Property show. Jonnie Irwin travels to Yorkshire to help find a rural home for 300,000 pounds, and discovers the secrets of one of the oldest iron forges in the world.
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I'm in a county that played an important role in the Industrial Revolution.
Its manufacturing heritage stretches over the centuries.
I hope to match that hard graft in finding a house for a couple who seem to be all work and no play.
Where am I? Find out in a moment.
'Today, I'm helping a couple find a property which will cut down their commute and enable them
'to spend more quality time together. He would like a renovation project.'
-You're not having this as your workshop.
-'And for her, there's a mystery house full of surprises.'
Wow, this is not what I expected, Jonnie.
I'm in Yorkshire, a county renowned for its industrial heritage.
However, having an area of around 6,000 square miles,
it still means there's plenty of unspoilt countryside like this
and access to this countryside is at the heart of today's search.
Nicknamed God's Own County, Yorkshire is so big that it's split into four separate counties -
North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the East Ridings of Yorkshire.
But historically, it was once a separate kingdom altogether.
The Danish Vikings made York their capital in the 9th century and ruled the Danelaw,
encompassing most of what we now recognise as northern and eastern England.
The county proves its Nordic roots in some place names still in use.
The famous dales come from the Viking word "dalr" meaning "valleys"
and East Riding comes from old Danish "thriding" or "third".
Yorkshire now covers a large part of northern England and a vast range of extraordinary landscapes
from the bleak moors to the undulating hills that roll down to the coast.
There's climbing, hiking and biking aplenty.
Yorkshire folk have a reputation for being strong-minded straight-talkers.
They're passionate about their county and some would say with good reason.
As the biggest county in England, it's certainly got plenty to offer.
Being such a vast county, property values can vary greatly, depending on where you are.
Up in the north with its rolling dales and wild countryside,
property prices can be anything up to 57% above those here in the west.
Over the past 12 months, here, the market has actually gone down by 17%,
although homes in villages can still command prices comfortably in excess of the national average.
Here's a selection of fantastic properties that we found currently on the market.
Just under £300,000 will get you this deceptively spacious,
four-bedroomed, stone-built barn conversion in Upper Hoyland.
It dates back to the 1800s and it has a galleried living room
and French doors to the rear opening out on to a raised terrace with spectacular views.
Set within the grounds of Middlewood Hall in Darfield,
this four-bedroomed, 17th century conversion has been restored, retaining many original features
and it's oozing with character.
At a handsome £450,000, it includes a large farmhouse kitchen,
a light living area with a feature fireplace
and expansive rural views.
If your pockets can stretch to it,
the lordly sum of £650,000 will get you this heaven-sent, five-bedroomed converted church
in Thurgoland in Sheffield.
It has a substantial open-plan living space, including three reception rooms,
original features and a sizeable lawn garden with a raised deck area.
A great selection of properties there.
Time to meet today's buyers who are ready to make their very own escape to the country.
Paul, a retired financial adviser, and Linda, a senior management consultant,
have been married for five years.
They live in a large home in Stockport. Both have adult children from previous relationships
who have flown the nest, so they want to buy their first home together.
We've decided now is a good time to move because I started a new job two years ago,
so I'm settled there, but it's a two-hour commute away.
The travel time from Stockport to Wakefield has become a problem, not just for Linda,
but for Paul too as it impacts on the time they spend together.
I think it's always been at the back of my mind that the travelling that she's been making
would become too excessive over time, but in the last 12 months,
we've really started to think seriously that we ought to make the move.
They're keen to downsize their property, but still want a home that gives them the feeling of space.
What we want in the next house are three bedrooms minimum,
so we can have an office and a guest room,
a slightly larger kitchen for Linda's benefit.
It's particularly important that Paul has somewhere to practise DIY,
so he's keen to find a property which needs some renovation.
Not a huge project. I'm not a big fa of a huge project. Paul would be.
I wouldn't want anything like gutting out a house and starting from scratch. I'm too old for that.
But definitely having jobs where I can alter them to make them our own, the way we want it.
And there are some particular features they have in mind.
We love the period older properties with the period features inside.
We particularly like the Yorkshire stone.
We would even look at a new build if it was made of Yorkshire stone.
