfect size.
And a really cool en suite. Have a look in there, Ben, open that door.
His and hers, there you go.
Have a look.
Yeah, that is really nice, nice having an en suite.
-Pretty cool, huh?
-Lovely big shower.
And there's even more cupboard space in the room next door.
Now then, it's not often you get a master bedroom with its own
very generous dressing room. How much clobber have you got?
-Enough to fill a dressing room.
Enough to fill a dressing room!
-Whatever you want it to be, but it's here.
-This could be Troy's room.
-Could be, actually, great nursery, attached to you.
-It would be a nice dressing room!
Finally, this house is winning them over,
with plenty of space to accommodate their family
and fulfil Natasha's dream of Christmases spent together.
With the house covered, let's step outside
to take a closer look at the land.
"At last," you're thinking, the great outdoors.
The more formal gardens and lawn wrap around the house
so Troy can run around to his heart's content
while they take five on the patio.
Set away from the house is a double garage and a large hay shed,
definitely useful storage space
for tents and other components for their business.
Down to the field now
to check out the land and meet some new furry friends.
Look at these fellows.
-They're great, aren't they?
-They're so curious. I love alpacas.
Amazing, aren't they?
All in all, it's about four acres.
-So it's not the 10 or the 30 that I know you have thought about.
But it gives you a sense to get an idea of what four acres looks like.
What are your thoughts on setting, as such?
My gut feel is that this is not going to work, I don't think.
There's not enough features. It would take too long to put in lakes.
And by the time they mature...
I mean, how much do you think you need to turn over to make this work?
Ultimately, we want to create a business
that could turn over £100,000 plus.
And it'll take a little bit more than four acres.
Let's have a think about what we are up against in terms of the market.
Because the price of this I think will be quite an interesting factor
in determining how you progress through what else we can show you.
Make me an offer, Natasha.
Oh, crikey. Yep, it's a very cheeky guess. Go on.
Yeah, I think that is a little on the cheeky side.
But I would say it's probably closer to 765.
765. OK, it's actually on the market for 835.
It probably says a lot about the area as well, I would imagine.
This part of Somerset is much sought-after. There is a nice geography to it.
Go and have a good look around, go and get sense of what we're against financially, I'll see you later.
-Off you got.
I'm going to go and talk to these alpacas in a minute(!)
Brilliant. Well, there we are,
it is all about location, as we like to say in the game,
but this one is really tricky because their requirements are so specific.
Finding this other world,
this other life within a beautiful corner of Somerset
is going to be pretty tricky, despite a pretty healthy budget.
This house is all about location and on the market at £835,000,
would give them quality over quantity.
And, as they've never run a business like this, it's a manageable size
It's also got four acres of land for a potential campsite,
subject to planning permission,
which depends on the neighbours,
the landscape and highway safety.
So will the quality of the setting outweigh the quantity of the land?
I was a bit surprised by the price. It was a bit of a shock to me.
But, it's a lovely area as well so you have to take that into consideration.
It's nice and light up here, lots of storage space.
A smart desk. It's nice view out.
The window's lovely.
Yeah, I can see us using this.
I think it's a beautiful house, very well presented.
It clearly has been done up to a very high spec but without the land,
without the correct size of acreage, we're not going to be able
to develop a business big enough to be able to pay for it.
-While I've been thinking about this house, you two are sat here enjoying yourselves.
-It is a nice day.
Isn't it a nice day? Plenty more to do, mate.
Let's go and see some more.
As Ben has a degree in conservation
and both are passionate about nature, they could not have picked
a better area for their campsite
but the Somerset Levels are not just a nature reserve.
It was through their rivers that the county's wealth grew.
They're meeting council officer Alex Sherman in Langport
to find out more about the symbiotic relationship between this town
and the River Parrett.
This river really is central to the success of Langport growing as a town.
Originally it was known as a cloth producing town in medieval times
but more recently it was successful in its trade for corn, salt and timber.
"Langport" means "long market place"
and by the 18th century, the town was indeed a thriving commercial hub.
So much so that the local Stuckey family founded Stuckey's Bank
in 1770, becoming the country's second largest
after the Bank of England.
Somerset people had a saying that they'd trust the Somerset bank
as much as they'd trust storing money in their old sock
and maybe that is something we could teach bankers today.
Another historic sign wealth lies a couple of miles outside the town
at the medieval remains of Muchelney Abbey.
Along with educating the locals on farming practices,
Benedictine monks were very commercially savvy
with location being key when it came to building their monasteries.
Some intriguing features remain, despite its unfortunate demise.
