Alistair Appleton helps a couple returning from Australia find a rural retreat in Wiltshire on a budget of £600,000. But property prices in the UK take them by surprise.
Browse content similar to Wiltshire. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
These 29 locks were on what was essentially the M4 of the 19th century,
the canal that linked the West Country to London.
This wasn't the fastest bit of it cos it takes 4.5 hours
to bring your boat up 237 metres.
Where am I? Find out as we Escape to the Country!
Today, we're helping a young family return from "down under"
to find their dream country pile.
We have some first-rate contenders.
Good, isn't it?
-Yes! Very good!
-That's an understatement!
But will British property prices be a bit of a shocker?
I think 500,000.
OK. You have been away for quite a while!
Today I'm in Wiltshire, and this amazing looking thing
is the Caen Hill flight of locks
which was created 200 years ago.
It really is a miracle of engineering because, amongst other things,
it pumps 32 million litres of water from the bottom of the hill to the top
in order to make sure all the locks flow properly.
It's not just water that flows down here,
but also thousands of happy holidaymakers
and barge enthusiasts exploring the backwaters of this very beautiful county.
Gateway to the West Country,
Wiltshire is bordered by six counties
including Berkshire to the east, and Somerset, Dorset and Gloucestershire to the west.
It's undeniably pretty.
In fact, 44% of this traditionally rural landscape
comes under the "Outstanding Natural Beauty" umbrella.
The phrase "rolling green hills" could have been coined for this county.
With the arable farmland of the Marlborough Downs
and taking in parts of the Cotswolds, it's quintessentially English countryside at its best.
Believed to be the home of Britain's first settlers, the Beaker Folk, Wiltshire is surrounded by myth.
Enduring mysteries shroud its Neolithic stone circles,
from World Heritage Site Stonehenge to Avebury.
With two-thirds of Wiltshire lying on chalk,
its residents over the centuries have been given a very wide canvas
and white horses dot the chalky hills.
They have become the county's unofficial emblem.
It's home to a wealth of character housing stock from medieval thatches to Chilmark stone cottages.
But depending on where you're looking to buy in the county, you may need deep pockets!
Property prices in Wiltshire vary very wildly
with the north-east generally outperforming the south-west.
But with the best and most prestigious schools in the county,
Marlborough takes the biscuit for being the most expensive place to buy.
Local estate agents say if you're willing to move ten miles north or west or south from Marlborough
then you can knock 25% off the price of a house.
So what else does this mystical county have to offer in terms of property?
Let's find out, shall we?
If you're thinking big,
check out this beautiful four-bed 14th-century thatch in Wanborough.
You get a 31-foot bespoke country kitchen. Two reception rooms serve up character features galore
and it's all set in an impressive 5.5 acres.
Its price tag is also substantial.
However, if you like character with modern convenience,
this four-bedroom thatch in Barford St Martin could be for you.
On the market at £525,000, you get three reception rooms, a country kitchen,
and a terraced garden perfect for al fresco dining.
Finally, this converted three-bed chapel in Great Cheverell
is certainly worth praise.
If you worship both character and open-plan living,
it could be just the ticket.
It's on the market at £395,000.
There are some beautiful properties here in Wiltshire.
Our couple today have come a long way to find them
because they're swapping a life down under, with Bondai and barbies
for one that involves British bangers and brollies!
Let's meet them.
Today's house-hunters are Steve, an online manager for a mobile phone company,
his wife, Carolyn, and their children - Ella, Scarlet and Cameron.
They've just spent three years working and living down under in Oz.
But that stint was long enough for them to realise that there's no place like home.
We had a fantastic time there. It was a great experience for us and all the family.
But it became obvious for what I call the three "F"s,
family, friends and football!
They can't be replicated over in Australia.
So it was time to come back.
Since arriving home a few months ago,
they've been living with Carolyn's mum in a three-bed house in Berkshire.
It's living in someone else's house. No matter how great they are.
Every now and again she walks in on me in the bathroom
which, when it's your mother-in-law, is not great, really!
With space and dignity in short supply,
finding somewhere of their own, fast, is obviously a priority.
What part of our green and pleasant land have they set their sights on?
Cameron is at a school in Newbury.