Keen on wildlife, location is very important,
plus they'd like to find somewhere in West Yorkshire
on the outskirts of a village within easy access of open country.
We're big nature lovers and love being close to nature.
Being in the middle of a city makes that quite difficult.
As with everything, money talks and how much they've got to spend will dictate what they can achieve.
Our maximum budget for the move would be around £300,000.
That would have to include any renovation work that was needed on any property we found.
All work and no play isn't much fun for Linda, so it's crucial that we cut her commute time,
whilst Paul seems desperate for a dedicated workshop.
With a budget of £300,000, finding a York stone-built property
and one within a village seems to be at the top of their shopping list.
Whether or not this property can be a renovation project is definitely up for discussion.
One thing is for certain. They've chosen a fantastic part of the world to look for a new home.
West Yorkshire has a plethora of country paths and footpaths to satisfy anybody in outdoor pursuits.
But will our properties satisfy them? Time to find out.
As Paul and Linda want to move closer to Linda's work,
we'll be focusing our property search on the villages within striking distance of Wakefield.
I'll show them great properties, but won't reveal the prices until they've guessed first.
We'll see if the mystery house challenges what they think they want from their perfect home.
Paul and Linda, welcome to a beautiful West Yorkshire morning.
Linda, your commute is the main driver behind this whole move.
How far do you travel each day?
It takes me anywhere between an hour and 45 minutes and two hours each way.
-Each way. It's a four-hour commute every day.
What would your ideal commute be then?
If I had a job that I was 15, 20 minutes away from, no more,
that would be absolute perfection for me. I've never had that.
I'll push you a bit further. How about just popping out the door and walking to work?
That may be a little too close.
-That might be a little too close.
-Paul, you have a bit more time on your hands.
-I understand you're fairly keen at DIY.
-Fairly keen, yes.
Linda refers to me as the DIY freak.
Charming! That's nice, isn't it?
We have a cellar at home and he has his workshop in the cellar.
And what he hasn't got in there isn't worth having.
-Would you like to get stuck into a property or part of a property?
-Part of a property, yes.
This is a lovely part of the world, but three bedrooms in a stone-built property in a village,
they don't come cheap, so what's our budget?
I think we said the maximum was 300,000, wasn't it?
I'm here to show you a selection of properties.
There seems to be a bit of discussion to be had between how much of a project I can show you,
so I may show you elements of a project and elements of the finished product itself.
Let's gauge your reaction to the first house and we'll go from there.
-Thanks a lot.
So for a maximum of £300,000, Linda and Paul want to downsize to a country house
that will give them three bedrooms, including one that can be an office,
a place for Paul to do his DIY, a large eat-in kitchen,
a property which isn't overlooked, preferably on the outskirts of a village,
and within easy access to open countryside.
We kick off our property search in the hamlet of Hundhill, East Hardwick,
around three miles from the historic town of Pontefract.
East Hardwick is a pretty, rural community, surrounded by fields for horse and cattle grazing.
It's got plenty of public footpaths for walkers,
a typical English cricket club and, although it looks older,
St Stephen's Church is just over 100 years old.
It was consecrated by the Archbishop of York in 1874
and there's a bell-ringing group who meet regularly.
The hamlet of Hundhill comprises seven buildings, all of which were part of the manor house.
The property we're looking at is the stables.
-What do you think?
-Oh, wow! I love the stone.
Now, any ideas where you are?
-Cos I saw you looking around like meerkats.
We're trying to get our bearings as to sort of...
I know the A1(M) is over there, but that's about all.
-You know Pontefract, don't you?
-That's a mile and a half away.
But yet listen...
Birds and the odd dog.
-It's not a huge property.
But when you get inside...
I was pleasantly surprised with the room dimensions, but it's up to you.
-Let's have a look.
-You're both smiling.
-Let's look inside.
'So they like what they see outside, but what will they think of the interior?'
OK, a small entrance hall.
Let's start with a lot of people's most important room. What do you think of the kitchen?
I like it. I like the feel of it.
I like the wideness.
-That's what we don't have. It's quite small, our kitchen at home.
This is a good start. I thought this might be different to what you're used to
-because it's not your period property.
-But the dimensions seem to be going down quite well.
-It's done out very nicely.
Good. Those dimensions, hopefully you'll agree, continue next door in the living room. Follow me.
