North Devon 2 Escape to the Country


North Devon 2

Buyers are helped to find their dream homes. Alistair Appleton helps a couple of young retirees find a new home in north Devon, and goes mussel fishing on the Exe.


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This beautiful part of the countryside

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was the inspiration for one of the great books of the 19th century.

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It's a fictional tale of romance and dastardly deeds,

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and its heroine's name became synonymous

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with this lovely landscape. Find out who she was,

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and where I am, in just a moment.

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Today, I'll be helping a dynamic pair of young retirees

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find a remote country retreat -

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ad we're off to a cracking start with our first house.

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If you were to design a perfect country house,

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it would be like this.

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And our mystery property steals the show before they even step inside.

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This house is absolutely awesome.

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I don't really care what it looks like inside.

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It's good enough for me.

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Today we're in north Devon.

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And this is Lorna Doone Country,

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named after the famous novel by RD Blackmore, published in 1869.

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Lorna, of course, is the central character.

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She is kidnapped at the beginning of the book

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by the wicked Doone clan.

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Then, through the twists and turns of the plot,

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over years, she falls in love with a local farmer,

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before the dramatic climax where her true identity is revealed.

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The book was such a hit that it's transcended its fictional roots,

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and become synonymous with this beautiful landscape.

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In fact, it's even called Lorna Doone Country

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on most modern maps.

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But north Devon is more than just Lorna.

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The county of Devon is England's third largest,

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but one of its least populated,

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with about half a million people sharing

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2,500 square miles of land.

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It's a county of great variety,

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from the craggy headlands on the north coast,

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to the deep water and natural harbours of the south coast.

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Agriculture dominates in Devon,

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with a workforce of approximately 25,000,

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and about 11,000 farm holdings.

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A majority of the county's farming production centres on livestock,

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with a focus on dairy, cattle, and sheep.

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In the early 19th century, the wild expanse of Dartmoor,

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which covers some 368 square miles,

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was home to the tin and granite quarrying trades,

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which used ponies as working animals.

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But now, just the ponies remain,

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roaming wild and free on the moorland.

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Who are the lucky couple planning to move here?

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Let's meet them.

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Former business consultant Dominic

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and Spanish-born translator Placi,

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moved into their four bedroomed house in York in 1997.

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And a year later, they tied the knot at Gretna Green.

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Having achieved their ambitions with successful international careers,

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they've now given up work,

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and are ready to start the next chapter of their lives.

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This house means a lot to me, because I have decorated it all.

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I've learned how to DIY through all the little projects in this house,

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so I am going to be very sad to leave it, but it's time to move on.

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Their pastimes are many and varied.

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They'll need a lot of space for each one.

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As you can see, I'm into a lot of different crafts,

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like mosaic making and sewing.

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Everything takes up so much space

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that I would love a room just for my things,

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so I don't have to tidy up every single time.

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I do a lot of kick boxing,

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and I train in here pretty much every day, so wherever we go,

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I definitely want to have a place like this. It's a lot of fun.

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The countryside is a particular draw for Placi.

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It reminds her of her childhood in Spain.

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We'd like to move to the country

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because I grew up in a farm in Spain.

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And I love working the garden,

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and possibly creating a meadow,

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rescuing animals and all that.

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I've done animal rescuing in the past,

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so I'd like to carry on doing that.

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But I can't do it here, because I haven't got enough space.

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After viewing over 100 properties online,

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they've narrowed their search area to north Devon,

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and have a good idea what they'd like us to find them.

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The ideal home would have a minimum of two bedrooms,

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ideally three or four.

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It would be in a private valley, with a bit of land around it,

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and quite a peaceful place, where there was no possibility

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of any developments around it.

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It would ideally be maybe five to ten miles

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from the nearest town or village.

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We'll consider anything that's detached,

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whether it's a character property...

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A church?

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Yeah, we do like churches, yeah.

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-People are often...

-A cemetery.

-Yeah,

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people are often put off by churches with cemeteries...

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-I look after the ghosts.

-What quieter place could you get?

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Well, that's plenty to go on.

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As cash buyers who can move quickly, there's no time to waste.