So we're kind of looking from west Berkshire out to as far as Marlborough in Wiltshire.
Cameron's education is catered for. But what about the girls?
Ideally we'd like to have a primary school, pre-school, in the village that's walkable.
So that's the location. Now let's turn our attention to bricks and mortar.
Our dream list, I guess, would be the large kitchen/diner.
The lounge with the open fire.
The study, the four bedrooms.
A couple of bathrooms, maybe one of those being en-suite.
And how much outside space are they hankering after?
We'd love to have an acre, half an acre, of garden.
That would be the ideal.
But I think that's probably one of the areas
that we find we could compromise on.
Open to compromise. That's a phrase I like!
Do they have a style of property in mind?
We're fairly flexible.
I think the only thing that's a real no-no
is probably a new, brand-new, kind of property.
We're looking for something more with character or age.
In terms of creating spaces, knocking the odd wall down,
we're quite up for that.
Both are selling the UK houses they had before they met,
which, on completion, will effectively make them cash buyers.
So how much are they planning to spend?
Our budget for our property is up to £600,000.
We'd better get this house hunt on the road
or they'll be living with their in-laws for Christmas, and we don't want that.
Ironically, the real problem is not the four bedrooms or the three reception rooms
or even the acre of land.
The real problem is the school catchment area.
Living near a good school in Wiltshire is like gold dust.
It puts a lot of pressure on an already pressurised house search.
So I hope they're ready to make some compromises.
Carolyn and Steve want to focus their search in north-east Wiltshire,
in the villages and hamlets around Marlborough
and no more than 45 minutes from Newbury, where Cameron is at school.
We have some great properties to view, but I won't reveal the price tags
until they've taken everything in.
Finally, there's a mystery house, which will turn the tables on their wish list.
-How are you?
-Welcome to Wiltshire.
-I've brought you onto the Ridgeway so you get a big view
over the gorgeous countryside.
Our task is to get you out of your mum's house. You love her dearly
but I imagine you're tearing each other's hair out.
-We want to get you a beautiful family home.
We want something close to Cameron, who's at school near Newbury.
-That's an important factor.
And also the good news is that you've sold your houses.
-Just last week.
-What does that mean for us?
That means we're now cash buyers, ready to go.
-So bring it on.
That's a good, healthy budget, but it's a pressurised market around Marlborough and Newbury.
-So we'll have to keep alert.
But they're out there and waiting for us.
So, for a maximum budget of £600,000,
Carolyn and Steve have a considerable wish list.
They want this package to be set in a village with a good pre-school and primary school.
It all needs to be within commutable distance of Cameron's boarding school in Newbury.
Luckily, they don't mind knocking down a few walls
to create their dream pad.
What won't you compromise on?
There are three things we'd like to avoid compromising on.
The kitchen/diner, or the ability to create one, at least.
A study because I do sometimes work from home. I need space away from the children.
-And the garden. We're not expecting rolling acres...
-It needs to be big enough for a game of football.
-Game of football?!
-11-a-side or five-a-side?
Time to kick off our house-hunt.
We're starting at Ogbourne St Andrew, 40 minutes from Newbury,
and two miles from Marlborough,
placing it in the catchment for a highly-sought-after state school
and it's one of Steve and Carolyn's preferred areas.
The village itself is absurdly pretty.
Quiet lanes are lined with cosy thatches and grand Georgian manors.
Serving the community is one church and one gastro-pub.
The all-important pre-school and primary are five minutes away in Ogbourne St George.
So, this is the property I want to show you.
What do you think?
It looks like it's the right sort of size.
I quite like the look of it.
It's maybe not the old country house I was looking for, but it looks very nice.
I'm glad Carolyn is keeping an open mind
because getting a period home of the size they want on their budget
in this neck of the woods is mission impossible.
However, this 17-year-old property has been extended
and offers an extensive family home they could re-jig to suit them.
We go straight into the big sitting room
which spans the whole depth of the house.
-It's a good-sized room. I like the size.
-It's got a family feel about it.
Even though the set-up is quite formal, it's got a family feel.
Does it bother you that it's modern?
Not so far.
We can go through these double doors, which are arched.
They're using this as the dining room but it could be a study or anything.
-It leads into the garden.