-There's a real flow to this part of the house, isn't there?
-And this living room is, I would say, sizeable.
-Yes, it is. Lovely.
I like the separate dining area.
-You can divide the room, but you're still together.
-That feels nice
Something I want to pick up on here.
Looking around, apart from maybe if you wanted to put your own style on here, like redecorating,
there's not a lot of Paul DIY to be done in here so far.
-I'll find something.
-Really? Is that right?
-Oh, he will.
'Well, there won't be much work for him to do in the bedrooms either.
'The guest bedroom is well finished with plenty of storage,
'plus a further bedroom has been turned into a study, then there's the main bedroom.'
-So the master bedroom...
-This is a good size.
-Definitely a good size.
We have a very big bedroom at home at the moment which we love and this is probably about the same size
-And obviously with its secret weapon which you asked for.
-Secret weapon, wow!
-That's really nice. I like that.
You've also got the other bathroom at the other end of the property.
-So you've got a guest bathroom and your own. I like that.
-What do you think now?
-Two bedrooms with the office?
-We'd have to make some adjustments.
But obviously, moving from a bigger house, so we have to get rid of a few things.
-What's here is obviously quality furnishings.
That stands out, but it all feels very new.
Is there enough DIY for you here?
-I don't think there would be.
'Not enough of a project for Paul, but hopefully the garden will provide a useful alternative.'
Now, a south-facing garden, I paced it out myself.
-It's over 100 foot, believe it or not.
Size-wise, this is as big a garden as we've seen within your budget.
-You're not going to be looking at land.
-If this is big enough, I'm relieved.
-This is more than big enough.
-Big enough, yes.
For you, I know there's no DIY to be done inside the house. There is workshop space for you.
You've got a garage next door. You also have a summer house there.
I'm not sure what you'd do with it. It has four double power sockets, so it could be a great workshop.
-It would almost be a shame to spoil it as a summer house.
-It is very pretty, isn't it?
The fact that there is nothing to do to the house may well have an influence
-on how much this house is on the market for. I'm going to ask you how much you think it is.
-I think it's at the top end of our budget.
-Put a figure on it?
I'm thinking a little bit less, actually.
Yeah, I think probably about 280, 285.
Well, it's just been reduced. It was put on the market a year ago at just under £400,000.
-They then slashed it to 325.
And a month ago, they've reduced it again to 300.
I've spoken to the owner and the lady is wanting to settle in and around the asking price of £300,000.
-Why don't you go back inside the house, then maybe have a look at the summer house?
-I'll catch you out the front in 15, 20 minutes?
-Thanks a lot.
A muted response from Paul there.
I do really think he wants something to get his hands dirty with.
He's got some DIY skills and he wants to put them to use.
As far as Linda's concerned, she seems pretty happy. Let's see how this afternoon goes as well.
So for £300,000, this house is a great opportunity for Paul and Linda
to figure out what they can achieve with their budget.
But the compromise is there are no period features or DIY opportunities for Paul.
I think the area is absolutely beautiful. I was really impressed when we drove up.
I think the property lacks real character.
We're used to major features that were there when the house was built.
Oh, wow! This is like another room.
-You could have a sauna in here.
You're not having this as your workshop. You'll have the garage.
The fixtures and fittings being new wouldn't bother me, but I think it would bother Paul.
He's only recently retired, so he's at home all the time
and I would be a bit concerned about him having nothing to do.
-Yes, thank you.
-Time for the next one, I suppose. Follow me.
Paul and Linda are looking for a home that will enable them
to spend more time together enjoying their shared interests
and the location they've chosen has a wealth of fantastic countryside for them to explore.
The county boasts a variety of landscapes characterised by high peaks, wild hills,
moorland and peaceful valleys, together with patchwork fields of farmland as far as the eye can see.
The countryside is scattered with ancient villages built from the local stone,
many of which can trace their history back to the Domesday Book of 1086.
Although it's largely a working landscape, 17% of the region is designated green belt.
South of Wakefield, Newmillerdam Country Park is a stunning mixture of water and woodland
and a great place to do some wildlife spotting after the pressures of a long week at work.
Having a local nature reserve close by is a big plus in Paul and Linda's hunt for their new home.