Well, the abbey was destroyed in the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538 that was led by Henry VIII.
But you can see the care and attention that has been spent
on the site, with the richly decorated cloister walk
and the thatched lavatories for the monks are the only example
of its kind in England.
So just as in medieval times, it's all about location
and as far as Ben and Natasha go,
they couldn't have picked a better area to start their business.
Our search for the perfect place continues
just over the Wiltshire border in the hamlet of Brokerswood,
a 2½ drive from London, so still within limits.
As well as a welcoming pub close by,
their happy campers could feel at one with nature in the 120 acres
of woodland within its country park
and I've got high hopes that the acreage
on offer with our next property could give them the business turnover they're looking for.
OK, our second port of call.
Come on in, guys, here we are.
-What do you think?
The only issue from your point of view probably
is the neighbours right there.
In terms of what we're trying to find you,
the market is really tough at the moment
but I think the land this offers is quite interesting
which is why we're starting this house tour differently.
We'll start outside.
Let's walk the turf, passing through a wonderful orchard with apple trees,
which could act as a natural screen from the neighbours.
But the land earmarked for the campsite lies beyond.
This is a really, really useful paddock.
In terms of your casual campers, you know.
It is fairly flat. It's good.
There is access from the lane up there, too.
Right, let's go and have a look at that house.
Let's go and get creative
and see what kind of project you want to take on.
Come and have a look at this.
Now there is even more land to tempt them with later
but now I've whet their appetite with what's on offer,
let's head back to the house and see
whether they feel they could put their mark on the interior.
All right, come on in, we'll start in here.
The main living room, I suppose, one would say.
-Lots of this pine cladding everywhere.
I think really what we're looking at is updating more than anything
but the key thing to think about is the space.
Yeah, the size.
Time to cross the hallway and see if the kitchen measures up.
-There, what do you reckon?
-Well, it's nice and big.
Yes, I think this is one of the rooms that really sells this house,
actually, to be fair.
That through their is the extension, about 40 years old or so.
-But in terms of the size and space?
-Yeah, it's a lovely size, isn't it?
-It's not bad, actually.
-I am waiting to see what other land there is but so far, so good.
Yeah, OK, good.
Well, there is the upstairs to come and a bit more land.
They do seem eager to press on so let's head upstairs to check out
the four bedrooms, one large enough to be a double for guests,
a single room, possibly for Troy and a small room
currently set up as a study.
There is also a bright family bathroom with another
a bit more public in our next room.
And then, this is the master.
It's a nice size.
It's a good size.
This is interesting, though, this is the en suite.
The only thing is, of course,
it's something to share, this one, clearly!
I'm not sure how you feel about the open-plan en suite?
I suspect Natasha would rip it out and make it into a clothes room.
-A dressing room.
-A dressing room!
Last but not least, a bit more land.
We've already seen, what? Six acres or so.
How much more have we got, I wonder.
Come with me, plenty more.
They do seem geared up to the idea of putting their own mark
on this place but it's clear that what they really want is land.
A short stroll up the lane, there's another plot
that could be used for camping
or to put up some more permanent structures in the future.
So last, but not least, is this bit.
Well, I say bit, there, let's go in. Come and have a look.
This is about 13 acres. So all in, it's 19 acres.
With a bit of planting, a bit of management, etc, etc,
in terms of the long-term plan in developing something from nothing,
this is quite a nice piece of land, actually.
It could be good. It could be quite interesting.
So, let's have a think about the money.
Are you going to go first this time?
It's a lot of land but the house needs a bit of work.
I would guess somewhere in the region of £760,000.
-725... Well, it does begin with a 7, it does begin with a 7, OK.
So actually, you weren't far off.
Off you go, go and explore. I will catch up with you later.
Well, it has to be said, as house searches go,
this one is proving particularly difficult and here's the reason.
We're not actually looking for a house, we're looking for a landscape,
and that is the real trick here.
Finding this ideal enchanted campsite with a house thrown in
is a real mission.
Under budget at £785,000,
this property, in their words,
certainly has potential,
offering them -
and 19 acres providing a diverse setting for their camping business
subject to planning permission.
But could the proximity of the neighbours be a stumbling block?
The house is nice, the gardens are lovely and I really like the orchard
but it's just the plot of land I don't think is quite right for us.
What do you think? I'm sure we could do something with it.
I was kind of expecting a lake, not a pond!
That's true, but we could perhaps extend it,
we'd certainly need to dig it out.
The house itself, once you come inside,
there's a lot of potential here.
I think if the land had a mixture of woodland and a bit more water,
then it would be pretty much on the money.