-Nice double doors to the garden.
-The doors are nice.
Well, you might want to combine it with this room.
This is your kitchen.
Right. It's quite long and thin.
The obvious solution that leaps to my mind
is to have all that light from there and make this one big kitchen/diner.
You do have a utility room off here. You could also knock through that way.
And a family room.
-This is the extension, so it's the part they added on.
-Nice and bright. Doors out into the garden.
-It says study to me.
-It says study?
-I might put my towel down in this room!
-Where would the kids go?
-Somewhere else, yes!
You do have the garage through there, so you could put them in there!
I jest! There's plenty of room in this house for children and visitors,
with five bedrooms in all upstairs.
-This is your bedroom.
-It's a nice size, isn't it?
-Lovely fitted wardrobes.
-It's very light.
This is the Ridgeway, so beautiful views over the fields.
And a very nice en-suite. Poke your head round the corner.
-Wow. This is really nice. Nicely done.
-They've done this well.
-Really nice room.
Next door to the master is a large single bedroom.
Off the hallway are two cosy doubles, one of which is currently used as a study.
But there's still more.
This is the extension. A family bathroom there.
-And a very sweet little kind of library.
It's not classed as a bedroom, so you're not losing one there!
-It's a nice little nook.
-That's a good idea.
So who's crying out for a bedroom? Who hasn't had a bedroom for ages?
-Ella's been sharing with her three-year-old sister.
-So she's desperate!
Well, they're all going to fight over this.
-This, I think, is a lovely bedroom.
-Oh, it is.
-There'd be some arguments over this, I reckon.
-You could have it as another study!
-Studies you need.
"It's my study!"
-It's a lovely room, though.
-And nothing needs doing up here.
So it's great.
After a hesitant start, they may have warmed up to this modern house.
However, the garden isn't football pitch size.
So will we have scored an own goal?
So, come into your garden.
It's not very big.
-Is there a bit hiding round...
-There is nothing hiding.
-It's all on display.
-It is private, that's for sure, which is what we'd look for.
What do you think it's on the market for?
I'm going to be really optimistic...
-Be optimistic. I like that.
I think 500,000.
OK. You have been away for quite a while!
This property is on the market for 550.
I told you I'm optimistic!
I love that about you. You keep on being optimistic.
-But you pay the bills!
Why don't you have a look around inside
to see whether there's stuff you could think about inside.
-I'll see you afterwards.
this substantial modern family home is £50,000 under budget.
It could be reworked to suit them.
Upstairs is spot-on with five bedrooms,
so plenty of space inside.
But although this garden is very pretty and secluded,
it isn't massive.
The village is hugely sought-after, and with a nearby pre-school and primary,
I'm hoping the location will compensate.
From a location perspective, this is fantastic.
It has great transport links,
it's got the catchment areas for the schools we want.
The peace and quiet of this location is exactly what we'd hoped for in coming back here.
We wouldn't need to do anything up here.
-No, it's pretty sorted. They've done it very nicely.
-Yes, they have.
-I like how it is.
There'd be plenty of room for everybody.
-No, it's good.
-Plenty of options for studies!
It is so quiet!
I've been listening and there's just birds and birds and birds!
-So whatever you think about the house,
-you've got to love the location.
The poet Lord Alfred Tennyson once wrote,
"As from the Dorset shore I travelled home
"I saw the charger of the Wiltshire wold
"A far seen figure, stately to behold."
He was, of course, referring to the chalk horses, synonymous with this rural landscape.
Although the origins of the carvings are shrouded in mystery,
we do know that at one point, 13 white steeds galloped across the county.
Today, there are just eight.
But you'd be very much mistaken in thinking they're prehistoric.
Wiltshire's first white horse at Westbury
is believed to have been carved in 878
to celebrate King Alfred's victory over the Danes.
But most of today's horses have 18th-century origins
and have undergone a fair few facelifts over the years.
Earlier in the week, Carolyn and Steve headed to the chalk hills above Pewsey
to meet up with local historian Phil Stevens
and find out about the white horse there.
The actual horse was put here to mark the coronation of King George VI in 1937.
It was cut by our local fire brigade. It's maintained by Pewsey parish council
and in the last few weeks, we've rechalked it.