So earlier in the week, we sent them to meet a park ranger to find out more.
-So what's the history behind the reservoir?
-The park was originally part
of the Chevet Estate owned by the Pilkington family.
They used to come down to the lake for hunting and shooting parties.
-How big is the park overall? It's quite sizeable.
-Yeah, it's quite a big park.
Some people just tend to stick to the lakeside path, but there's a woodland up at the top end
that is quite quiet. You can disappear up into the woods and be in the middle of nowhere.
The park is home to a variety of bird life too.
We get a lot of different ducks - mallards, coots, tufted ducks.
In the summer, you can see terns flying over and in the winter, you can see goosanders.
As well as finding peace and seclusion,
Paul and Linda are keen to indulge a passion for local conservation,
so we arranged for them to meet one of the area's conservation teams.
Volunteer groups help with special projects and ensure the park stays in good shape.
Tasks include clearing dead wood from the forest and water, carrying out maintenance
and creating new paths and access routes.
What kind of skills would we need to join your group?
No technical skills whatsoever. Just a lot of enthusiasm and a strong sense of humour.
-I think we can meet that criteria.
-What are the guys doing today?
They're clearing the scrub because beneath here are wild orchids that are relatively uncommon.
-So can we help?
-You certainly can.
Volunteers meet every Tuesday all year round with some additional evenings in the summer.
With groups of between 10 and 15 people, it's a very social occasion
and a great way of meeting local, like-minded people.
-Are you quite enjoying it?
-Yes, it's quite therapeutic.
-Carry on then.
There's an abundance of wildlife and conservation in the region to interest Linda and Paul,
so the location they've chosen will definitely suit them.
But am I going to get lucky helping them find the right house?
For our second property, we're visiting the village of West Bretton.
This area is one of the locations high on Paul and Linda's wish list
in their search for the perfect home.
"Bretton" means "farmstead of the Britons" and its name derives
from the Old English "Brettas" and the Saxon word "ton" meaning "enclosure" or "town".
Bretton Park includes the Yorkshire Sculpture Park,
an outdoor gallery where statues and abstract works sit amongst 500 acres of rolling rural landscape
which could provide a great environment for Linda and Paul to enjoy quality time together.
The house I'm showing is a stone-built cottage,
full of character and overlooking the local cricket field.
Your new home... I'm hoping might be this one here.
-That's beautiful stone.
-I love the stone.
Now, also, I'm hoping that this is almost replicating the house you have now,
-but on a smaller scale.
-You're looking to downsize.
-You're used to semi-detached living.
Semi-detached/end terrace, but it's got the stone
-and some of the character that you like.
Normally, we go through the front door, but I can't get the front door open, so we'll go round the back.
'I'm hoping the fact that this property has more features than the first one we saw,
'including the Yorkshire stone Linda has her heart set on, will get a positive response,
'but it has something that will push Paul's buttons too. It needs some work. First, the dining room.'
-This house isn't lived in.
-I like it.
-Taking it all in...
-What do you like about it? Very different dimensions.
-Very different to the first house,
but it's got a real warmth about it as soon as you walk in, even though it's not lived in.
We'd change, obviously, the units cos they're more modern, but the rest of it is...
Here's my idea for changing things - that wall!
I've been upstairs. There's nothing above, so it shouldn't be a problem.
Then your kitchen area is that way. All the drainage is that way.
But it's not big.
You're still smiling, Linda.
-It just feels really nice.
'Well, that's the kind of positive reaction I was after. They clearly see the potential
'and there's plenty here for Paul to get stuck into. With only a kitchen, diner and lounge on the ground,
'this house is much smaller than Paul and Linda are used to,
'but I'm hoping the space could work for them.'
-Now the living room is very different to the first house I showed you this morning.
This is when reality bites. Now you didn't ask me for big. You asked for character,
-stone-built, village location.
-It is really quite small.
-I'm not even sure we would get our furniture in here.
'Well, the ground floor seems a stretch for them, but maybe I'll have better luck upstairs.
'One thing this house does have is the requisite three bedrooms.
'They do need some cosmetic work, but they all have good natural light and views.'
-On the first floor, the bathroom, we need a new one.
-The tiles are in surprisingly good shape, though.
-Obviously, you'll want to keep it the same colour.