Well, that's it. The second property done and dusted.
A little bit weary.
Time for a glass of wine and some supper, I think.
Make a wish!
As the sun sets over the South West,
the first day of our house search draws to a close.
With a top budget of £950,000, we're on a quest to find Ben,
Natasha and baby Troy enough land in Somerset to fulfil
their ambitious campsite dream.
They've seen two properties but coming up, our mystery house
-could bring on cabin fever.
-Can we stay there?
Well, as you can see, the sun is still with us
on this, the final day of our house hunt here with Ben and Natasha.
Now to be honest, I think yesterday was a little bit frustrating.
We talked a lot about trying to find a lifestyle but in truth,
we are really trying to find something of a dream.
The idea of this magical and enchanted campsite
within two and a half hours of London.
Well, our final property is upon us, it is of course the mystery house.
As ever, it's designed to challenge our buyers.
And this one goes to the very heart of what I think this search is all about.
Just how far are they prepared to go to make their dream a reality?
So Jules, where are we off to today?
Well, today, it's mystery house time.
We are going a little way out of the window
that you were perhaps thinking of to try and get you something
which, I hope, will fit the bill a little more.
In order to show them something different,
we're crossing over the Somerset border for our mystery house
to the village of Bampton in Devon,
somewhere they would never have considered.
Although it's a three and a half hour drive from London,
it still has holiday appeal, set on the edge of Exmoor National Park
with the independent shops in Dulverton making it a great place to stock up on supplies.
Our mystery house is a one-off opportunity
which comes with its very own spectacular landscape
set in a conservation area.
OK, the mystery house, Natasha, what do you think?
Not bad, not bad so far. Nice size.
It's brand new, pretty much.
It is, to some extent, work in progress.
As you can probably tell from the outside,
it really is a blank canvas in the true sense of the word.
Let's have a think about context,
this dreamy, Narnian world of camping that you're planning on.
One thing we haven't seen in any of the other properties
is a sense of geography, OK.
What we've got here is a house slap-bang in the middle
of a 50-acre quarry.
So if you were thinking of clients, and holidaymakers and so forth,
you can squirrel them away without them being on top of you.
So let's dive inside and see if they can use their imagination
to put the finishing touches to the interior.
Right, in you come.
I say it is a work in progress, some bits are completely finished.
The staircase, as you can see.
It's a timber-framed building just clad on the outside.
And then this, as you can see,
the bare bones of a great big kitchen/diner.
-Perfect and by the looks of things, rather attractive views.
-Can I check out the view?
-We'll get to the view in a minute.
-You're holding us back!
Don't you worry, there are plenty of views to be had!
But, come on, Natasha, are you excited?
I'm very excited, yes.
-Can you see this working?
Come on, let's continue.
Leading off the kitchen is a separate dining room
which flows through to another reception room.
So off of the dining room from the kitchen, we have got
this huge living room which I think is really, really useful as a space.
It is a very nice size. It continues the views.
Well, it is gorgeous, isn't it?
And through here, purpose-built conservatory etc,
so you can make the best of it whatever the weather.
A smiley face, Natasha?
What wheels are turning?
I just want to see more, I can't wait to see the rest of it, so come on!
They are champing at the bit, these two,
so let's put them out of their misery and explore
the three bedrooms upstairs.
Now, upstairs is a little more finished than downstairs,
I guess you want it a bit more comfortable.
So there's carpet and so on and so forth.
This is the master.
Wow. Look at the view.
Yeah? Little junior balcony there,
offering you views right across east Devon.
In has got the alpine chalet feel about it, hasn't it, really?
Could you imagine waking up to that?
Not sure I'd want to get out of bed.
Well, you could lie in bed and just enjoy the view.
And it's also got a very generous en suite. Just poke your heads in there, have a quick look.
That is a good size.
That's really nice.
And another view.
Another amazing view.
Also off the landing is a similar bright, modern family bathroom,
along with a second large bedroom for Troy.
And there's a surprise in store next door.
So, this is bedroom three. Although it's got all this.
Something of a sort of holiday let, if you like.
In the short term, it could be useful for additional income whilst we get up and running.
You could use it while you're tricking up the kitchen.
That looks like a nice little spot out there.
It might be a travesty to give it away to somebody else.
Well, that's a great spot, you know, it really gives this house another layer outside.
But it's something for you to ponder, this particular room,
but it is technically a bedroom, but it leads onto this.
I think this is really interesting.
There, what a day as well. Great day to enjoy this place.
As you say, that alpine feel comes through here, doesn't it?
-That's a stunning view.
-Isn't it? It is great.