If it's not rechalked, it will turn green and disappear into the rolling hills again.
White isn't the only colour gracing Wiltshire's lovely landscape, though.
We sent Carolyn and Steve to glorious Westwood
to meet up with Dominic Price
and experience one of the British countryside's spring phenomena.
We've got over 800 acres of almost pure stands of bluebell here.
At this time of year, it's the greatest show on earth.
The bluebell is protected under law. The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981
prohibits anyone from selling any part of the flower or the bulb or the seed.
You can't even barter them in exchange for another flower.
They're also massively threatened from a thing called the Spanish bluebell.
The Spanish bluebell freely breeds with the English bluebell
and forms things called hybrid swans.
What you won't get is this sea of blue because the colour is mixed down.
The Spanish bluebell is now pretty much across the whole UK
and there's nothing we can do about it.
In more and more woodlands there'll be the odd pocket of Spanish bluebells.
To our knowledge, there's none here at all
and so hopefully this woodland is safe for future generations.
It's not everywhere. You have to come to places like Westwood to see it on this scale.
It is a big part of the British countryside and what makes Britain so very special.
Back to the present and on with the search.
We're heading to the attractive village of Wanborough.
It's a slightly further drive to Newbury at one hour,
but it's a thriving village which should suit our buyers' needs.
As well as the all-important primary school,
it's stocked with a village store and a church which boasts both a tower and a spire.
Steve and Carolyn shouldn't go thirsty with no less than six pubs to choose from!
Let's hope we'll be toasting our next house which is on the outskirts of the village
and comes with something our first property didn't - masses of outside space.
We're talking premier league space!
Down the lane.
And this is the house I want to show you.
So once again, we haven't got the period nailed on the head.
-This is 23 years old.
The interesting thing about this property is that it is upside-down.
-What are your thoughts from the outside?
Not visually stunning. But might have space.
Intrigued isn't a bad place to start.
There's so much opportunity for Steve and Carolyn to put their own stamp on this place.
As it's built into the hill, the living space is on the top, where we'll start.
It's accessed via the back of the house.
So we come in through these huge glass doors
into what is, of course, the hall,
but also landing.
But you'll see that the whole point of this house is that it's pretty much all views.
It's all about great big panes of glass looking out over fields.
We come into here. This is the main space.
In many ways, it's quite a simple house.
You've got this big room with incredible views over the White Horse Vale.
Right to the horizon. There's nothing interrupting them.
And this great big double-glazed double window out to the garden.
Light is important to us because we've been spoilt by very bright light.
Never apologise for being spoilt. Very important.
It's something we're very accustomed to, so this is lovely and light.
This is the other wing of the house
which flows into the kitchen.
-That's a pleasant surprise.
Then the archway through to the dining room.
It's not the country kitchen that I had as a dream, if you like.
But it's nice.
The clean lines and clinicalness of it appeal to me, actually.
It feels like a family house, actually.
Good stuff. Let's hope the underbelly of this house
will get the thumbs up, too.
It should. It has the required four bedrooms.
This is the master.
It's a good-sized room.
Yeah. Too many fitted cupboards, I think.
-Well, you can always take them out.
I've got enough stuff to fill them, but...
-it confines the room a bit.
-It has a good-sized en-suite.
Have a peek in there.
-Yeah. It's been really nicely done.
-Yeah, it's been done well.
A thumbs up to the master suite and off the hallway is a good sized family bathroom
and three other double bedrooms
so the children won't be arguing who gets the biggest.
Outside there's more than enough space to mess around in. An acre in all.
It's a good-sized garden. It slopes down here to take in the design.
I wanted to show you this.
You've got a huge sun trap. This is where the setting sun hits the side of the house.
It's a great paved area, or it could be a conservatory or extension.
You could make it a study, maybe.
There's definitely options. It's not listed, so you can go any which way.
Is this enough of a garden, though?
It's got potential for all the things we want
without being overly big so that we need a tractor!
How would you like a little bit more?
Down here. What have we got here?
It's your very own paddock.
-With a little summer house.
Good, isn't it?
-Yes, very good.
That's an understatement!
-My mind's going...
-Your eyes are lighting up!
It's the first time I've seen both your faces light up.
The mind is going...