-I do like purple, but not on my bedroom wall.
-Apart from the colour, is this space sufficient?
-Yeah, I think it is.
-It's not a problem.
'Linda's remaining open-minded. There's one more room for me to show them.'
The master bedroom.
-Again, it's really quite small.
-It's very small.
-It wouldn't fit our bed in here.
'Well, that's a disappointing response, so the outside space is my last throw of the dice.
'There's a really good-size outhouse which could be a workshop
'and a fair-sized garden with mature trees and shrubs. But is the price right?'
-You've seen it's a character cottage and you've also seen there's some work to be done.
-How much do you think it's on the market for, Linda?
-Oh, that's hard.
-This is much harder than the last one.
With all the work that needs to be done, I would like to think
it was somewhere around the 270, maybe.
I think that it'll be more 290, 295. Something like that.
Well, it's split the camp.
It's on the market for offers of around £285,000.
That wouldn't give us a huge amount to do the renovations we'd need.
When you go back in to the property, I'm sure you're going to be knocking on walls
and pricing up what you can do. Have a good walk round, but really get a feel for the dimensions.
-That's going to help you make your mind up as to whether this place is for you or not.
-I'll catch you later on. Good luck.
For £285,000, Paul and Linda could have a property in one of West Yorkshire's most popular locations.
It's made of Yorkshire stone, has three bedrooms and a shed for Paul to do his DIY.
But what about the renovation?
There's an awful lot of work to do, but if you knock that through, you could make this really big.
-It would have to be a kitchen diner.
-I don't think there's any plans on us winning the Lottery!
So that won't happen straight away.
It's something Linda and I have to seriously sit down and discuss
as to, within the finances available, not only to purchase, but also to alter to our liking,
put our rubber stamp on it,
as to whether or not buying a country cottage is going to do it for us.
I love the house. It's beautiful, it's the Yorkshire stone we wanted,
it has all the character features that we wanted, but I think it's just too small.
'As the day draws to a close across the fields,
'our buyers have certainly got a lot to think about.
'Let's hope sleeping on it will provide the inspiration they need.
'With a maximum of £300,000 to spend, Paul and Linda want to downsize from their family home
'and ditch Linda's long commute to West Yorkshire so they can have more time in the open countryside.
'So far they've had mixed reactions to the houses we've shown them.'
-I do like purple, but not on my bedroom wall.'
-But will our mystery house work for them?'
-Look at this!
'And I'm going to get an insight into one of the industries which put this county on the map.'
-Don't get too close.
-Or it'll have you!
All in all, a pretty good day yesterday. Certainly a good start at the first property,
but it wasn't until the afternoon that they both really came alive because they got two main things -
the village location, but also the stone-built property with all that character inside.
Today, hopefully after a good night's sleep, they'll be looking forward to the mystery property.
I think Linda for one will certainly have something to think about.
Our mystery house takes us to Heath, a conservation area built largely between the 15th and 19th centuries.
It's got some great open countryside, a common jammed with wildlife and plenty of walking
for a couple keen to get out and about.
The mystery house is always out to challenge what they want.
This is 500 yards from where Linda works. She said her perfect location would be 15-20 minutes away.
So will she consider a rethink?
-This is a beautiful village.
Let's just pull over here.
-Now then, surrounded by greens here.
-I'm a very lucky person to work in a place like this.
-You'd be a lucky person to live in a place like this. Have you seen properties for sale here?
-Have you looked at any in person?
-And you were put off from these properties for why?
-Because they're walking distance to work.
-Well, I found you a property that is walking distance to work
that I think, once you get inside, you both could quite possibly fall in love with it.
-I've seen how you react to character property.
-And this place... it's amazing.
-Let's have a look.
-Thank you, Paul!
Open mind. I'm holding you to that.
'So I've taken a risk. Fingers crossed.'
This is the mystery property. It's always a risk, a gamble.
-But I have to show you this because it looks amazing.
-Do you want to look inside?
-You're still smiling.
'This house is very close to where Linda works, but the interior has many of the features
'they're looking for. I hope the good-sized kitchen will tip the balance
'as a bigger kitchen was a key thing on Linda's wish list.'
OK. I promised not to mention work. We'll forget about work now.
Let's just enjoy this house and see what you think of it.
Straight into the kitchen through the back door. Quite common.
-What are we thinking?
-It's a gorgeous country kitchen.
-The house itself dates back to 1670.
-And you do see that in some of the places, some of the windows.
-Size-wise, I think you just have this as it is, with a breakfast bar.
-You have a separate dining room.
-Just off there.
This is big enough for us, bigger than what we already have.
-All right. Well, it's all been done.
You've got this quite posh marble-type floor.
-You've got the double sink.
-I love the kitchen.
'That's just what I was looking for. I'm hoping the spacious living room will match up.'
With such an old building, I thought...the dimensions in this room were fairly surprising.
This is beautiful. It is.
-This is just what we sort of expected from a country cottage.
'The ground floor also has the benefit of a bright bathroom.
'Upstairs, another family bathroom services the three bedrooms,
'the smallest of which has great period features with a wall of exposed stone.
'There's a good-size second bedroom, but will the master impress them?'
-This room really surprised me. It's one of three bedrooms.
This is much bigger than I expected.
-These are almost Georgian proportions.
-Yeah! And lovely high ceilings, even upstairs.
-It's a real house of surprises, isn't it?
-Lovely window seat.
-Yeah. And views over that lovely green or heath.
'There's one final surprise in store for Paul and Linda.' This requires a certain knack.
If I'm getting this right, pull this down...
-It should lock.
It's a little bit like the till out of Open All Hours!
-Yeah. In that case, watch your fingers.
'I think this adds something really special to the mystery house.'
-Wow! This is not what I expected, Jonnie.
-This is definitely not what I expected!
-A house full of surprises.
This is a big room! It gets even bigger through here. Mind your head.
-Look at this.
-This is amazing.
-Like a rabbit's warren!
-What would we use this for?
Well... As it is, it's a fantastic space.
But you've got to mangle around with that ladder. It has previously had planning consent
-to put a staircase in the third bedroom. You'd still get room for a bed.
The staircase would come up and then you'd have this as a formal second floor.
-This could be a master suite.
Now here's the idea. Whilst you may not be enjoying the idea of living so close to work,
the market here is very flat. We know that. But you could add value to this house over time
and do as much of the work yourself as you can, so you're not committing to a bigger budget.
And then at the end of it you've got potentially a four-bedroom house.
-Overlooking the heath.
'So this could provide a really interesting project for Paul, if the garden fits the bill, too.'
-What do we think?
-It's not the biggest of gardens.
-It's not massive, but you've got the heath and masses of countryside.
-That's the difference here. You can see the countryside outside, do your garden doesn't end.
You probably know this quite well, this village certainly.
I'll ask you to guess how much it is and then Linda.
-I'd say it's definitely at the top end of our budget.
I'd say probably about 310, 315, something like that.
-Do you know how much it is?
-I think I was told it was on the market for 320.
Well, near enough. It's on the market for 325.
-It's been on the market for a long time. It initially came on the market for 415.
-That doesn't surprise me.
-In a buoyant market, yes.
Coming in at £325,000, this surprising mystery cottage offers an eat-in kitchen,
two reception rooms, three fair-sized bedrooms and views over the heath.
It is £25,000 over budget,
but would give them more space than expected and a project for Paul to get stuck into.
I love the fireplace. It has so many lovely original features.
-And that view to wake up to.
-The heath is gorgeous.
As we arrived into the heath and drove immediately past where I work,
my first thoughts were, "This is just too close."
And when we came in the kitchen,
the first impression you get is it's such an amazing place.
It has everything we asked for.
If this place was five miles down the road or 10 miles down the road,
it would be like a dream.
Mind your step.
Now hopefully this mystery house has given you something to think about.
-It certainly has.
-Don't sound so downbeat!
I think you need somewhere to go and have a chat and discuss things.
-I'm hoping this has put the cat among the pigeons. Has it?
-It's certainly done that.
Good. Well done, mystery house.
'Yorkshire is synonymous with the Industrial Revolution
'and there are remnants all over. It began over 200 years ago
'and was a period of unprecedented technological, economic and social change that transformed Britain
'into the world's first modern industrial society. I'm at Wortley Forge,
'one of the oldest examples of a water-powered iron forge.
'Ken Hawley is the honorary custodian and has worked on restoring it for 40 years.'
How would this place have played its part in the Industrial Revolution?
-It pre-dates the Industrial Revolution.
-By centuries, even.
-The earliest documentation we have is 1621.
It was certainly here then by many years and we don't really know how many before then.
Places like this created the Industrial Revolution.
'Within two miles, there were up to seven other mills and forges,
'all harnessing the power of the River Don. Water was crucial.
'The fast-flowing river filled the dams which powered the wheels.'
So by the mid-18th century, this area would have been littered with mills and forges.
Using the same water, over and over. Renewable energy, don't tell me about it!
'The river had a weir which diverted water to fill up the mill dam
'and was drawn from a quarter of a mile upriver. This revolutionised the way things were made.
'Being a heavy iron forge, the most powerful wheel had a force of about 10 horse power.'
It's an immense piece of machinery to be so close to. It takes your breath away.
-Don't get too close.
-Otherwise, it'll have you!
-I'll bear that in mind!
-What could this possibly power?
-That's on the other end of this drive shaft here, which is the cam.
-And we've got the cam wheel, a big heavy cast thing,
-which would lift up the helve, set to go at 25-30rpm.
-This huge helve...
-Like a hammer shaft.
-Yeah. You start to get a sense of the noise
-that would have been created.
'Forges like this specialised in making wrought iron from pig iron, a much more brittle material.
'The iron would go into a furnace where the carbon would be burnt out,
'before being put under the hammer and drawn out to shape. The result was wrought iron,
'which could be used to make the materials which characterised industrial Britain.'
And don't forget that no railway can run without axles, so it's very important
-to have places like this.
-Without this place...
-This is at the heart of everything we now know today, isn't it?
I think it's fair to say that Paul and Linda have enjoyed their fair share of ups and downs
in their quest to find their very own escape to the country.
Each of the three properties were so different, but also gave them an element of compromise,
so it's hard to tell whether any of them will be their favourite. Time to find out.
-Now then, how are you both?
-Fantastic, thank you.
Let's start at the beginning. Day One, the first property. Converted stables. Thoughts?
I actually was really impressed.
A really nice feel, it had the stone outside that we really wanted.
The dimensions inside lent themselves to not even downsizing a great deal.
-You were talking about moving all of your existing furniture into the house.
-Really quite easily.
-There was nothing for me to do!
You could think of a few things, but nothing major.
-Upkeep, not renovation.
-There was nothing to do.
-The second property, in my opinion, you became a lot more animated there.
-It was beautiful.
I was really quite excited about what we would see.
-You could tell you were!
-It wasn't the size I had anticipated,
-but, you know, a project.
-That was a project. That was the whole thing.
-I know you want a project.
-You want to be able to use your DIY skills.
The price was such that it wouldn't have left us with a huge amount of capital to do those things.
-We'd have had to do them over a long period of time.
-OK, the mystery property.
Now... It all went very quiet there!
One of the tasks you charged me with, if you like,
was that you wanted to cut your commute time, and the closer we got to work, I realised
-I've maybe cut it too much!
-Just a little!
-Yeah. To me,
that was almost the only compromise. It had everything else, once you could get through the door.
-Absolutely in bucketfuls.
-It was an outstanding property.
Do you have a favourite out of the three?
-We do, yes.
-Property number three.
-The mystery property! After all of that?
-After all of that.
Well, what do you want to do? What's the next step for you guys?
I've had a word with the owner and we're having a second viewing.
We'll see how it goes from there.
-Good luck with the second viewing.
-Thank you very much.
And keep in touch.
It's funny, isn't it? If you'd asked me which property I thought they would go for,
I don't think I'd have given you the answer of the mystery house.
But in being open-minded they fell in love with a potential new home
that gave them absolutely everything on their wish list - character, size, village location.
And if they're able to cope with living so close to Linda's work,
they're also able to cut the commute time to get two, three, four hours a day extra together
to enjoy this wonderful county. See you next time.
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 Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011
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Jonnie Irwin travels to Yorkshire to help find a rural home for a budget of £300,000. But there is a surprise in store for today's buyers, when one house proves too close for comfort.
Away from the property search, Jonnie meets a local expert to discover the secrets of one of the oldest iron forges in the world.