And it's a great spot actually to get some sense of this 50-odd acres.
You can see the top of the quarry, there's a track above that.
And it goes off to, you see that deciduous woodland up there?
That's all yours.
It comes right down, can you see that green clump of woodland?
That's your boundary that way.
And then the bulk of everything is over there,
the best part of 30-odd acres that way.
Managing this stuff is an important part of taking on this property.
The other thing to point out at this stage is the level of conservation
that the current owner has been able to instil here.
The trees are growing up, the plant life's coming,
we've got badgers in here, foxes, deer. It is a really important site.
I mean frankly, that's something we would be very keen to continue.
I mean, I've got a conservation background.
Not that I've had a chance to practise it in Central London.
-Now is your chance!
-Now's your chance, yeah.
It's great that they are up for a grand conservation project,
but if they are feeling lost in the wilderness
when it comes to getting their business going, they needn't fear.
This, I think you're going to find really interesting.
Check this out.
Look at that!
A little log cabin.
Very nice log cabin, actually.
It is currently generating quite a decent income.
OK, so they've got an existing holiday-let business?
Yeah, in fact, there are two of these.
One's down here, one is up there. You can explore that one on your own later.
Currently, the two are operating about 60% of the year.
They're not really pushing it,
about 20 grand a year is coming in from these.
-So the weekly cost is anything between £400 to £700.
-It's a great base, it's a really good base.
-Come and have a look at it.
It looks like a sturdy cabin.
It's great, yeah, really is sturdy. Nicely appointed, as you will see.
Look at this, imagine coming here on holiday.
-That's great, isn't it?
-That is really good. He has done a good job on this.
Great quality, really nice.
Kitchenette there, bathroom there, bedroom etc.
You know, so, it is all here.
-Can we have a look?
-Yeah, go on, off you go.
I'll leave you to it, I'll meet you outside.
Well, I am absolutely delighted.
I've left them in there enjoying this wonderful lodge.
If nothing else, this entire 50-acre site,
I hope, will have given Ben and Natasha the right sort of idea
as to how their life down here may take shape if they're able to pull it off.
But this is a really, really interesting spot.
-A second bedroom, it's a really nice size.
-It's good, isn't it?
-It was a complete surprise, I wasn't expecting this at all.
-Out you come, did you enjoy that?
-That's great. Can we stay there?!
Take your pick! You've got this one and of course the other one at the top of the hill
-which I'll get you to look at.
-That was a real surprise.
It's building a picture as to what life may entail.
Yeah, and it's a stunning spot, it really is.
Well, we have really only touched the surface.
But notwithstanding that, I will get you to guess the price. It's going to be quite a challenge,
because you have only seen a bit of it, but take it from me,
there's a lot more to this place than meets the eye.
How much do you want it?
It's got to be at the top of our budget.
I'm going to stick my neck out and say around 950...965.
-I'll put it out there.
-965, top end. Natasha?
Well, I was going to go a lot lower, 875?
875. If it was 875, that would be brilliant, wouldn't it?
-That would be amazing.
-That would be good.
-If it were 775, it would be perfect.
-That would be very interesting.
The only obvious issue for you is how you take this forward
with the local authorities and the planners.
Where do we sign?!
Well, listen, you have got a lot of research to do on this one.
We have to speak to the authorities.
Yeah, but I think it's one that should definitely be
at the top of your list.
And there's promising news,
as the current owner has already cleared a one-acre site
and is seeking planning approval to put up yurts in the future.
So have we hit the jackpot?
Under budget at 775, our mystery property would give them
views in every direction and an incredible 50 acres of woodland
set in a conservation area
with existing holiday lets,
giving them a stable income of around £20,000 a year.
I like the house a lot. The situation is fantastic. It is a very fair price.
There are a few issues that I need to overcome or address with the planners.
This I can really see potentially as the property for us.
The location is great and it's beautiful. The views are amazing.
It's three and a half hours out of London, so it's further than we've been looking.
But when you get here, it's well worth the extra journey.
I mean it's beautiful.
Eleven out of ten, I think.
-Can you imagine bringing Troy up here?
We'd need to Troy-proof it, but as he gets older he's going to love it.
Troy-proof it did I hear?! What a place, though, he's going to love growing up here.
Imagine him wheeling around on his quad bike.
Indeed, if this is the place, I wonder, we've shown you a lot,
we've travelled a lot.
Let's go and sit down and have a chat about the rest of your lives.
I'm passionate about preserving our architectural landscape,
and the West Country serves up some distinctive gems in its churches,
many of which are in danger of perishing.
These unusual squatting creatures are known locally as hunky punks.