"Oh, my God! What? What?"
Amazing. That's a real surprise.
This is the thing. To get the land, the garden and the house
and the location, it's a struggle.
But I think this is a really wonderful buy.
-But how much does it cost?
I'll say £600,000.
I'm going to say 550.
Actually, this house is on the market for...
-That's a nice surprise.
-You've impressed us.
Go and have a look at the summer house. Wander round.
Then when you're all finished, we'll meet again.
How nice to be the harbinger of good news.
At £535,000, this is £65,000 under budget.
So plenty of spare change to extend to their hearts' desire.
The piece de resistance here is the one-acre plot,
taking in a formal garden and a paddock to run wild in.
My only concern is probably the lack of reception space upstairs.
But then - I love this area here, so you wouldn't want to build here -
but you could put a double-ender on that end.
And then put build out... Put an annexe in the garage.
-Give us more space.
There's definitely potential to do... A couple of options, even better.
The price is a pleasant surprise
because we would be able to do the work that we feel the house needs
within the budget.
I think this land kind of changes my view a bit, actually.
It's kind of life-changing
for us, isn't it?
-The kids would go nuts if they saw this.
I know where they are! Hello? Yes!
Come out of that field. You can't live in there!
-A good day's property shopping, right?
-Yes, so far, so good.
Let's go and mull it over.
That's it for our first day of house-hunting.
With the sun setting over the downs,
I hope we've given Carolyn and Steve plenty to think about.
Coming up, it's mystery house time, which will push Carolyn and Steve to the edge of their comfort zone.
But could it come up trumps?
Do you love, love, love, love it?
-Do you want to buy, buy, buy, buy, buy?
It was a bit dispiriting yesterday because Carolyn really wants a period property
and although this part of Wiltshire is jammed with historical properties,
they're simply not in their price range.
So compromise is necessary. The first house, wonderful location, the second house, great land.
The mystery house is not a historical property, but it's absolutely beautiful inside.
It's just miles away from where they wanted to live.
Indeed, we do have some distance to travel
as the mystery house is in the very rural hamlet of Chedglow
on the Wiltshire/Gloucestershire border, 53 miles from Newbury.
Sitting in prime countryside, it's a peaceful location,
but for more hustle and bustle, just four miles away
is the stunning market town of Tetbury.
Designated an Outstanding Conservation Area,
the town is chocker-block with listed architecture
from its 17th-century market hall
to its medieval cobbled steps and its Georgian church with one of the tallest spires in the UK.
With Prince Charles' country home just outside the town,
it's no wonder Tetbury has become something of a showstopper.
OK, the mystery is we've travelled across time zones to get here!
But this is the property I want to show you.
It is attached. It's not a period property, I'm afraid.
-But I think it is a beautiful property.
-I love the style.
-Very pretty colour, isn't it?
-It's very sympathetic, the way it's been done.
Yes. And the village is lovely. It's so peaceful! Relaxing.
The thing you'll really like are the interiors. Let's have a look.
We're doing things by half with today's semi-detached mystery house.
But I'm hoping the open plan interior layout will be just what Steve and Carolyn are looking for.
Here we are.
-Yeah, that's a straight wow!
-It's a double wow, right?
-This is one of the nicest kitchens I've seen in a while.
-Semi? What semi?
I love everything about it.
We aim to please!
There's also a utility room for all the white goods.
So when they bought it, they immediately extended it.
This would have been the back wall and they pushed out into what was patio, on that side too
-and put in this lovely lantern roof.
-Yes, it's lovely.
Great area for dining, with all that light.
Connected with the kitchen. That's great.
It's like you've been struck dumb!
-It is a bit like that.
It is a wonderful space.
Can you imagine the children here?
-When they've gone to bed, we can entertain here.
What's lovely is that the concertina doors open up completely.
So you've got nothing there, it's an open wall.
You can go out into more patio space, more garden.
-Almost Australian living.
-That's what we thought.
Also, they put in for planning permission to extend that way, which you could take up if you want.
On both floors. That planning permission is in perpetuity.
-Do you love, love, love, love it?
-Do you want to buy, buy, buy, buy, buy it?
Well, there's more.
This is the sitting room.
It's lovely. Really cosy, isn't it?