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Luckily, the finances are all set.

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The budget for the property is £500,000.

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If the property was £500,000, and there was renovation work

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to be done to it, we would probably fund that separately.

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'Dominic and Placi have decided they'd like a house in north Devon,

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'so we're focusing our search in the countryside

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'around Barnstaple and Tiverton.

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'We've got some very impressive properties to show them.

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'And I'll be asking them to guess the price before I reveal it.

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'Our last property is, as ever, the mystery house,

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'which I think will really push their imaginations to the limit.'

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Welcome to north Devon. Here we are.

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I've spared you the rain by keeping you inside.

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-Neither of you have actually been to north Devon.

-We've been through it,

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but we've never been to spend any time in it.

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But we do have a lot of friends who have lived and worked,

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or holidayed here.

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When we were looking at the whole of the UK,

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we simply asked for advice,

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and the constant theme was, for what we want to do,

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you want to go to north Devon.

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The place we're living now is our 25th home,

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so I think it's time we settled down.

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Not much pressure on us, then, just to find the forever home(!)

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The dream home! It IS a dream home.

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There are lots of beautiful properties here with lots of land.

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But we need to look at the houses, so let's get going.

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With a budget of half a million pounds,

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and some additional funds for renovation work,

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Dominic and Placi are seeking a secluded property

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with three or four bedrooms,

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a craft room for Placi,

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space for a kick boxing gym for Dominic,

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and plenty land for growing plants

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and keeping animals.

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'We're heading towards the village of Cheriton Fitzpaine,

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'which is just ten miles south of Tiverton.

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'The village has many 15th century houses,

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'including the longest thatched house in England.

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'Amenities include a pub that's been serving the residents

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'for the past 150 years.

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'Our first property is a traditional farmhouse dating back to the 1850s.'

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-Here we are. House number one.

-This is fabulous.

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Looks like a jigsaw puzzle house.

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-It's awesome.

-I think it looks beautiful,

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it's got character and personality.

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How do you feel about thatch? That wasn't on your wish list.

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I think it gives character to the house and it's a plus, if anything.

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'The inside of this property very much continues

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'on the old world theme.'

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Come into the main sitting room.

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Oh, it's a real country feel in here, isn't it?

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It's lovely. You've got the stone fireplace.

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-You've got the log-burning fire.

-Are you keen on the beams?

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I'm not a fan of beams, certainly dark beams,

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because they tend to make a house look more claustrophobic.

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I love the thick walls, and the colour of the walls.

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'Also on the ground floor is a cosy snug area,

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'perfect for those winter nights,

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'and a definite contrast to the bright feel of the garden room.'

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-Oh, wow!

-Oh, that's nice!

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I do like that.

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This is an older extension, but it's in keeping with the beams,

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but much higher, much lighter.

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This sort of beams, we love.

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And you can look out onto the garden and see the trees.

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-This could be your craft room.

-Absolutely, yes.

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-You've got lots of light, so you don't have to squint.

-Yes.

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'With Placi's craft room sorted,

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'we're heading past the dining area, and on to the kitchen.'

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The kitchen is the heart of the home.

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-Oh!

-Oh, very cute!

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-It's baby blue.

-Eggshell blue throughout.

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One of my favourite colours, as you can see.

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It's a very modern-looking kitchen.

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We're not massive cooks, so we don't need a huge kitchen.

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So, for me, this is ideal.

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If we were to live in a place like this,

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we would almost certainly have breakfast, have meals here.

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Quaint little space.

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And you've also got a shower room at the end,

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and a utility cupboard with your washing machines and stuff.

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-It's got bags of character.

-It's picturesque.

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It's ticking all the boxes.

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'With the downstairs rating so highly, can the upstairs match up?

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'Off the landing, there's a family bathroom with freestanding bath,

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'along with three very characterful bedrooms,

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'all in keeping with the pastoral charm of this house.'

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Mind your head, this is a low door sill.

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-Perfect for me.

-I had to duck for that one.

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This is the master bedroom. What d'you think?

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It's not huge, but it's enough for us.

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We don't have a lot of things, so...