And during the week, the historian Peter Poyntz Wright took me
to the church in the village of Isle Abbots to find out the story
behind some of these decorative figures.
-What are we looking at? That one on the left looks extraordinary.
-That is a Nanking dragon.
-What sort of date are we talking about?
-1520 or thereabouts.
The Chinese silk route had been set up for 200 years by then
and silks and porcelain were coming in with those designs on them.
They do look very fragile, Peter.
-They are. There's a limited time left for them, 20/30 years.
-Really? That quickly.
But if we can find the money, help could be at hand,
and hunky punks may have a future.
Because the restoration skills are alive and well
at places like the Wells Cathedral Stonemasons works in Cheddar.
Ryan Brunt is one of its directors, and he's showing me around.
This is terrific, Ryan, this is exactly what I expected a busy stonemason's yard to look like.
You've got all kinds of stuff in here!
Quite familiar from many a church.
Are you restoring that or copying it?
This one's being restored, but we're also making another four.
So you really are investing
in techniques that haven't changed much in hundreds of years.
And the good news is that young people are taking up masonry apprenticeships,
among whom is artist and apprentice of the year, Samantha Peacock.
So what attracted her to stone in the first place?
It's a dextrous material, it's dynamic, you can do a lot with it.
You can carve, you can restore, you can do the banker masonry.
It is a very creative trade, it's brilliant.
And the finished article is living proof of the immense skill
and artistry needed.
This is gorgeous. This is presumably a new version of what we saw outside.
It's what we saw outside, yeah.
What do you call it?
This is a pinnacle.
Right, OK. This is a straight copy, but when you are restoring things,
do you come across ancient marks, ancient masons' marks?
Yeah, traditionally, a mason would put his mark
after he had finished a stone.
It's hidden, but when you come to replace it,
you'll take the stone off of it and there your mark will be.
So what's yours? You're a master mason, have you got a mark?
-I got mine tattooed on my arm!
-Brilliant, R for Ryan, of course.
-Well, it's been a really interesting insight, Ryan.
Thanks very much for showing me round.
Clearly, restoration is in good hands if we can find the money.
Ben and Natasha's epic property search is at an end.
And I think we've given them a lot of different options to mull over.
The show is very nearly over,
but we have, of course, got decision time to come.
Now, has this been agonising for Ben and Natasha?
I don't think so.
-How are we doing, guys? Relaxing?
I think a really interesting little trip, this one.
Let's think about where it started.
That much-extended farmhouse with the four acres and the alpacas, what did you make of that one, Ben?
It was a beautiful house but we couldn't afford it.
It didn't offer us the potential to grow a business on the property.
Well, then we took you off to another converted farmhouse,
but with a gorgeous orchard and a bit more land.
I liked the house, I thought it was quite pretty. The orchard was very nice.
I think what killed it for me was the fact that it was overlooked by the neighbours.
I am not sure what they'd have thought about people camping on their doorstep.
So then we took you to the mystery house, an old quarry.
Many would say, "It's a bit industrial, I don't want that."
But for you guys, a very interesting proposition.
Well, I was amazed, really, I think it was a slice of heaven.
Yeah, I think it could well be.
-A slice of heaven?
Does it go to the heart of what you're looking for?
Exactly along the sort of lines we were looking at.
Every house has its buyer. Has that one found its buyer?
We'll have to speak to the planners and find out a bit more,
but it's got those holiday lets, so it's got some income coming in.
So it's really going to take the pressure off, isn't it?
That's right. There's a lot of work that needs to be to be done,
but it can be done stage by stage over the coming years.
Well, very best of luck. It's a really interesting proposition.
Clearly, you've got more homework to do, some detailed discussions need to be had with the planners
and the local authorities but touch wood, all things being equal,
-I hope it's the one, let us know how you get on.
-Thanks for the help.
Here's to you, cheers!
Well, what a house search this one has been.
I have to confess, I wasn't entirely sure if we'd get there in the end.
I'm pretty sure both Ben and Natasha felt the same way too.
But we have had some really interesting surprises along the way
and some real whoppers.
They set out looking for a home in Somerset, it looks like they've ended up in Devon.
They wanted a campsite, they've got a quarry,
surrounded by 50 acres of glorious woodland.
There are, of course, some very difficult and complicated negotiations still to come,
but if they get it right and they move in,
next time I'm in Devon, I know where I'll be staying!
I'll see you next time.
Ben and Natasha made an offer on the mystery house, which was accepted.
And they're in the process of seeking planning permission.
Hopefully they'll be moving to Devon soon to start their new adventure.
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