It's in marked contrast to the big sunny kitchen. This is more snugly.
-I love the floor.
-Oak floors with this cool open fireplace
with a chain-mail fireguard.
Wow. It's just lovely.
It moves on through.
Then it goes through into here
which is her study.
-It could be your study.
-It's a nice light room, isn't it?
Another little lantern.
And double doors that open into the garden.
-The windows are great.
-As a house, it's very exciting.
Excitement is what we like!
I think we're onto a winner. Let's keep up the good work with the rest of the house.
There are four bedrooms in all.
Two double bedrooms, perfect for growing girls, and a family bathroom.
-This is the master suite.
It's a little bit smaller than I'd hoped for.
The built-in wardrobes are very nice, though.
The en-suite is in here.
That's a good size. I like the tiles.
-Then you've got another floor.
-What's up there?
Want to have a look?
This is quite interesting. They used this space for blanket drawers.
This is your upstairs room.
-This could be quite nice for Cameron, maybe.
-He would love this.
-Teenage retreat. Yeah.
I think we'd struggle to get Cameron out of here!
Give him a pole to come down to the kitchen!
It seems to answer a lot of your needs.
-But there's always outside. I know that's important to you.
So let's peek!
Because it's an attached property,
it doesn't come with paddocks.
But it's a really ample plot, at over a quarter of an acre.
It's a very simple garden. It is just what you can see.
No hidden extras, this time.
-It's funnel-shaped, so you can keep your eye on where the children are.
-A play area there.
-Scarlet would love that.
Monkey puzzle tree that'll be gorgeous in 100 years!
What's also nice is that this land here belongs to the farmer at the back.
So it's agricultural land. But he's very amenable.
-You could probably buy something off him or rent if you wanted a pony for Scarlet.
-Veggie patch already dug at the bottom.
-Saves a bit of work!
-This is a good space. We could do something with this.
So the package is pleasing?
-The package is good.
-Is it affordable? What do you think it's on for?
I'm going to go for 500.
Keeping with the optimism, 525?
Gloriously optimistic! Both totally wrong, I'm afraid.
Because even though it's not the area you were thinking of,
-it's on the market at 595.
-Right at the top of your budget.
So if you wanted to do the extension, you'd have to do it later on.
-Well, it's certainly liveable!
-In the meantime.
-Have a look round and I'll see you up front.
Well, that shocked them!
But at £595,000, our semi-detached mystery house
does deliver on space inside and out.
Two bedrooms are en-suite.
It's not as near to Newbury or Marlborough as they'd like,
but can they swap location for their dream interior?
The quality and finish of the interior is absolutely stunning.
It's almost impossible to see through it because it's so fantastic.
It's just made that whole decision much harder.
It's finished to a level of perfection that really suits our style.
The wow was the kitchen for me.
The kitchen/diner is my dream.
The fact that it's semi-detached is, for me, quite a big issue, I have to say.
We'll see what Carolyn thinks.
-You're done. I was just catching some rays.
I wasn't sleeping, I was gathering my thoughts,
which is what I'm going to ask you to do next. Follow me.
Once, Britain's canals were the life-blood of our country,
with over 5,000 miles of waterways criss-crossing the landscape,
transporting goods during the Industrial Revolution,
at its height ferrying over 30 million tonnes per year.
But with the arrival of the railways and later motorways,
by the late 1960s, many of these peaceful pathways were in major decline.
This year, however, sees the 200th anniversary of the Kennet and Avon canal,
running through Wiltshire on its way from Bristol to Reading.
Rather than being consigned to history, this waterway is experiencing a boom.
To find out more, I headed to the Caen Hill locks at Devizes
to meet with lock-keeper of 30 years Bob Preston,
who has seen the canal brought back from the very brink.
Devizes Locks was closed in 1951 and didn't reopen until 1990.
-So there were 40 years when the locks were empty.
-It was in a state of dereliction.
A navigable canal was in decline.
With the help of the Canal Trust,
it took 20 years to bring the Kennet and Avon back to life.
Run me through the wonders of this flight of locks.
On Caen Hill itself, we've got 16 locks. Boats can raise 137 feet
and that takes about two hours to do that small three quarters of a mile section.