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I think it's lovely. I like the wood cupboards.

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It's quirky. I think it's exactly what we're looking for.

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-And amazing views. Look. You can wake up and look at the horses.

-Oh!

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-Look at that!

-Beautiful.

-Oh, my word. Look at the horses!

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-That's beautiful, isn't it?

-Absolutely. Wow!

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'For our buyers, the outside is as important as the interior,

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'due to Placi's dreams of creating a meadow,

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'and keeping rescued animals.

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'I think she'll find there's more than enough space

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'for all of that out here.

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'We might be able to discover somewhere for Dominic

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'to indulge in his sporting pastimes, too.'

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Here's your kingdom of the rescued animals.

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Three quarters of an acre. Is it big enough?

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-It's big enough, isn't it?

-It is.

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And, behind you, you may have noticed this discreet building,

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which is a brand-new wooden timber structure.

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-But this is specially designed as a...

-Kick boxing. Excellent.

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How much d'you think it all costs?

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Well, I'm going to opt for 499.

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I'm going to say 450.

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-450?

-Yes.

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-To be honest, this property's a little over your budget.

-OK.

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-It's on at 525.

-OK.

-Right.

-But they're very keen to move,

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so why not offer 500?

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'So, at £525,000,

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'but with offers potentially considered

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'around their maximum budget of 500,

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'this property meets many of the demands

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'on their wish list.

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'It has three bedrooms,

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'a bright room that's ideal for Placi's craft work,

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'gym space for Dominic's kick boxing,

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'plenty of land for rescuing animals,

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'and gardening adventures.'

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-I'm going to have to tear you away, I'm afraid.

-OK.

-We've got another

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-property to look at.

-Brilliant! Let's go.

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With its source on Exmoor,

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the River Exe flows south through Devon before eventually

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reaching the Exe Estuary on the county's southern coast.

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The estuary here is a Site of Special Scientific Interest,

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but it's also a busy fishing harbour, with mackerel and bass

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being the main catch for anglers off Exmouth Beach.

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Setting a course through the carefully protected environment

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is Miles Blood Smyth, who's been a mussel farmer since 1996.

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Is there something particularly good about the Exe in terms of mussels?

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I think...the biggest thing with mussels is protection.

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They're physically protected because it's enclosed. So although it gets

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a bit wild in here it's nothing like out to sea.

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'The boat used by Miles and his team is a French oyster barge,

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'which hovers over the seabed and uses water pressure

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'to knock the mussels off the mud and up onto their elevator.

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'It's the antithesis of the invasive process of dredging

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'and helps to protect the sensitive environment of the Exe Estuary.

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'Over a year, Miles handles around 400 tonnes of mussels,

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So what we want to do now is, before we put it in the cleaner

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to clean all the barnacles and everything off,

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we pick out anything that's still alive, any of the cockles or crabs

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or anything, and they go back in.

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It's a completely natural process. Then it goes through the grader.

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So we want a 60mm mussel, nicely clean, shiny and black,

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no barnacles on it, that'll be absolutely perfect and ready for

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the chef, so with confidence,

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you can just stick it in the pan and eat it.

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So, with a successful catch, we head to the floating cafe for lunch.

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-There we go, gents.

-Ah!

-Get stuck in.

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The great thing with mussels is they provide their own cutlery.

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Have you eaten better or fatter mussels than that before?

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Of course not, Miles.

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-They're really good.

-That's the Exe for you. Fantastic.

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Now it's time to return to our house hunt.

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We've travelled three miles southeast of Barnstaple

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to the village of Landkey,

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home to around 2,300 residents.

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It has a 15th-Century church,

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along with the usual amenities of pubs, school, and a post office.

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Set in an idyllic edge of village location,

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our second property is a former barn, converted in the 1990s.

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-So, house number two.

-Right.

-This is a very different offering.

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This is the house,

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but, most excitingly,

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this is your land.

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Oh, my goodness!

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The paddock right down to the trees where the river is.

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-Wow!

-That's a fantastic view, isn't it?

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A river runs through it, along the edge of it.

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-How much land is there for this?

-Five acres.

-Five acres? Wow!

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What are you first impressions?

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I like it! I like the remoteness of it.

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I like all the woodlands coming up.

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Very magical. And I like the paddock right in front.

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-There's a lot of positives there.

-When can we move in?

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Maybe you should look at the house first!

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'The huge amount of land certainly fits the bill for Placi

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'and Dominic, but can the inside of this conversion do the same?'

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-Ooh, very big room!

-Great big room.

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It's a much more modern house,

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but it still has a lot of character.

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I like it. Yeah, I like the open space and the fact that

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it opens up to the garden.

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If we step down here,

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you can see how everything is built around your view.

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-Yes, fabulous.

-Now, that's exceptional, isn't it?

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You can see the whole valley from here. I can see why they built this.

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I can even see myself sitting here, even in the rain!

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There's not a lot of space downstairs. There's this big space,

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then there's the kitchen space the other side.

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'The kitchen isn't the most important room for these two,

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'but I think they'll appreciate the social aspect of this one.'

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Here we have the kitchen - much more open plan.

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This is a big kitchen. It's certainly bigger than ours.

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-Yes, it is.

-Again, it's more modern than the last one.

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Breakfast bar here. I like the fact there is a lot of light coming in.

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And then you've got French doors

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that go out to a nice courtyard terrace at the back.

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'Upstairs, off the landing, are four rather generously-sized bedrooms,

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'one of which is currently being used as a study,

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'not just for the cat.

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'There's a bright family bathroom, but we're heading

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'for the biggest room, which has an en-suite shower room attached.'

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Again, the whole width of the building.

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It's a nice surprise, with the sloping roof.

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It's quite unusual, isn't it?

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It's also unusual to have the windows so low down.

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I do think this would be perfect for Placi's crafts

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and things that she does like that.

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-There's so much light.

-Yeah, the light.

-And the view!

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To inspire you.

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'With the bedroom confirmed as Placi's craft area,

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'we need to find a space for Dominic's kick boxing gym.

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'So we're heading outside to show him what's on offer.'

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-Ta-da!

-My goodness!

-Now...

-This is big!

-This is big.

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It's a huge iron-framed garage.

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It's perfect size. It might need a little bit of work,

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but it certainly could make a really nice place to train, yeah.

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A hidden gem!

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'A hidden gem indeed, but what does it all cost?'

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-Let's get a little view of the house, and let's talk money.

-Yes.

0:17:200:17:24

How much does five acres of prime north Devon countryside,

0:17:240:17:29

and a house, obviously, and a big garage, cost?

0:17:290:17:32

Well, it is very impressive, especially the land and the view.

0:17:320:17:36

The property itself I was less attracted to,

0:17:360:17:40

so I'm actually going to say less than last time.

0:17:400:17:43

I'm going to say 450.

0:17:430:17:44

And I'm going to say 410,000.

0:17:440:17:47

This is on at £50 under £550,000.

0:17:470:17:52

-OK. Right.

-I wasn't expecting it to be over 500,000.

0:17:520:17:57

It might be way over their budget, at a fraction under £550,000,

0:17:580:18:03

but this property does have plenty to offer...

0:18:030:18:06

-Well, that's our lot for the day.

-OK.

0:18:210:18:24

-Shall we go and digest all that we've seen?

-Yes.

-OK.

0:18:240:18:27

As dusk falls over the north Devon countryside,

0:18:360:18:39

it marks the end of the first day of our property search.

0:18:390:18:43

We've travelled nine miles south of Barnstaple,

0:18:490:18:51

close to the village of High Bickington.

0:18:510:18:54

The village is situated at the top of the River Taw valley,

0:18:540:18:57

and has a pub, post office and a local shop.

0:18:570:19:01

Set within extensive grounds,

0:19:010:19:03

our mystery property is an 18th-Century coach house conversion

0:19:030:19:07

that has lots of potential,

0:19:070:19:10

but could test our buyers' desire

0:19:100:19:11

to carry out renovations to the absolute limit.

0:19:110:19:15

-Whoa! Look at the view!

-That's a nice view.

0:19:150:19:19

-Oh, my word!

-Oh, yes.

0:19:190:19:21

-Now...

-That's the best view we've seen so far.

-Now we're talking!

0:19:210:19:26

I'm glad, because this house has it.

0:19:260:19:30

-It's a project.

-Uh-huh.

0:19:300:19:32

But I'm glad you love the view

0:19:320:19:34

cos, really, it's all about the view

0:19:340:19:37

and what you two are going to do with it.

0:19:370:19:40

-My word!

-It needs your special touch,

0:19:400:19:45

-particularly yours, Placi...

-OK, I'm happy to go with that.

0:19:450:19:47

..to create something wonderful with it.

0:19:470:19:50

-But there are a few complications about this property.

-Oh!

-Always!

0:19:500:19:55

One is that it's going to need a lot of your imagination

0:19:550:19:58

to really bring it to life, I think.

0:19:580:20:00

And two is that this part, the stables,

0:20:000:20:03

which is the most substantial part,

0:20:030:20:05

is, at the moment, two self-contained flats.

0:20:050:20:08

-We could work with that.

-Great. The house is impressive.

0:20:080:20:12

It looks like it needs a little bit of work,

0:20:120:20:14

and that's really what I'd be interested to have a look at,

0:20:140:20:17

-but it's got character, it's got style.

-I like it.

0:20:170:20:20

This house is absolutely awesome and I don't really care

0:20:200:20:23

what it looks like inside. It's good enough for me.

0:20:230:20:26

'While Placi is very positive before she's even seen it,

0:20:260:20:29

'I'm wondering whether Dominic will have the same feeling once he views

0:20:290:20:33

'the inside of this property.'

0:20:330:20:36

Oh, my word! Look at the floor!

0:20:360:20:38

-Yes.

-That's a grand entrance.

-It's a grand entrance.

0:20:380:20:41

-Ooh!

-And these are the original Victorian stable tiles.

-Great.

0:20:410:20:46

-It is an unusual space because it's not obviously a home.

-Yes.

0:20:460:20:49

Could you imagine making it homely?

0:20:490:20:52

You could turn it into a marvellous family home,

0:20:520:20:55

And you've only seen the first room.

0:20:550:20:56

I can't wait to see what you think about the rest of the rooms.

0:20:560:21:00

Oh, the floor continues.

0:21:030:21:05

The floor does continue.

0:21:050:21:07

And here's your bigger room.

0:21:070:21:09

-This would have been where the carriages came.

-OK.

0:21:090:21:12

It's a really big room, so that's nice.

0:21:120:21:15

It does feel quite dark in here,

0:21:150:21:17

even though there's a lot of windows, so it's something

0:21:170:21:20

we'd have to lighten up a little bit more.

0:21:200:21:23

Sorry, I just spotted the old sewing machine.

0:21:230:21:25

My great grandmother had one of those and I still have it.

0:21:250:21:28

It's a sign. You have to buy the house!

0:21:280:21:30

Yes, that's actually the third sign I've seen.

0:21:300:21:33

-What were the other two?

-The first one is I have a Castilian sign

0:21:330:21:37

-that says "The Old Coach House".

-So it's literally a sign?

-Yes.

0:21:370:21:40

I've got exactly the same table that we've seen in the other room.

0:21:400:21:43

Oh, it's spooky now.

0:21:430:21:44

-And then my great grandmother's sewing machine.

-Wow!

0:21:440:21:48

-Is it haunted, as well?

-Of course(!)

0:21:480:21:51

'Well, actually, I can't promise them a ghost.

0:21:510:21:53

'But there is a good-sized kitchen which could lift their spirits.

0:21:530:21:57

'However, I'm showing them the upstairs,

0:21:570:21:59

'which has a small boxroom,

0:21:590:22:01

'and three other bedrooms of varying sizes,

0:22:010:22:04

'some lighter than others.

0:22:040:22:06

'They all flow off a landing with a long corridor

0:22:060:22:09

'which leads to the family bathroom, ripe for renovation.

0:22:090:22:13

'But we're heading for the fourth bedroom.'

0:22:130:22:16

This room used to be one huge room that's been divided into two.

0:22:160:22:22

It's a bit dark and spooky.

0:22:220:22:25

It's like walking back in time.

0:22:250:22:27

So you've got four rooms here, but remember, you've also got all the

0:22:270:22:30

rooms in the front of the house and the stable, as well,

0:22:300:22:33

so there's probably seven or eight bedrooms, all told.

0:22:330:22:36

You have to classify this as the mystery house of all mystery houses!

0:22:360:22:41

Aw, thank you! I was a bit worried that it might be a bit overwhelming

0:22:410:22:45

for you, cos there's a lot to do.

0:22:450:22:47

No, it's not overwhelming. I love it.

0:22:470:22:49

There is, but there's an awful lot of history here,

0:22:490:22:53

-a lot of nostalgia.

-The bones of the property are amazing.

0:22:530:22:56

-It's really exciting.

-# She's excited! #

0:22:560:22:59

I'm so excited.

0:22:590:23:00

'And if Placi's singing the praises of the interior, I think both

0:23:000:23:04

'of them will be thrilled by the potential of what's outside.'

0:23:040:23:07

-Wow!

-Here you can see,

0:23:070:23:09

this is all extra agricultural buildings tacked on the back,

0:23:090:23:12

-but with amazing stone and brickwork.

-Yeah.

0:23:120:23:15

Here we have another very charming outhouse and, behind it,

0:23:150:23:19

another vast set of agricultural buildings.

0:23:190:23:22

Yeah.

0:23:220:23:24

So what are your thoughts about this?

0:23:240:23:26

That's the rescue centre, isn't it?

0:23:260:23:28

I love you! You get it all so quickly.

0:23:280:23:31

Horses, cows, kittens.

0:23:310:23:33

-Does this inspire you to have visions beyond?

-Yes, absolutely.

0:23:330:23:38

'With Placi still enthused by this project of a house,

0:23:380:23:42

'Dominic might still need a bit of convincing. I'm hoping that

0:23:420:23:46

'the breathtaking views

0:23:460:23:47

'around the back of this property will be just the thing to do it.'

0:23:470:23:51

That's the best part of the whole trip, that view.

0:23:510:23:54

-Yep.

-You've got the river down here.

-The River Taw, yes,

0:23:540:23:57

that flows through. That's, sadly, not quite your land,

0:23:570:24:00

but this property comes with 11 acres of land.

0:24:000:24:04

-No?!

-Wow, that's good!

0:24:040:24:07

It's a LOT of work on the outbuildings.

0:24:070:24:11

How much do you think it's going to cost to start it off?

0:24:110:24:15

Well, this couldn't be within budget,

0:24:150:24:18

-so I'm going to say £600,000.

-I see the state that the property's in,

0:24:180:24:22

so I think it's going to be well below budget.

0:24:220:24:25

But I'm then thinking about the cost of renovation.

0:24:250:24:28

I'm going to say something like £350,000.

0:24:280:24:31

-Oh, that's quite a spread.

-Oh, a big difference. Yes.

0:24:310:24:34

Well, split the difference.

0:24:340:24:37

It is exactly on-budget. It's £500,000.

0:24:370:24:41

So, right at the top end of their budget of £500,000,

0:24:410:24:45

this project offers a real challenge.

0:24:450:24:48

They have said they could come up with extra funds

0:24:480:24:50

for renovation work if needed and, with that in mind,

0:24:500:24:54

this property is an excellent proposition.

0:24:540:24:57

It has four bedrooms,

0:24:570:24:59

plenty of space inside for Placi's crafts,

0:24:590:25:02

extensive outbuildings, one of which could be

0:25:020:25:05

renovated and turned into a gym,

0:25:050:25:07

and 11 acres of land,

0:25:070:25:09

so easily enough space for all those rescued animals.

0:25:090:25:13

Ah. How are the views from up there?

0:25:130:25:15

-Oh, they're absolutely gorgeous.

-Good, good. I'm going to take you

0:25:150:25:18

away from the mystery house for some decision making. Come with me.

0:25:180:25:22

'It's time to find out if Dominic and Placi have come to a decision

0:25:220:25:25

'about treating themselves to a north Devon hideaway.'

0:25:250:25:29

It's been lovely showing you around north Devon.

0:25:300:25:33

The sun's come out, which is very nice.

0:25:330:25:35

Can you remember back to the very first one?

0:25:350:25:37

-Yes.

-It was perfect, wasn't it, in so many ways?

0:25:370:25:41

-That sounds pretty positive.

-Ready to move in, nothing to do.

0:25:410:25:45

Fantastic.

0:25:450:25:47

That was, as you say, one that you could move straight into.

0:25:470:25:50

Obviously there wasn't much space for you to put your mark on it.

0:25:500:25:53

-Mm, yeah.

-The second house,

0:25:530:25:56

much more potential for putting your mark on it.

0:25:560:25:58

What were your thoughts about that?

0:25:580:25:59

I liked that one because of the five acres.

0:25:590:26:02

It gives you more flexibility to have larger animals, maybe.

0:26:020:26:06

Er, and you could put your mark on the house.

0:26:060:26:10

The second one was a little bit overshadowed by the first.

0:26:100:26:14

The first had a lot more character.

0:26:140:26:16

The second, we loved the land and the view,

0:26:160:26:18

but obviously it had a lot of work to do to beat the first property,

0:26:180:26:23

in terms of style and character, which we both liked.

0:26:230:26:27

-And it was expensive.

-And it was over budget, as was the first one!

0:26:270:26:31

The mystery house was right on budget, although it was complicated

0:26:310:26:35

in all sorts of other ways.

0:26:350:26:36

-What are your thoughts about that?

-What a cracker!

0:26:360:26:39

That's all I'm going to say! It's absolutely fantastic,

0:26:390:26:42

but, obviously, the renovation costs may be too high.

0:26:420:26:46

It's just a question of, do we have enough money to renovate it?

0:26:460:26:50

It was an amazing house.

0:26:500:26:53

It really was a head-and-the-heart type of property.

0:26:530:26:55

Did the heart or the head win out?

0:26:550:26:58

What are your thoughts about what happens next?

0:26:580:27:00

Yeah, we need to talk about it, seriously.

0:27:000:27:03

We're very good at stepping back and saying, "OK, right,

0:27:030:27:05

"let's discuss the emotions, let's discuss the practicalities."

0:27:050:27:09

You know, can we afford it?

0:27:090:27:11

So do you think that the mystery house is something that

0:27:110:27:14

-you could seriously proceed on?

-Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

0:27:140:27:17

More than the first house?

0:27:170:27:18

I think they're both worth investigating further.

0:27:180:27:21

Excellent. Well, I do hope that your cool, analytical stepping back

0:27:210:27:24

doesn't dampen the enthusiasm that you've both shown and that we see

0:27:240:27:28

-you very soon here in north Devon.

-Oh, thank you very much!

0:27:280:27:31

Considering that Placi and Dominic

0:27:370:27:38

had never actually been to north Devon,

0:27:380:27:41

I think we can claim this as a great triumph.

0:27:410:27:43

They may well have turned down 100 properties on the internet

0:27:430:27:46

but here, in situ,

0:27:460:27:48

I think they may have slightly fallen in love with the place,

0:27:480:27:51

and I'm crossing my fingers for the mystery house.

0:27:510:27:53

I really want to see what Dominic's business brain does with that place.

0:27:530:27:58

If you've been intrigued by our adventures in rural Britain

0:27:580:28:01

then make sure you tune in next time for more Escape To The Country.

0:28:010:28:05

Well, with the mystery property,

0:28:050:28:07

Dominic's head won out over Placi's heart,

0:28:070:28:10

and so their north Devon house hunt continues.

0:28:100:28:15

And if you would like to escape to the country in Northern Ireland,

0:28:150:28:17

Scotland, Wales or England, and you need your help,

0:28:170:28:20

why not apply online at...

0:28:200:28:26

Alistair Appleton helps a couple of young retirees find their dream home in north Devon. They have a budget of £500,000 and are happy to take on a renovation project, but the mystery house almost leaves them speechless. While in the county, Alistair takes to the River Exe for a unique spot of mussel fishing.


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