-So essentially you've got barges going uphill.
That's a pretty steady stream of dedicated bargees cos that's a lot of opening and closing locks.
Everybody wants to have done Devizes locks at least once.
-It's their Everest, if you like!
-Standing on the Canal Everest!
Today there are ten times the number of boats on the Kennet and Avon canal
than there were back in 1810.
But they're not all day-trippers. Some people make these waterways their permanent homes.
Like Lionel and Lynne who've lived on their barge moored just outside Devizes for a year.
They're going to show me how exactly to conquer the Everest of the lock world.
First, the sluice needs to be opened so the water level can equalise.
That takes around five minutes. Then the gates can be opened.
So you have to be pretty Zen to be a bargee. No rushing here.
Once your barge is in place,
then you have to do it all again, in reverse.
It's quite heavy!
And then shut the locks and open the sluice gates so the water can drop.
Come on, Lynne!
This one's a struggle.
Such a slow coach. Should have stayed on my team!
Once the water level is the same on each side of the gates,
the next set can be opened.
But by George, you need some patience!
Another lock opened.
Mind my back!
Watch, it's like pooh sticks, but barge sticks!
Which one will come out first?
I think it's going to be Lionel's.
Yay! I win!
No doubt with people like Lynne and Lionel making these byways their home,
the heritage of the canals will stay alive
and hopefully the Kennet and Avon will still be around to celebrate its 400th birthday.
For once on this show, I'm completely in the dark as to which of these houses
Carolyn and Steve may go for.
I did see Carolyn go misty-eyed at the kitchen/diner in the mystery house,
but Steve was distinctly more level-headed about it.
Let's find out which one they like.
This is the sort of house you really want!
-It's the mystery, isn't it?
It's 12 times your budget!
It's been slightly challenging for you in terms of compromise.
We haven't been able to find exactly what you want.
But it's a good idea to go through them one by one
and talk about the different things with each property.
Spin back your minds to yesterday morning and the first property.
Beautiful location, surrounded by countryside. Great.
The front entrance was nice. There was some work to be done for our taste downstairs.
Upstairs, ready to rumble.
Downstairs I would need to change the kitchen/diner,
but there was scope to do that and also room in the budget for that.
I was a little disappointed with the garden.
That's a major compromise we'd have to consider with that property.
Although in most other ways it ticked the boxes.
Let's move on to the second house. It offered things the first one didn't.
Didn't it just! The land was fantastic. The paddock was a real surprise.
I think there's a different wish list for the paddock.
-Have you both nabbed it?
-There are two towels down!
-Even the garden was nice, too, wasn't it?
-a beautiful garden.
-But I found the house a bit disappointing.
-In what way?
-Not enough reception space.
The challenge with that property is the changes would be wholesale ones to make it how we wanted.
So the location for the first house, the space outside for the second house.
And the third house? The mystery house?
The location was a surprise when we travelled so far to get there,
-but I had a good vibe about the area.
-A really nice feeling.
It was semi-detached. I can't get beyond that.
It's sticking in my head. Inside, it was absolutely stunning.
But the space upstairs was quite small for what we would want.
It was hard for me to see the bad points because I loved every room,
the way that they'd done it, and their touches.
There was no expense spared with any of it. It was beautiful.
Would you progress on any of them? Would you take a next step?
-I think we'd like to go and view the first one again.
-Have another look.
And the local primary school, yes. Definitely.
-That's almost a success.
I think the reality check you've given us, with what you've done,
has shown that perhaps we need a five-year house, not a forever house
in this move, and then we can live here and build from within the area.
Well, I really hope you do. You've picked a beautiful bit of the country.
So that's not a bad strategy to come and move down here
and get yourselves onto those secret estate agents' lists. Good luck!
-Thank you very much.
I was a bit perplexed by Carolyn and Steve's insistence on one corner of Wiltshire,
because it's a beautiful county and full of stunning villages.
So I personally probably would have compromised on location
and gone for a bigger more beautiful house. But what I want doesn't matter!
On this show, the home-buyer is king.
I hope you've enjoyed our adventures in this beautiful county
and you'll join us for more next time on Escape to the Country.
If you'd like to escape to the country
in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England
and need our help, please apply online at:
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd